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How to Form a Truly Agile Business

How to Form a Truly Agile Business

How to Form a Truly Agile Business

An agile business is one that can properly embrace the agile methodology, rather than just loosely imitate it. Learn the difference here.

Keyword(s): agile business

Modern business is all about doing things faster. This includes finding trends sooner, making decisions quickly, getting your products to market faster, and even making mistakes more often.

However, it’s impossible to become a more agile and faster organisation just by wanting to. There are specific actions you must take to prepare you and your team for this transformation.

If you want to create an agile business, it takes time, effort, and an understanding of the process. To become truly agile, be sure to use the tips and information found here.

Achieve a Better Balance

It is essential to balance the act of running a business and changing it to deliver value and sustain growth. As your business develops and grows, you may see it struggle with capacity, with less time available for improvement and innovation.

It’s up to you to ensure a balance is maintained between daily activities and making time for ongoing development and improvement throughout the organisation.

With agile business, you embrace change and have a methodology to help manage it. Being agile is accepting that changes will occur.

Plans are implemented in a flexible manner to respond to changes occurring and to allow for ongoing improvement. The agile mindset will embrace change and a potential and opportunity for growth and learning.

Be Willing to Delegate

To gain agility across all business functions, you must delegate operational control to frontline workers. It also means you must invest in ongoing training for these individuals to ensure they can continue to do a good job.

You can’t control how your business is functioning from backstage and expect to achieve agility. If you want your teams to evolve and become agile, you (the leader) must create an environment where agility will thrive.

Create Focus

It’s easy to become distracted by a seemingly never-ending list of priorities. Also, with the everyday distractions and emergencies that pop up, remaining focused is a real challenge.

You can create this focus by narrowing down your priorities to a list that consists of just three to four things that have to get done. When you complete something, add another task to the list.

Give Yourself Some Room to Grow

Remember that agile is a learning-based method. It builds continuous improvement into your daily workflow. Be sure to add slack time for you to improve and respond to any changing circumstances.

With agile, you should have time to think, experiment, and reflect in your process. It also gives you the structure necessary to make small yet iterative improvements. With agile, you have a process that integrates change regularly, regardless of if external or internal forces drive it.

Agile offers you a method to manage, analyse, and support your current practices in your business. It helps you make time to review existing approaches and to identify the bottlenecks, issues, and blocks that may limit your business. With this, your team can optimise and improve working practices through reflection and learning.

Engage Your Team

If you want to implement an agile workforce successfully, you must ensure your team is on-board. Many initiatives fail simply because they don’t engage the people who are expected to change.

People won’t take part in a project if they have no reason to change. Change isn’t hard if you know what is expected and why it is so important.

If you need help convincing your team to embrace this change, there are several strategies you can implement.

Pathbreakers

Use this method for exploring uncharted territories. If you want to become a thought leader who is the first to do something in a new way, you must ensure your team can relate to and aspire to your reasoning for the approach you have chosen.

David vs. Goliath

This strategy is useful if you want to overtake your main competition and become the undisputed leader in the market segment. If your field is dominated by one or several leaders, this is a smart method to use.

Burning Platform

Is the existence of your business threatened? If you fail to change, will you be a distant memory? This method of communication works well when there is imminent danger, and you need to encourage your employees to care about survival.

Implement Methods of Continuous Innovation

If your business doesn’t continue to innovate, it will be left behind – quickly. Rather than only rolling out new and innovative services and products from time to time, make this a continuous process.

When you do this, your customers and the bottom line will benefit.

Think Big and Act Small

If you want to be agile, it means you must test and validate your solutions early. Releasing viable solutions for your feedback offers vital information to help develop and evolve the idea into a solution that meets new needs and demands.

Agile works to make sure the right thing is created, and that thing is built through tested development.

Are You Creating an Agile Business?

As you can see, there are some clear and necessary steps you must follow as you create an agile business. While the process takes time and effort, it is a process you must get your entire team on board with.

If you need more information or help to create an agile business, contact us. Our team is focused on helping businesses of all types and sizes achieve the agile goals they have and continue meeting the evolving needs of their new agile business.

