Introduction to the Lean Business Agility Framework™

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 based on their level of maturity and culture.

Lean Business Agility Framework

For a full-size version of the Lean Business Agility Framework, download the white paper.

Inspired by the Scaled Agile Framework, The Lean Business Agility Framework takes the three levels from SAFe®, front-ends them with a Strategy Level, and back-ends the SAFe® levels with Business Change. In total, there are five levels in the Lean Business Agility Framework:

  • Strategy
  • Portfolio
  • Program
  • Team
  • Business Change

This blog will summarize the five levels of the Framework and the suggested methods of achieving each level’s specific goals. For in-depth descriptions of each of these levels, download the white paper.

Strategy Level

Before developing a service to be delivered to customers, we need to understand who our customers are and what they need (not just what they want). This requires developing a set of hypotheses and assumptions about our customers and the service offerings necessary to meet their needs. Then, we focus on designing services that are guaranteed to meet their needs, and develop value stream maps to visualize the value delivered by the designed services.

Suggested Methods

  • Customer Development
  • Service Portfolio Management
  • Service Design
  • Value Stream Mapping

Portfolio Level

We need to ensure the solutions we innovate align with discovered customer needs. The goal of this level is to develop an Epic Backlog that satisfies customers’ unmet needs. After an Epic is defined, we must understand its associated impacts, gaps, and risks to ensure we can successfully deploy the new software to customers. These tasks are made easier with a supporting collaborative business architecture that establishes a common vocabulary, vision, and degree of transparency that is required to make agile work. At the Portfolio Level is also where we align budgeting and accounting tasks with our Lean and Agile goals by providing our accountants with special Lean tools.

Suggested Methods

  • Innovation Management
  • Impacts, Gaps, and Risks
  • Lean Budgeting and Accounting
  • Value Flow Management
  • Collaborative Business Architecture

Program Level

We start at the Program Level with breaking up Epics into Features that meet customer needs and have the ability to be independently developed and deployed. As we do this, it’s important to keep in mind the Plan-Do-Inspect-Adapt cycle to iteratively and continuously improve our product or service. Our goal is to deliver a continuous stream of value to the customer throughout many releases.

Suggested Methods

  • Discovery
  • PDIA: Plan-Do-Inspect-Adapt
  • Release Planning and Management

Team Level

At the Team Level, we focus on developing the software and assessing progress throughout the development lifecycle. We use an “inspect and adapt” approach to improve quality and reduce time to market.

Suggested Methods

  • Agile Product Development

Business Change Level

Agile change agents and Lean best practices such as the Lean Change Canvas replace the traditional organizational change approaches followed by waterfall or plan-driven organizations. We use the Lean Change method developed by Jeff Anderson, which is an approach based on learning, co-creation, and experimentation. We don’t leave stakeholders out of the loop—in fact, we negotiate changes with stakeholders that will be impacted by proposed changes.

Suggested Methods

  • Lean Change Canvas
  • Negotiated Changes
  • Kanban Management
  • Validated Learning

All of the levels of the Lean Business Agility Framework, as well as the suggested methods for being successful on each level, are described together in our white paper, the Lean Business Agility Framework.

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  1. Great framework! Just wondering why Knowledge Management isn’t represented on the model in a significant way.


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