Updated: Mar 22, 2019
VP: “We have adopted Agile for 5 years already, how agile are we now?”
How would you answer the question above?
- The number of Scrum teams?
- The number of visualization boards in office?
- The number of employees that are Agile-certified?
Last year, I learned about the Service Delivery Agility dashboard from Alexei Zheglov in the Enterprise Service Planning class. It was a compact and useful dashboard to answer the question — “How Agile Are We?”.
Being the Service Delivery Manager of my value stream, I have been employing this dashboard in our monthly Service Delivery Review (to review the service delivery health), and later on in our cross-value-stream Operations Review (to inspects the health of the organization’s operation).
In this article I will be sharing with you how we built and rolled out the dashboard, as well as some of our key findings.
Note: This is an experience report. If you wish to learn more about the dashboard, please see Fernando Cuenca’s article.
BUILD THE DASHBOARD
Per Fernando’s article, this dashboard showcased the metrics that mattered to our customer— it was a customer-focused dashboard. Hence, the first step was to identify our customer.
At the beginning of 2018, our value stream went through STATIK, in which we identified our customer to be the Senior Leadership Team. Note that customers are different from users/consumers. Here is a quick litmus test that we used to spot the customer — if you were to stop delivering, who would react the quickest and loudest?
In addition, we also identified several work item types within our value stream during STATIK. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on only the feature work type, which represents creating net new customer-recognizable capability to our pool of services, such as ChatBOT.
GATHER THE DATA
Data gathering was easier than we initially thought.
Our value stream was the pioneer in the organization to visualize customer-recognizable work via an electronic visualization board. With all the data captured and ready for us to consume, all we needed to do was to grab the numbers and do some simple arithmetic to come up with our values.
In order to make the dashboard easier to digest, we simplified it to only display the two frequency dials and the lead time sliders. All other information (e.g. lead time histogram, control chart, cumulative flow diagram, etc.) were excluded from the dashboard but were included in separate slides of our monthly Service Delivery Review presentation deck.
ESTABLISH GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY
From conversing with our customer (i.e. Senior Leadership Team), we concluded that they would start to be annoyed if a feature were not delivered within a quarter (3 months). In terms of predictability, they understood that there would be variability in delivery, so they did not expect us to have a predictability of 100%, but they did expect us to have better predictability than a coin flip of 50/50.
Regarding replenishment and release frequencies, our customer expected us to take on and release one customer-recognizable feature every month.
After gathering all the information, we assumed our customer’s fitness criteria to be a lead time of 90 days with 75% confidence for feature;replenishment frequency of 1/month; release frequency of 1/month.
The following was a sample of our first Service Delivery Agility dashboard to showcase “How Agile Are We” as a value stream:
We first included the Service Delivery Agility dashboard in our monthly Service Delivery Review in late 2018. The audience were mostly value stream members and leaders, as well as our Senior Leadership Team. This dashboard provided us with a great platform to start a conversation on our delivery maturity and how well we were satisfying our customer.
Moreover, when we made a systemic change to our value stream, this dashboard was able to communicate whether the impact of such evolutionary change was fitter for our customer’s purpose.
Below is a sample dashboard that compares our Service Delivery Agility between 2018 and 2019 after a systemic evolutionary change:
Here are some feedback on the dashboard from our audience:
- “This is fantastic! I can immediately see how agile your value stream is”
- “This is a great visual to showcase the gap between our current capability and where we wish to be”
- “Maybe I am just new to metrics, but I find this dashboard overwhelming”
In my opinion, the experience of building and rolling out the dashboard was positive. With a little bit of work, we were able to provide a easily-digestible summary of our service delivery metrics.
Depending on the audience though, it might be a good idea to have a brief explanation on what those metrics are and why we decide to only include these selected metrics in the dashboard.
Also, it is important to continuously validate our go-to-market strategy as time elapses. This way we can remain competitive in the market by providing services that are fit for our customer’s purpose.
In summary, I find this tool really helpful and I encourage you to apply it to your own context (feel free to download my sample slide here).
Let us know your experience with the implementation in the comment section below.