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Hasse Jansen, 17 May '17

Agile Portfolio Management - Align Daily Tasks With Strategy

Agile isn’t just for teams anymore, it is also for managers. To get your entire company hooked on agile, create a coherent, goal-driven Agile strategy.

Agile has become the standard in Development, now it’s time to branch out and scale up. But you can’t just run more Agile teams in parallel. It will become messy quickly. Agile needs some adjustments to work on a larger company-wide scale.

We’ve all experienced how difficult it can be to keep the entire organization moving in the same direction, towards the same dot at the horizon. Keeping multiple teams aligned is difficult enough, and it is even harder to align teams with management.

To align strategic goals horizontally and vertically, you need a way to visualize the interdependencies between strategic goals. When you do it right, teams will be able to make their own informed decisions about which tasks will bring the company closest to achieving company strategy, at any given time.

Teams will have the freedom to utilize their expertise as they see fit, while managers gain the reassurance that all activities performed are in line with strategy.

To build your goal-driven agile strategy, take these 3 steps. The steps are based on Organize Agile’s ‘Agile Portfolio Management’. 

1. Understand your ambitions and activities

Create a prioritized network of goals

Map out all your activities and categorize them in three groups.

  1. Ambitions
  2. Vague and far
  3. Concrete and nearby

Here's what that looks like in more detail:

  1. Start with your ambition as a highest commercial goal or theme. Make it bold and inspiring.
  1. Add supporting sub goals, which are so-called vague and far.

Ask yourself which sub goals need to be achieved to be able to achieve your ambition, your highest goal. The achievement of each sub goal needs to increase your chances of reaching the parent goal. If a specific sub goal does not increase the chances of reaching the parent goal, don’t pursue them.

  1. Then, draw up concrete and nearby goals, and make sure they’re measurable. Pick your KPIs carefully.

Finally, align goals and sub goals across the organization. Here’s what that looks like on a canvas

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2. Connect those activities and people

Align goals and tasks, and assign responsibility

Assign responsibility of completing a goal to one individual: the goal owner. The goal owner and the team discuss which tasks need to be completed to bring you closer to goal achievement.

If a task does not increase the chances of reaching the goal, don’t perform those tasks. This saves you tons of time that you would otherwise have wasted on tasks that do not drive value.

The team indicates to the goal owner whether the required tasks can be performed in time. Team and Goal Owner need to agree on tasks to be performed before the work starts.

3. Prioritize dynamically

Re-evaluate periodically to accommodate change

When everyone has performed their tasks, your product or service has hit the market, and commercial results come in.

It’s likely that the world has changed since goals were created and tasks where assigned weeks ago. Or maybe the commercial results could have been better.

In any case, make sure your goal tree reflects the changing reality at any given time.

  1. Meet every day in a Daily Standup to discuss task completion.
  1. Meet every week in a Weekly Speed Update to discuss goal achievement.

Your visualized strategy will guide which goals are discussed. Ask your team:

  • Is the achievement of particular goals still valuable in a changed reality?
  • Does the completion of tasks still add up to the achievement of particular goals?

Adjust goals and/or tasks when needed.

When you have adjusted goals to new insights, make sure your goal tree is still a coherent whole. In principle, missing one deadline on a simple task could mean the achievement your highest commercial goal is in jeopardy.

Make sure change is recognized and followed up on in every corner of the organization that’s affected by it.

Now, don’t just read and nod in agreement… take action! Take agile to the next level with Agile Portfolio Management.

Contact us or Organize Agile.

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