Module 4 - The AgileSHIFT Framework
The course is part of this learning path
This module looks at the ‘what’ of the AgileSHIFT framework. It starts by focusing on the complexity of an organization and investigates the role internal and external teams and stakeholders play in co-creating value. Then it looks at the importance of strategic organizational alignment in effectively implementing change and, within this, it investigates the critical and often conflicting role of middle managers in facilitating change across the organization.
Please note: this content was produced in the UK and may include the use of British English.
The objectives of this course are to provide you with and understanding of:
- Organization complexity
- Working in an agile way
- Organization strategic alignment
- The role of middle management
The target audience for the AgileSHIFT qualification is any employee of an organization that intends to adopt AgileSHIFT. This includes people who will become champions of the new working practice and employees from any part of the business who will contribute to the incremental improvements that will make up the wider change the organization requires.
There are no specific prerequisites to study the AgileSHIFT course or for entry to the examination.
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In the earlier videos we’ve considered the environment organizations operate in, the increasing pace of change – and the role of technology in this – as well as disruptors and the delta which have all helped to illustrate why AgileSHIFT is important.
You can see these elements in the outer ring on the diagram.
Now we’re going to look at the AgileSHIFT framework, starting with how an organization should be organized to deliver AgileSHIFT. In later videos we’ll then define the AgileSHIFT Principles and Practices, and look in detail at the AgileSHIFT delivery approach.
An organization has employees, contractors, suppliers, customers, stakeholders and users who all interact to define, plan, co-create and deliver value. As we’ve seen, introducing agile working in one part of the organization might improve things there but won’t necessarily benefit the whole organization – the entire organization needs to develop agility for the co-created value to be fully optimized.
Here’s Ady Dike, Principal Agile Learning Consultant at QA describing how organization complexity can create barriers to agile working.
Sometimes this is because of the way teams are set up, particularly are inner facing like your support services, like HR, Finance etc. But my view is that this is changing slowly now. I’m working with a number of organizations across sectors who want to enable the non-IT areas of the business to be more agile.
Another barrier is if teams within the organization don’t understand the strategy or who are not geared up around delivering that strategy. Sometimes it’s because of the way the strategy is communicated – maybe it’s not clear enough to its employees, maybe it’s not communicated frequently enough and, as I mentioned earlier, it could be around how they are set up. Sometimes functions are optimized around what works best for them rather than what works best for the organization as a whole.
So, how can these challenges be overcome? Sometimes it’s through re-structuring the organization; just making sure that the team is set up around key value streams that deliver value to the customer. Another way is about making sure that its objectives and key results are aligned at all levels within the organization. And the third and most important is about making sure that those goals are clearly articulated and communicated as frequently as possible so that teams begin to understand where their functions fit within the grand scheme of things.
If the whole organization isn’t working in an agile way, the teams who do will be frustrated by other internal and external teams who haven’t adapted, and they’ll probably revert to their old ways of doing things to get anything done.
So, that means that each team is reliant on each other in an AgileSHIFT environment:
The team who are delivering the product or service to an internal or external customer are in the middle of the organization. They’re responsible for the delivery that achieves customer value and interact with every other part of the organization – affecting and being affected by them.
Although typically there are ‘support functions’ in a business, like HR, IT and Procurement, we’ll take a wider view and consider that each team mutually supports each other across the organization. As you can see, this demonstrates that all parts of the organization communicate with all the other parts.
The organization’s ecosystem involves more than just its own team members. To create value, other co-creators – including customers and suppliers – must know how things work as well. There’s no point in the team working to flexible requirements if the suppliers don’t understand that they also need to need to be flexible in how they work. The buy-in of external stakeholders in AgileSHIFT is as important as the buy-in of internal team members.
Every function of the organization is connected to every other one – and that’s what makes it complex.
To change the way customer value is delivered, an organization must look at the way that they work across all areas and change by achieving small, marginal gains. Every part of the organization must buy-in to achieve the transformational change that helps it survive and compete.
About the Author
Tony has over 20 years’ experience in Business Development, Business Change, Consulting and Project/Programme Management working with public, private and third sector organisations.
He has helped organisations to design and create process and procedures to align ways of working with corporate strategy. A highly motivated and detailed solution provider utilising a wide range of methods and frameworks to provide structure whilst promoting creativity and innovation.
As a confident and self-motivated professional with excellent communication skills Tony is able to bring people together and get them working as a team quickly.
Tony is an Agile and Scrum trainer with a vast knowledge spanning IT Systems, Business Change, Programme and Project Management. With excellent presentation skills and a solid background, he ensures that all clients gain maximum benefit from his training. He has successfully guided those new to the industry through their initial training, helped experienced staff as they progress in their careers and worked at Director level advising on best use and practice, as well as tailoring courses to fulfil the exact needs of clients.