Inspect and Adapt Activities Should Be Happening All the Time

At Enfocus Solutions, we’ve adopted much of the Scaled Agile Framework®, the premiere scaling framework for scaling agile developed by Dean Leffingwell and Scaled Agile, Inc. One of the many aspects of the framework that makes it such a useful tool is Leffingwell’s concept of Inspect and Adapt Workshops. Building on one of the principles taken from the Agile Manifesto that, “at regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective,” SAFe®  incorporates the Inspect and Adapt (I&A) workshop at the end of a release or Program Increment (PI). According to SAFe®, “I&A is to a Release Train what the sprint demo and retrospective are to a team—a regular, programmatic, time to reflect, problem solve, and take on improvement actions [to] identify actions needed to increase the velocity, quality and reliability of the next increment.” When discussing the Inspect and Adapt workshop, the Scaled Agile Framework® describes I&A activities occurring only on the program level. However, at Enfocus Solutions, we like to take it a step further and carry out Inspect and Adapt activities at every level: portfolio, program, and team. This way, we review the solution constantly, making it more likely that we catch problems and issues as they happen, instead of during a demo with a stakeholder. At each level in the organization, there are activities that can be performed that will help ensure your teams are continuously inspecting and adapting, not just during program level events: Portfolio—A formal Performance Evaluation (or, inspection) should take place to ensure the Program Portfolio achieves the desired performance by measuring business outcomes against predetermined KPIs. There may be...

Follow-Up Q&A to The Agile Business Analyst Webinar

Wow! More people than ever showed up to the Enfocus Solutions Webinar Series last week when CEO John Parker presented The Agile Business Analyst. There were so many questions asked that we couldn’t even begin to answer them during the webinar. The original plan was to publish the Q&A as a blog post, but there were just way too many questions to do that! So, below are a few of our favorites. All answers were provided by the webinar presenter, John Parker. It was really hard to pick just a few. If you’d like to read the answers to all of the questions asked, download the complete Q&A. Q: How do we keep track of the changes made in a system if we don’t document them? A: The changes are documented with user stories, maintaining clean code, and writing an efficient level of system documentation.  Agile does not mean “producing no documentation.” Agile documentation is lightweight and sufficient. Q: What do you recommend for system documentation that must be maintained?  At the end of the day, organizations need a document outlining business process, business rules, data rules, etc. A: This information is usually maintained in a collaborative business architecture and maintained separately from the team.  When an Epic is defined, necessary changes to the business architecture are identified as change impacts. These changes are further refined as Epics are decomposed into Features. Stories simply represent changes to the business architecture. I did not discuss all of this in the webinar, but this is a key part of agile portfolio and program management. Q: How do you make agile work...

There’s More to Being Agile than Agile Software Delivery

When the term “agile” comes up in a conversation these days, the mind often jumps to agile software development. But there’s so much more to being agile than delivering software products iteratively and incrementally. If our planning or change strategies aren’t agile, we can forget about being able to deliver the maximum amount of business value possible to our customers. Our entire organization must be agile in order to be able to “keep our finger on the pulse” and rapidly adapt to meet today’s demands. On top of being agile, the most successful organizations out there are also lean mean machines, capable of effectively managing the portfolio to avoid surprises and respond to threats quickly and efficiently. In our webinar last month, The Path to Business Agility, Enfocus Solutions’ CEO John Parker discussed the four components that make up a lean agile business: Enterprise Agile Delivery The agile organization must have the ability to deliver products and services iteratively and incrementally based on discovered and validated customer needs. Agile software delivery is usually the first place organizations start when adopting agile. Many organizations have yet to move onto implementing agile in other areas of the organization, and limit their focus to the responsibilities of the agile team. In reality, the agile team only makes up one part of Enterprise Agile Delivery, and Enterprise Agile Delivery only makes up one of four fundamentals that must be addressed for the organization to be considered agile. In the Lean Business Agility Framework, Enterprise Agile Delivery is achieved via three key elements: Agile Teams (Scrum or Kanban)—Support day-to-day work of self-organized teams (using...

Introduction to the Lean Business Agility Framework™

Business agility is more important now than ever, according to a recent report by Forrester Research. In the report, they define business agility as “the quality that allows an enterprise to embrace market and operational changes as a matter of routine.” As Forrester astutely points out, seventy percent of the companies that existed on the Fortune 1000 list ten years ago are no longer in service—the number one cause being the inability to adapt to change. Many organizations have adopted agile methods for software or product development. Agile methods have helped organizations deliver more rapidly, increase customer satisfaction, and improve quality. However, agile development alone does not make the enterprise agile. An agile business must be able to make rapid changes that affect people, processes, data, technology, and rules to support threats and opportunities in the market. The Lean Business Agility Framework™ is here to guide you through choosing the methods that will enable change and achieve business agility in your organization. There are many great existing frameworks and methodologies for implementing agile best practices. However, the Lean Business Agility Framework combines all best practices into one comprehensive guide. The Lean Business Agility Framework was developed by Enfocus Solutions to help organizations visualize what is needed to transform to an agile enterprise. The framework incorporates current trends and integrates various methods from sources such as the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe), ITIL®, Lean Thinking, and Lean Startup® into a cohesive approach for moving to business agility. The framework is intended to serve only as a guide and requires an organization to selectively choose the methods that best fit their organization...

PMI-PBA vs. IIBA’s CBAP

With the PMI’s recent release of the new Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) certification, business analysts (BAs) in the community are asking what is the difference between this new PMI-PBA and the IIBA’s existing Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)? Also, if we’re looking into getting certified, which one should we go after? In their announcement to offer the new certification, the PMI quoted a statistic by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics that “business analysis jobs are predicted to increase 19 percent by 2022.” We agree that this is a good reason for more people to get certified in the field of business analysis. We’re looking at this new certification from the PMI as great news; business analysis as a profession needs to break through the lack of recognition and demand more respect from the global community so that we can all be more successful in our jobs. This certification is definitely a step in that direction. But before you go and sign up for the PMI-PBA pilot program, we recommend making sure it’s the right certification for you. After looking at the available literature, including the PMI-PBA Examination Content Outline (ECO), it is apparent that this particular certification is focused on a very specific area of business analysis, and is developed for a very specific subset of business analysts. According to the PMI’s literature on the new certification, “business analysis is a critical function that helps define business requirements in order to shape the output of projects and drive successful business outcomes. In order to ensure the quality of requirements and projects, it is crucial that individuals be...