Value Pipeline: Are We Focusing on the Right Priorities in Our Agile Transformation?
Agile coaches need to bring about real transformation value to our stakeholders, which can be accomplished by using Shift Left and Shift Right strategies.
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As agile coaches, our work involves working with teams in transitioning and transforming the Ways of Working (WoW) to agile and helping teams achieve agility. However, most of the focus is on transitioning and little time is actually spent on the transformation part.
In this article, I talk about the Shift Left and Shift Right strategies for agile coaches using the classic S-curve as a metaphor.
2. What Is the Value Pipeline?
The above picture represents the typical value stream from a product valuation perspective. In most of the agile coaching engagement, an agile coach spends a majority of the time (roughly 85% to 90%) in zone B (Value Generation/Creation).
The activities typically involved in this zone are:
- Training team members in agile
- Coaching Scrum Masters & team facilitators
- Ensure as a gatekeeper of the agile ceremonies and events
- Identify low hanging fruits/quick wins towards agility
- Impediment remover on a priority
These steps, although it gives immediate results and quick wins, is not a long sustaining proposition for an agile coach. These activities would only result in the initial transition from a traditional way of working to an agile way. However, this in no way is transformation. As coaches, we should not really be working in this zone B for more than 20% of our time.
We need to put our thinking caps on and bring about real transformation value to our stakeholders. One way we can contribute is by adapting the Shift Left and Shift Right strategies with respect to the above S Curve. Our focus has to move from zone B to zone A and zone C.
Shift Left Approach (Move to Zone A)
As coaches, we bring real value by working closely with our product teams and executive leadership in facilitating business value identification, prioritization & funding quantification. This is the zone where I feel we should be spending between 35% to 40% of our time (if not more). Over a period of time, our focus should move from zone B to zone A.
Shift Right Approach (Move to Zone C)
As coaches, we also need to work with our stakeholders to validate the product value defined in zone A with its actual realization in zone C. Over a period of time, our focus/priority should move from zone B to zone C.
Typical activities we should be working on here include facilitating conversations and coaching around:
- Validating the monetized business value
- Ideating around enhancing the existing realized value
- Value refinement through feature enhancement and feature optimization
This is the zone again, where I feel we should be spending between 35% to 40% of our time (the more the better).
The real icing on the cake in any agile transformation is how the correlation is established between agile principles, processes & ceremonies (followed at zone B) with the business value definition, prioritization, and realization (zones A and C). This though is not easy and as coaches, we can expect resistance at the boundaries between these zones — refer to the cracks in the picture above. The real skillset for an agile coach is to fork these resistances and bring out a premium value to their agile transformation story.
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