The Many Benefits of SAFe DevOps

The Many Benefits of SAFE DevOps

The Many Benefits of SAFe DevOps

Are you curious about the many benefits of SAFe DevOps? If that's the case, you've come to the right place. Click for more!

Keyword(s): SAFe DevOps

Software companies are under tremendous pressure to deliver fast and do it effectively.

Their best shot at doing this is SAFe DevOps. You can think of it is a recipe for strengthening organizations from within and thriving in the competitive and disruptive market.

More specifically, the practice enables companies to optimize the value stream from concept to cash, as well as to gear delivery pipeline to their business needs. Done right, it brings operations and development closer together and eradicates silos.

Generating value in response to business demand becomes an attainable reality instead of an elusive dream. You are able to deploy valuable solutions continuously and with superior confidence.

Here is how you can benefit from this approach in practice.

A Match Made in Agile Heaven

DevOps model is the heart and soul of high-performing IT companies.

It equips them with tools for deploying more frequently and cuts lead times. What is more, the DevOps approach is involved with fewer failures and faster failure recovery.

Another major benefit is it makes the lines between development and operations become less apparent. There is less friction between the two core areas.

This is all due to clear and shared standards. Development teams are evaluated based on the value they bring to end-users. On the other hand, service management is tasked with preserving the health of the production environment.

Hence, DevOps practice is integral to modern value streams and the SAFe framework. In turn, key SAFe principles and concepts directly support DevOps. We’re talking about small batch sizes, system thinking, short iterations, early feedback, etc.

Not only that, but DevOps greatly benefits from Continuous Delivery Pipeline and 10 SAFe Lean-Agile Principles.

Nuts and Bolts of SAFe DevOps

DevOps is more than a set of practices.

It’s also a distinct mindset and culture. For real transformation to take place, all these components have to go hand-in-hand.

First off, you have to foster collaboration and communication between all teams. Ideally, this aspiration materializes across the value stream, from planning to release.

Two other main objectives of SAFe DevOps adoption are to eliminate silos and deliver valuable features to end-users.

The way to accomplish them is via supercharging Agile Release Train (ART) and Solution Train. These two constructs hinge on the automated flow process called Continuous Delivery Pipeline.

This pipeline has four elements:

  • Continuous Exploration (CE)
  • Continuous Integration (CI)
  • Continuous Deployment (CD)
  • Release on Demand

All of them empower SAFe organizations to meet their business needs. The focus is on automating and developing the pipeline and reaping the following benefits:

  • Boosting quality and frequency of deployment
  • Faster time to market
  • Increasing the Mean Time to Delivery (MTTR)
  • More risk-taking and experimentation
  • Shortening the lead time for doing fixes
  • Making release failures less common and impactful

In the next sections, we’ll show you how to obtain these benefits.

Cultural Foundations

It’s imperative to understand SAFe takes a CALMR approach to DevOps.

CALMR stands for culture, automation, lean flow, measurement, and recovery. It’s worth examining each of these aspects in a bit more detail.

So, first off, we have a cultural element, which emphasizes shared responsibility.

These values echo the Lean-Agile philosophy. Essentially, every SAFe principle (#1-#10) is applicable to DevOps. This kind of culture calls for a few supporting pillars.

Perhaps the most important one is an ongoing collaboration between Agile and IT operations.

This collaboration requires risk tolerance for failure, which supports experimentation and recovery. On the other hand, self-service infrastructures maintain the autonomy of development and deployment. Finally, knowledge sharing must exist and enable teams to exchange ideas and tools.

Process Automation

Furthermore, SAFe upholds the “automate everything” mindset.

Automation lays the groundwork for initiating consistent and repeatable processes. It replaces manual flows that are perceived as enemies of productivity, safety, and fast delivery.

The main benefits of automation come in the form of resource and time savings. Moreover, it renders processes such as testing, source code compiling, and deployment more reliable. They become an established routine, which can be easily improved upon.

On top of that, organizations that automate the pipeline have a chance to better respond to market demand and bolster internal learning capacity.

