Disciplined Agile

Disciplined Agile® Transformation Roadmap: Align


Figure 1. Start where you are (Click for larger version).

As you can see in Figure 1, to become aligned there are several activities:

  1. Run a Disciplined Agile workshop for executives. Very early on, often first, you want to run a short executive workshop to educate your executives in the fundamentals of successful transformation initiatives. It is common to include senior staff as well, or run them through their own workshop.  It is critical for your leadership team to have a common understanding of how you’re approaching the transformation.
  2. Perform an assessment. You need to identify where you currently stand as to the challenges you face and what you want to improve.  There are several ways that you can run an assessment: Internal assessors, bringing in an external assessor, running surveys of your staff, and combinations thereof.
  3. Identify the type and scope of the transformation. Figure 2 shows the overall, high-level transformation strategy. An important decision that you make during stage 1, Align, is which improvement path to take during stage 2, Improve. Your overall goal is to adopt a fit-for-purpose approach to your transformation.
  4. Create an initial improvement backlog. Your assessment efforts are likely to identify a list of potential improvements that you want to consider making. This list is a great start at your improvement backlog what you will work on throughout your overall transformation.
  5. Communicate the transformation strategy. Regular, consistent, and honest communication is critical to the success of any transformation. During the Align stage you begin communicating by sharing your transformation strategy and the desired outcomes with all affected stakeholders.  
Align Greenfield Improvement Improve SAFe Improve a Specific Business Area Thrive as a Learning Organization

Figure 2. Improve in place to become a learning organization. Click on each box to see that portion of the roadmap.

In parallel to the steps above, you also want to:

  1. Provide executive coaching and mentoring. Coaching and mentoring are long-term necessities if your transformation is to be a success.  Everyone in your organization needs help to understand how to transform an organization, including your executives. This is required from the very beginning so that you can get your transformation going in the right direction. Transformations are high-risk endeavors that require effective leadership, and as a result your executives are likely to benefit from coaching and mentoring.
  2. Train your senior coaches. Early in your transformation you will want to build a group of experienced coaches to support your overall transformation efforts. During the Align stage you will want to get your senior coaches trained, and potentially certified, as Disciplined Agile Coach (DAC) coaches. This training will give them the skills needed to apply the DA tool kit to address cross-team improvement opportunities.
  3. Train your enterprise coaches. Your coaching team should also include people with a background coaching at the value stream or enterprise level. Therefore you should consider training to become Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultants (DAVSCs). This training will give them the skills needed to apply the DA tool kit to guide improvements across many collaborating teams.