Phase 3

END-TO-END VALUE STREAMS

Steps:

1) Start with first value streams and enterprise portfolio

2) Evaluate, improve and spread awareness

3) Existing structures, processes and culture become inhibitors to further change


So far, the organization has continued to manage projects and priorities at the department or silo level only. People in ‘Marketing’ haven’t really felt they needed to take into account what’s coming up for ‘Operations’, or what’s happening in ‘Finance’. Yet a first step to breaking up the silos and creating an interconnected, Agile organizational entity is to put together an organization-wide project portfolio, prioritized along customercentered ‘value streams’.


WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO CONSIDER VALUE STREAMS OVER DEPARTMENTS?

Because customers don’t care about your

departments. Because the customer, your

prime source of revenue, doesn’t experience

the organization or the brand at the

department level. They experience a result

(a product, a service) that they’re either

willing to pay for, or not. These results are

the output of ‘value streams’ comprising

steps that each add significant value.

Value streams run along organic lines:

from ‘having an idea’, for example, to

‘turning the idea into a product’ to ‘marketing

it’, ‘selling it’, ‘harvesting feedback’ and ‘supporting customers’. These organic value adding streams or chains have little respect for the functional silos that we’ve spent decades working in and recruiting for.

SOURCE OF FRICTION?

A source of friction may arise because

those whose work has not yet been impacted

by the transformation (supporting

functions) start to regard their work with

some puzzlement.

Moreover, the autonomy and short-cyclical

freedom enjoyed by those already

working Agile may appears more rewarding

and even ‘cooler’ than their own

conventional daily routine. Rest assured:

their turn arrives with the final phase.


‘GO AGILE’ DECISION

Jump the chasm: Fully organize around

value streams, leaving conventional

structures behind.


WHAT’S IN THIS PHASE FOR YOU?

Benefit: The benefits of setting up and

living by end-to-end value streams are

hard to overstate. A clear focus on total

added value, a significantly shorter

time-to-market, a firmer grasp on quality

control. More employee engagement is

also widely felt: rather than just working

at the IT department there is now a true

awareness of contribution to the wider

organization.


AGILE CENTER OF EXPERTISE

To answer the many questions that

have an easy answer, and to coordinate

research into questions that don’t, your

organization may want to set up some

sort of an Agile Center of Expertise at

this point. Called a Chapter, a working

group or something similar, this entity serves as a knowledge base, a platform and a laboratory for all things regarding the transformation.

‘JUMPING THE CHASM’

Up to now, the journey has evolved largely in a bottom-up fashion, though (hopefully) cheered on by management. Here though, management can no longer watch from a distance. To fully organize work along value streams ultimately impacts fundamental areas. All supporting functions, for example - HR, Finance, PM/PO, et cetera - ar e involved, and each should adapt. For Finance, the

rigid per annum approach to budgeting

must give way to something more

flexible; For HR, the myriad job profiles

and performance reviews have to go. So,

the labour council will want its say and shareholders may, too. In short, the bottom-

up momentum no longer suffices. Top management too, must learn to view

performance through an Agile lens. That

is the chasm to jump. Making the jump won’t calm the waters yet though: the redesign that follows may well invite resistance from all layers of the organization: where those in the

value stream soon see the benefits, people

in supportive positions (supporting functions such as HR, Finance, Control, et cetera) especially may feel uncertain and without direction.