Principles of Lean Flow

Pipeline automation also promotes fast Lean Flow.

This flow is continuous and fast-tracks movement of new features from the concept stage to market-readiness. Here, the marriage of SAFe and DevOps depends on principle #6 of the former methodology.

These principles are:

  • Visualize and limit WIP
  • Reduce batch sizes
  • Manage queue lengths

They all tie into system thinking, which is the second principle of SAFe Lean-Agile principles. The end goal of their integration should be the long-term process of pipeline fine-tuning.

Teams can eliminate bottlenecks, reduce variability, and minimize batch transaction costs.

Measuring Everything

DevOps environment makes problem resolution less arduous.

Changes occur in regular intervals and smaller batches. Organizations can properly evaluate these frequent changes thanks to Telemetry. This automated process gathers data on solution performance in real-time.

Data pertains both to technological and business performance. It has to be transparent, visualized, and available to everyone.

Under these three conditions, teams can easily detect patterns and obstacles. Resolution is faster too because there’s no need to wait for troubleshooting and fixing to complete.

Fast Recovery

Lastly, we come across recovery from operational failure, a major indicator of DevOps maturity.

This capability depends on system design, which is tailored to low-risk releases and service-based deployment. The release process itself has to be flexible and rooted in Release on Demand concept.

Moving on, notice here are various techniques that support fast recovery. We would like to highlight three of them:

  • Planning for and rehearsing failures
  • Ramping up the capacity to roll back or fix forward
  • Embracing stop-the-line mentality

The combination of these techniques allows businesses to quickly deal with problems with the pipeline or solution. They add improvements and built-in resilience to the system over time and decrease the risk of problems emerging again.

All Systems Go

SAFe DevOps puts an end to the outdated silo approach.

In its place, the approach builds a working and empowering environment. There are numerous benefits you can score with successful implementation.

Start the endeavor by nurturing the right kind of business culture and adopting a CALMR approach to DevOps. Remove delivery inefficiency and organizational tension from the equation. Automate the Continuous Delivery Pipeline and refine its processes.

Strive to identify problems proactively and recover from failure faster. Following these steps, you'll achieve a state of continuous flow and keep the production running smoothly.

Get in touch with us to enroll in online SAFe courses. It’s time to take your game to the next level and delight end users.

Lean Portfolio Management: What Is the Primary Focus?

Lean Portfolio Management: What Is the Primary Focus?

Lean Portfolio Management: What Is the Primary Focus?

When it comes to lean portfolio management, what is the primary focus? If you're asking yourself the same thing, simply click here today!

Keyword(s): lean portfolio management

By 2025, the global market for online training will have reached $300 billion in value.

With the continuing proliferation of information technology, more and more people are turning to their computers as a source of instruction on various topics. Those seeking greater business acumen in the software development space are no different.

Lean Portfolio Management is a concept that has gained importance over the years. Now, you can learn its principles through online training courses.

Read on to learn more about the application of the concept in the modern world of commerce.

What Is Portfolio SAFe?

Lean Portfolio Management is one element of a broader software development management approach known as Portfolio SAFe.

SAFe stands for Scaled Agile Framework. This concept refers to workflow patterns that allow managers to take management concepts that work on a micro-level. They can then scale them up for use across multiple teams.

SAFe management principles are applicable in a range of different disciplines.

Those that can benefit from our instruction here include solution architects, system architects, scrum managers, and more.

Along with Lean Portfolio Management, SAFe consists of the Continuous Learning Culture Competency and the Organizational Agility competency.

What Is Lean Portfolio Management?

Lean Portfolio Management refers to the alignment of strategy and execution. This is important, as it is something that executives frequently fail to do. The consequences of a shortcoming here can be disastrous for businesses.

The idea arises from the general concept of Lean principles. These principles were first outlined by Mary and Tom Poppendieck in 2003.

There are seven broad principles, which we've outlined here.

Eliminate Waste

Elimination of waste is a key consideration in all areas of business. In the SAFe framework, "waste" refers to anything that does not add value for the customer.

Elimination of such waste is achieved by avoiding task switching and relearning, and leaving no work partially done.

