Project Management Institute

Taking measures

how to assess your organization's agility transformation program


By Mustafa Dülgerler, PMP

Organizations are spending significant amounts of time and money trying to improve their agility. But if project practitioners don't properly measure the results of these transformation programs, they'll never know whether or not they succeeded.

Agility is the ability of an organization to sense change in its environment and respond quickly and appropriately, according to PMI's Pulse of the Profession®: Capturing the Value of Project Management Through Organizational Agility. Because changes around us never stop, project managers have to closely monitor organizational agility programs. The measurement process can be broken down into to three phases—before the agility transformation program, during it and after. A number of quantitative and qualitative measurements can be used, in addition to the ones specific to your industry:

Quantitative Methods

Return on agility ratios. These are ratios of the after-agile to before-agile conditions. Examples include how product delivery time, IT expenses and operational expenses changed as a result of the agility program.

Key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs to measure agility progress could include number of units sold, length of production cycle or number of people trained. The best practice is to rank KPIs from different dimensions, such as priority and criticality.

In the decision-making process, the KPIs can be evaluated individually. However, it is better to consider them in correlation with the other KPIs. For instance, an organization could look at whether employees who've undergone the training actually sell more units.

Organizations should never consider the selected KPIs as a static list, because business requirements, customer demands and more will change over time. Hence, the chosen KPIs should be reviewed regularly to ensure their validity, priority and necessity. In some cases, additional KPIs will need to be introduced.

Balanced scorecard (BSC). A BSC can measure performance from four angles: customer, financial, internal business processes, and learning and growth. Using a BSC to identify the gaps in the current organizational processes and improving them will enhance the speed of achieving organizational strategies, and also improve the level of organizational agility.

Project managers have a great responsibility to manage agility transformations successfully, and this is only possible with right monitoring and controlling tools and techniques.

Qualitative Methods

Two main qualitative methods can measure the adoption of the new agile culture in an organization: Interviews. These can generate both breadth and depth of information about a topic. They can lead to better understanding and rapport with the interviewees in comparison to other methods such as questionnaires. Because the interviews are dynamic, interviewees can further clarify if the question is unclear to them; similarly, the interviewer can ask further questions to better understand the interviewee's feedback.

However, this method may fail to overcome the issue of bias. Interviewees may not want to reveal what they actually think about the change. Defining the target audience for interviews is also generally a challenge, as interviewing the entire organization is expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, the right audience should be selected, and it should include the key decision-makers and employees.

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Surveys and questionnaires. These techniques will help you access and get feedback from a larger audience, but they require a deeper analysis to formulate questions, which must be as precise as possible.

Project managers have a great responsibility to manage agility transformations successfully, and this is only possible with right monitoring and controlling tools and techniques. Only by properly measuring can we bring our organizations to a stage where they not only adopt change, but also drive change. PM

img Mustafa Dülgerler, PMP, is senior enterprise architect at National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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