Maximizing the ROI of your Agile transformations

by Joseph K. Clark

Agile is hard. After over 20 years, organizations still fail to realize the full benefits of Agile transformations at scale. They’ve seen the impact of Agile at the team level, improving productivity, decreasing risks and costs, and increasing revenue. Still, they are failing to maximize those benefits across the enterprise.

“As your organization starts to grow, you’re trying to accomplish so much more. So how do you do that? It’s not just by adding more Agile teams across the business. It’s also not just about speed or delivery velocity. We’ve learned along the way that it’s about creating a shared vision across the business and building the right things,” said Brook Appelbaum, director of Product Marketing at portfolio management and work management company Planview.

Agile transformations

Organizations who have seen success at the team level often mistake adding more Agile project teams to solve problems. Sure, they end up with many fast-moving teams, but those teams are operating in silos, without the necessary coordination and connection. “They do not really realize the true benefits of Agile,” Appelbaum explained.

 To be successful at scale, organizations have to take the learnings of their Agile teams and apply them at scale: incorporating feedback loops, iterating, and coordinating work across a much more complex structure – and key to all of this is a shared vision. By connecting teams and enabling them to see how their work fits into the bigger picture, Appelbaum believes organizations can improve their ability to plan, coordinate, improve their time to market, and gain a host of other Agile benefits.

“As you start to grow, some of the building blocks of Agile – transparency, collaboration, continuous improvement — become so much more important because you have to be really thoughtful about how you engage, explain, coordinate, share, and iterate to create value at every turn,” she said.

Calculating your Agile ROI

To help organizations better understand their Agile efforts at scale, Planview recently released the Agile Transformation ROI Calculator. The calculator aims to shine a light on Agile’s art of the possible. It is designed to facilitate challenging conversations around Agile transformation successes and failures. It provides organizations with a way to look at cost optimization, reduce time to market, and improve employee job satisfaction and productivity.

 “Often when an Agile Transformation isn’t going as expected, it’s due to reasons that are harder to measure: cultural mismatches, ‘performative’ Agile or lack of executive commitment,” said Appelbaum. “The ROI calculator provides critical information that shines a light on some of these challenges, and provides real metrics that can help organizations carve a path forward to success.” 

The ROI calculator highlights metrics that include how long it takes to get a significant initiative or epic to completion and if those times can be improved. It sheds light on whether teams are working in isolation or if they’re able to communicate, coordinate, plan and work together as a cross-functional group of units. 

Additionally, it estimates job satisfaction and reduced employee turnover for Agile team members utilizing their favorite Agile team tools. For example, different teams like to work with other agencies; Planview provides integration capabilities so couples can still work within their existing processes or mechanisms of choice without disrupting their workflow or productivity. As a result, organizations can get that consolidated view of the business’s going on while keeping their key developer talent happy.

However, Appelbaum also noted that “Organizations must begin to identify and address some of the challenges that are preventing them from realizing true success with Agile at scale, whether cultural, procedural, or even technical: for example, are the products you’re using limiting your ability to scale? It’s paramount to figure out how to connect [teams], how to get them to plan together, synchronize and collaborate together because that’s really what it’s all about, being able to take these big, important, complex initiatives and decompose them into bite-size chunks of incremental value delivery.”

Planview plans to bolster the calculator in the future. “One of the things we hesitate to talk about is Agile risk and failure, but it does happen…there is still a level of failure in every type of project, and we are looking to add some metrics around those missteps as well,” said Appelbaum.

The calculator was designed to facilitate a conversation within the organization about their current and future Agile successes. Visit their website if you’d like to learn more about Planview’s Agile ROI calculator or Planview’s Agile solutions.

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