8 Steps to Achieve Enterprise Agile Planning Success

With these 8 steps, you can achieve a successful Enterprise Agile Planning transformation, avoiding common barriers to adoption and achieving Agile at scale.

The business landscape is experiencing tectonic shifts calling for enterprise agility: the rise of artificial intelligence, the need for supply chain resiliency, and interest rate-driven capital market changes all demand a new level of agility. Today, speed is the ultimate differentiator separating thriving enterprises from failing projects.

This is where Enterprise Agile Planning (EAP) comes in. EAP are products that help organizations expand their agile software development to get a strategic view of their enterprise. Thus, empowering organizations to react swiftly to internal and market stimuli, fostering a fluid environment where resources seamlessly adapt to changing priorities, with a business outcome driven approach. Unlike traditional budgeting, EAP allows for faster decision-making and optimized outcomes.

According to a 2024 survey, a significant 71% of US companies have adopted Agile methodologies, and this shift is for good reason. Traditional software development methods, such as waterfall, commonly lead to challenges like siloed teams, limited visibility, inefficient planning, and the use of disparate tools. However, the primary obstacle lies in demonstrating the financial advantages of a streamlined work management process.

By following these 8 steps, you can navigate these hurdles and achieve successful Agile transformation at scale.

Here’s an 8-step checklist to guide your organization on the path to successful EAP implementation:

1. Focus on cultural and organizational alignment first

Before diving into frameworks, define what agility means for your company.  Focus on developing a strategic plan that extends beyond pilot projects. Extensive employee training on Agile methodologies is crucial for success.

Many employers offer agile and scrum training and enablement to their employees regardless of seniority or role. Research has shown that inadequate and dysfunctional training can result in problems for software companies and development teams when moving to Agile. So, make sure your employees are aware of and trained on Agile methodology like Scrum, LeSS, or SAFe.

2. Communicate your organization’s goals in implementing EAP

Disseminate your organization’s EAP goals to all levels, from individual contributors to executives. Alignment and adoption are paramount for a thriving EAP journey.

3. Select the right EAP tool

This cross-functional tool will be used to define, create, and manage projects. Disconnected tools are a major reason for EAP failure.  By having a single EAP tool like Apptio Targetprocess that easily analyzes and shifts resources—and conveys the financial implications of these changes—organizations can innovate faster, and are more likely to collaborate. Targetprocess facilitates resource allocation analysis and financial impact assessment, fostering faster innovation and enhanced collaboration.

Financial leaders can leverage IBM Apptio Targetprocess to answer critical questions:

  • How do Agile work plan adjustments affect team capacity?
  • What financial implications arise from delaying or shelving initiatives?
  • How will the proposed changes impact CapEx and OpEx based on the new work portfolio?
  • What are the variances between proposed scenarios and established baselines?
  • How does this affect labor capacity and capitalization across the division?
  • How can I re-balance the plan to accommodate these changes?

4. Calculate Agile capacity

Realistic team and individual capacity assessments are essential. EAP tools ensure accurate planning for effective workload management at both team and individual levels.

5. Prioritize and prepare

Rank initiatives and high-level work based on their business value. Ensure the necessary IT foundation and resources are in place to achieve desired outcomes. Develop a plan to integrate updates from laggards, potentially utilizing waterfall or hybrid methodologies.

6. Monitor progress continually

Once the transition begins, the release train engineer plays a vital role in identifying and removing roadblocks, empowering team members to deliver on business goals. Utilize real-time insights from your EAP tool and share updated timelines with the team.

7. Establish a continuous EAP feedback loop

After software deployments, successful organizations showcase the financial benefits of a well-managed work management process to stakeholders like boards, shareholders, and project sponsors.  Identify areas for future streamlining and optimize time and resource allocation for ongoing success.

8. Align human capital with financial management

In today’s dynamic business environment, agility extends beyond technology and processes.  Optimizing human capital is essential for effective EAP. The right tools can streamline forecasting, budgeting, and capacity planning for your workforce, ensuring your talent is strategically allocated to deliver maximum value.

Achieve Agile transformation

Rebalancing portfolios to prioritize growth initiatives (potentially at the expense of run-the-business or protect-the-business initiatives) has traditionally been a complex challenge. Lengthy feedback loops and disconnected budget cycles can leave organizations vulnerable. The right EAP tool provides the timely information needed for a smooth Agile transformation.

EAP allows for ​integrated IT, business, and UX product teams​ to deliver better information. Apptio Targetprocess is a solution that connects teams, products, and portfolios to business objectives using SAFe, LeSS, or your own framework to achieve enterprise agility. Recently recognized as a leader in value stream management and Agile project and portfolio management, Targetprocess integrates with  IBM Apptio, a solution to help you analyze, optimize, and plan technology spend. This integration—a market first—better connects Agile (and hybrid) IT delivery teams with financial teams in their organizations, aligning evolving work plans with budgets. Sign up for a free trial to learn more.

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