Professional Agility

Professional Agility is an empirical approach to transition the whole organisation towards agility. It is not only about being fast but it is about being professional to deliver quality at speed.

Today, the world has been decorated with too many agile terms and methodologies that often confuses people. Quite often we also see resistance in the organisation because of this reason. Because of the confusion and the resistance, the process to transition to agility becomes slower.

Professional Agility is a model that works as a guideline that we use during coaching engagement to improve our client's agility. Professional Agility is an empirical, evolutionary and metrics driven to improve organisation state of agility.

Professional Agility Cycle

Agility is about new behaviours and new capabilities. Changing a large organisation to have the agility is complex because it is about changing the human behaviours in it and teaching the people to have new capabilities. Rushing the change will cause resistance and resistance slow the whole transition process. In Professional Agility, we do not make large transformation plan and commit to large amount of budget for transformation. Professional Agility is about improving organisation agility evolutionarily. That means we are making a small incremental change to the organisation that will improve its agility. Every change that is made to the organisation is considered as a small experimentation. The cycle of change is done every month. If the cycle is longer than a month then, the people may lost focus and lose interest. This cycle is called the Sprint, similar to the term Sprint in Scrum.

The heartbeat of Professional Agility is the Sprint. At the beginning of the Sprint, the Professional Agility Team set the Goal for the Sprint to improve organisation's agility. They will then implement a change that will improve the organisation agility. At the end of the Sprint, the Professional Agility Team will review the impact of change using Professional Agility metrics. From these metrics, it will give feedback about what the next Sprint goal will be. To reduce overhead, we found it effective to align the Sprint cycle with organisation monthly review meeting.

Agility Goal

Professional Agility is goal driven. We see agility as organisation competitive advantage to meet its business strategy and company vision. The monthly Sprint Goal that is set by the Professional Agility Team is derived from Agility Goal. In many organisations we advise that the Agility Goal is reviewed every quarter (3-months). In some of our clients, this goal is reviewed every trimester (4-months). It is up to the organisation to decide the cycle to review the agility goal.

The agility goal must be aligned with the organisation business strategy. Agility should not hinder organisation to meet its goal in fact it is a competitive advantage to meet its goal faster. The whole organisation may collaborate with the Professional Agility Team to create the business strategy. The business strategy is derived from the company vision.

Professional Agility Metrics

Professional Agility is not about assumptions nor prescriptions. Should we DevOps? Should we use Scrum? Should we use Kanban? We do not know what will improve our agility and help us move towards our business strategy and company vision unless we measure it. In Professional Agility there are four main aspects that we are interested to measure:

  1. People aspects
  2. Flow aspects
  3. Value aspects
  4. Quality aspects

All of these aspects are related and should be viewed holistically rather than individually. For example, if the flow of value is fluid but people are not happy then there are room for improvements. Another example, the organisation have an opportunity to improve its agility if quality is high but the product does not generate value in the market or when people are happy but the product quality is low.

Professional Agility Principles

Professional Agility is built upon principles that guides organisations towards their journey towards agility. The principles ensures organisations are on track to continuously improve its state of agility and meets its vision. Professional Agility is based on five principles - P A S T E.

1. People Over Prescriptions

At the heart of it, Professional Agility is about people. We want people to take ownership of the whole process. Agility is not about prescribing people to do certain procedures, tools, approaches or processes. People should decide how the process should be. Agility is high when people take ownership of the whole process.

2. Autonomy with Alignment

Professional Agility is about autonomy with alignment. People decide how the work should be done. Managers role becomes coaches that gives guidance to people. But autonomy is not about chaos. There should be alignment at all level in the organisation to ensure agility does not ends up in chaos.

3. Simplicity over Complexity

Professional Agility is about continuously making products and processes simpler. Making complex things is easier than simplifying things because complexity is about adding more and more things while simplicity is about removing all the cruft. You need to be a professional to make things simpler.

4. Transparency with Trust

Professional Agility is about making things more and more transparent to enable people to self-manage themselves. No information that enable people to self-manage should be hidden. The more transparent an organisation, the higher their agility. In Professional Agility we trust people have the best intention for the organisation and will not misuse any information that is made transparent to them

5. Experimentation with Empiricism

Professional Agility is about risking to experiment and inspecting and adaptation not about making assumptions. In Professional Agility we continuously making a small experiments to improve the state of agility and learn from the outcome to minimise risks. Professional Agility is about continuous learning rather than about perfection.

Are you interested to improve your organisation state of agility using our Professional Agility model. Contact us today for more information about having us as your coach to improve your state of agility.