Amplify Learning

Because software development is a continuous process, constant learning is essential. When writing code, you can achieve learning amplification through short iteration cycles and continuous testing.

The goal of software development is the function, rather than adherence to pre-arranged guidelines. Therefore, the continuous accumulation of new information from testing is vital to the process.

Decide as Late as Possible

There is always a degree of uncertainty associated with software development. For this reason, it is beneficial to delay decisions until the latest possible moment.

This ties in with the use of short iteration cycles. The greater the number of iterations, the more frequent the feedback, and the better able developers and testers are to address shortcomings in the development framework.

Deliver as Fast as Possible

Software continues to develop at speed.

Because of this competition to come up with solutions first, a development business must always focus on haste. It is no use coming up with a brilliant software solution if your rivals come up with something equally as good first.

This ties in with the practice of using short iteration cycles. It is better to finish something quickly and have more time to address the resulting defects than to do it slowly and have less time to see to them.

Empower the Team

As the business world modernizes, there has been an increasing focus on the devolvement of responsibility to individual workers. This ethos has begun to replace the traditional framework whereby a single manager told each employee exactly what to do, and how to do it.

The advantage of this is flexibility. When individual operatives have the authority and skill to make important decisions without input from a manager, this streamlines the process.

Build Integrity In

Integrity is something that is key to every business. If your customers can't trust what you offer them, they won't be willing to do business with you in the future.

There are a number of ways to cultivate integrity as a software developer. One of the most important is transparency.

Your customers may have little or no understanding of software. If you make the effort to explain your processes to them, they will appreciate this.

This is significant in terms of pricing. Customers appreciate the opportunity to see how their money is being spent. It also assures them that you're not ripping them off.

Optimize the Whole

For your Lean Portfolio Management to succeed, you have to take a holistic approach. This means working out difficulties in relation to the interactions between different parts of your business, rather than just within the parts themselves.

How To Apply Lean Principles in Your Software Development Business Dealings

These principles are quite general in nature. You will need to customize them so that they apply to your business.

Many software development outfits are start-ups. Such companies have little market exposure or experience, and will, therefore, have to address challenges as they come up.

In one company, the challenge might be to upskill all employees in such a way that they can address significant issues. For another, it might be working on the approach to transparency so that customer confidence is maximized.

Find your weakest points and work on them first.

Streamlining Your Approach to Maximize Your Results

Portfolio management in the modern-day and age presents a unique set of challenges. In order to succeed in software development, or in any other type of business, you'll need to learn to get around these efficiently.

Lean Portfolio Management, as part of the broader Portfolio SAFe framework, can help you to do this.

If you're interested in an online, instructor-led course to educate your workforce in these principles, contact us today.

Scrum Methodology: Its Popularity in Project Management.

What makes scrum methodology such a popular thing for project management?

Well, to get that answer you must first understand the monumental impact its introduction had within the tech industry. Scrum created order where so many projects were destined for chaos - this deliverance was a blessing for project managers. But, that's not all! Scrum delivers a lot of good for the customer, team productivity, collaboration, and more.

Our video shares several reasons why scrum methodology became a staple within project management. You'll get an insider's view of how scrum has changed the industry for good, and why you'd want a scrum master on board with your business and its challenging projects.

Be sure to check out our accompanying post to this video - found here: https://agile-center.com/blog/103-7-reasons-the-scrum-methodology-is-so-popular-inproject-management.html.

While you're on our site - be sure to browse our vast selection of agile and scrum certification and courses! And, drop us a line if you have questions and comments about scrum methodology.

How to Be Productive and Efficient When Part of the Remote Workforce

How to Be Productive and Efficient When Part of the Remote Workforce

How to Be Productive and Efficient When Part of the Remote Workforce

The global pandemic has many IT pros now working from home. How do you stay productive and efficient in the remote workforce? This guide has the answers.

Keyword(s): remote workforce

Recent events have turned millions of people into remote employees, seemingly overnight. A lot of employees and managers suddenly find that they're part of a remote workforce, and some may be having trouble adjusting to everything.

