Agile scaling — frameworks, adaptation, and important criteria for individual solutions!

Introduction

Increasing market pressure! Rapidly changing customer needs! High uncertainty! Appropriate scaling, but how? These are buzzwords that move many of our customers. This article provides an overview of possible fields of action and frameworks that can be suitably adapted. Not only since books such as “Unlocking Agility: An Insider’s Guide to Agile Enterprise Transformation” and “Management 3.0 Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders” has it been explained in an understandable way that today’s dynamic, highly uncertain, complex, and often difficult to grasp market needs require a corporate organization that is as adaptable as possible. Agility, i.e. the ability to react sufficiently quickly, adaptively, and with a high focus on customer value generation and through an iterative-incremental approach to corresponding risk minimization, is more in demand than ever. The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe) from Scaled Agile, Inc. is one of the leading frameworks for business agility at the enterprise level, see Figure 1. We are experiencing this, you have been experiencing this for several years with some of our major customers such as HDI Global, KfW, Atruvia (formerly Fiducia), and Allianz.

Figure 1: 15th State of Agile Report 2021 (https://stateofagile.com/)

This is partly due to the fact that SAFe as a framework offers a stable framework that can be adapted to the needs, size, and market orientation of the respective organization. It is to be expected that more and more companies will need scaled frameworks such as Scrum@Scale and SAFe® or individual agile organizational developments.

In particular, the successful design of agile transformation projects under increasingly complex market, customer, and compliance conditions requires tailor-made, evidence-based measurability in terms of success and progress as well as the involvement of employees, managers, and company management. This is the only way to promote, develop and motivate the required agile mindset, i.e. the attitude of individuals (people!) towards change and willingness to learn. The Management 3.0 Framework offers suitable transformational aspects for building and promoting complex thinking, see Figure 2 for an abstract representation.

Figure 2: Suitable transformational change process, source: Management 3.0

The appropriate, collaborative involvement of all people who are influenced by a corporate transformation in the insurance and banking world also promotes a common organization-wide value development and a uniform understanding of values. This supports people’s identification with the company and collaboration within a company.

The result was a white paper with a tabular overview at its core, which allows both a framework to be selected as the initial framework and starting point for the respective company context and also contains inspiring elements for an individual solution in the context of company transformations. For this, we have decided on the repertory grid as a useful tabular visualization, which is briefly explained below.

The Repertory Grid: Briefly Explained

The repertory grid enables the assessment of freely selectable characteristics to freely selectable categories. It was therefore very well suited for our working group to assess scaling frameworks. There is no such thing as good or bad, but more or less appropriate depending on the market, company, and team context. The following Figure 3 illustrates the assessment of 1 to 5 points, with “A” and “n” illustrating two different frameworks.

Figure 3: Exemplary representation of the developed repertory grid for frameworks

Our findings for tailor-made advice in the context of agile transformations

The consideration of the frameworks we have selected as well as the exchange of experiences between different colleagues from different areas of PPI AG has shown that suitable support for our customers for an agile transformation. In addition, the internal further development of our cooperation is taken into account and requires a suitable actual analysis for the respective needs. There are also references from our customers in the insurance and banking sectors with over 1,000 employees. The 11 criteria we have developed are helpful for this. Depending on the context and the ability to assess these criteria, adding or omitting them can make sense in the context of an assessment. Accordingly, these criteria serve as inspiration and guidelines, not as specifications or right or wrong.

With this compact article, I hope to have contributed to the understanding of the successful start of transformations.

In this context, I would also like to draw your attention to our agile training courses on scaled agility:
https://ppi-x.de/agile-strategy/agile-trainings.html

Regardless of the specific procedure for a change, a framework, or an individual solution, when considering a transformation, it is of course also necessary to work out the urgency depending on the market and company context in order to work out a common understanding of the need for a change. My colleague Ronny Kant described this in the following blog post:
https://blog.ppi-x.de/is-your-company-ready-for-the-financial-world-of-the-future/

Literature

Extreme Programming

Flight Levels

Kanban Methode

Kanban Strategie

Large Scale Scrum

Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders

Nexus Framework — Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS)

OKR — Der Leitfaden für agile Mitarbeiterführung

Professional Agile Leadership: Evidence-based Management

Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

Scrum Guide

Scrum @ Scale sowie Scrum of Scrum

Spotify Model

unFIX Model

Unlocking Agility: An Insider’s Guide to Agile Enterprise Transformation

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