It can be easy to underestimate just how much working in an office can help keep you on schedule. When you're physically surrounded by coworkers and have the daily rhythms of the office to follow, staying productive and on task is simple.

When you're part of a remote workforce, it isn't just up to you to make sure that work gets done on time. It's also your responsibility to make sure that you're working efficiently and staying on task at work.

Whether you're new to working remotely or if you want to help your employees work efficiently when they're at home, we're here to help. Keep reading to learn our tips for staying efficient when you're a remote employee.

How to Be a Productive Part of the Remote Workforce

Working at home can be difficult for some people that aren't used to it. They may have children that distract them for work, or they could simply be struggling to work outside of their usual workspace.

With the right tools and help, anyone can become an efficient remote worker. If your newly remote team is having difficulty adjusting to their new work-life, consider sharing these tips with them.

Create Your Work Location

Working from your bed may seem like a dream, but that could be hurting your ability to be productive.

People that are working remotely should try to find a dedicated and comfortable sport at home that they can work from. It should ideally be somewhere that you can associate with "work time" and can leave when you're off the clock.

Try to choose somewhere that's far away from the bustle and noise of your house. Make a spare room into a temporary office, or dedicate "office hours" to a certain room in your house and ask to not be disturbed when you're working.

Keep Learning

A lot of businesses are struggling to maintain normal operations as they switch to being remote. Many aren't concerned about continuing employee growth, but if they want to have a successful remote workforce, education should be top of mind.

Training and skill growth shouldn't stop just because people aren't at the office. Managers should be doing whatever they can to encourage employee learning and growth while they work remotely.

Consider signing your employees up for webinars. Look into utilizing online courses people can take to learn new skills or earn certifications.

Find a Friend

Sometimes just taking the time to talk to coworkers can help you feel more productive at work. You can have someone to bounce ideas off of, collaborate on work, or just have a nice conversation.

If you're working from home, it's safe to assume that your office uses a chat app like Slack or Google Hangouts to communicate with people. Find someone you can message when you need to and make an official remote work friend.

One of your work friends can easily send you a quick message to see how you're doing and check in on your work progress. Having someone holding you accountable for getting things done can be a very helpful and effective way to boost productivity.

 

Ask for One-on-One Time

Are you someone that likes to have daily check-ins with your boss? It can be easy to check-in when you work in the same building, but maintaining that cadence can be hard when you're working remotely.

Be proactive and ask your manager if you can set up a scheduled time to catch up each day you're working remotely. You don't have to plan a full meeting, a quick 10 minute summary of what you're working on what you need can be more than enough to help keep you on track.

Maintain the Same Habits

The saying that humans are creatures of habit is absolutely true. If you find yourself breaking from your usual work habits, you may find that it's more difficult for you to do productive work.

You may not have to dress in a suit and tie when you're working from home, but changing out of your sweats or pajamas into more work-appropriate attire can do a lot to get you in the work mindset.

The gyms may be closed, but you can still get your blood pumping with a quick at-home workout routine. If you're used to listening to a podcast during your morning commute, consider listening to it when you're getting ready or eating.

Try to maintain as much of your usual workday routine when you're working from home. You'll be surprised at how much a little regularity can help improve your productivity at work.

Stay in Touch

Even though you're expected to work and be on time for calls and meetings, a lot of managers understand that working from home doesn't mean that you're going to be glued to your desk from 9-5

Your kids may need some help with their schoolwork. You could have to run to the store or walk your dogs. Perhaps meals need to be made, and you need to take the occasional break.

If there's an app version of your office's communication method of choice, make sure that you put it on your phone so you can respond to important messages even if you aren't on your laptop.

Let your co-workers or managers know that you're about to take a break or do a different task, but let them know when you'll be back online.

Improve Your Workforce

Staying productive in a new work environment is important. If you want to maintain an efficient remote workforce, encourage everyone in your office to follow these tips.

Are you interested in learning more ways to work efficiently? Do you think your workplace could benefit from knowing more Scrum or Agile techniques?

Regardless of what you need, we're here to help. Be sure to reach out to us today so we can start talking about the best way to help your employees.

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