A 7-Step Checklist to Enterprise Agile Planning Success

By following a few steps, your organization can successfully achieve agile at scale while avoiding common barriers to adoption.

Enterprise agility means being able to react and respond quickly to both internal and market stimuli. This creates a fluid environment where, as priorities change, resources get redirected in support of optimized outcomes, often at a pace faster than traditional budgeting and forecasting processes can support.

Agilists also eschew classic measurement methods: story points and relative sizing replace daily effort and duration estimates; release trains and epics in support of long-lived products, supplant projects, and traditional project portfolios.

Achieving enterprise agile planning (EAP) success can result in optimized resource efficiency, whether it’s better leveraging labor or financial resources to support a project.

However, in 2021, only one in five organizations had implemented an enterprise agile framework. Barriers to faster adoption have included siloed teams, poor visibility, inefficient planning, and disconnected tools. But one of the main challenges organizations face in this transition is being able to show the financial value of a well-managed work management process.

By following a few steps, your organization can avoid those barriers to adoption and achieve agile at scale.

A checklist for enterprise agile planning success

This checklist can better prepare leaders on their EAP journey, providing them with a more successful outcome and increased adoption in their organization.

1. Focus on cultural and organizational alignment first

Start by defining what agility means to your organization. What would it look like to be agile compared to just implementing an agile framework? Focus on developing a strategic plan compared to the evolution of one or a few key pilot projects.

Also, make sure your employees are aware of and trained on agile methodology. 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.

2. Communicate your organization’s goals in implementing EAP

Make sure that these goals are shared with managers, individual contributors, and even the executive leadership team. Adoption and alignment are critical to the success of any EAP journey.

3. Identify the best tool to track and measure EAP

Use this tool cross-functionally to define, create, and manage projects. One of the main reasons enterprise agile frameworks fail is disconnected tools. By having a single EAP tool like Apptio Targetprocess that easily analyzes and shifts resources—and also conveys the financial implications of these changes—organizations can innovate faster and are more likely to collaborate.

A good EAP tool will allow IT financial management leaders to answer questions such as:

  • How does the shift in agile work plans impact team capacity?
  • How does shelving or delaying specific initiatives affect my balance sheet?
  • What do these proposed changes mean for CapEx and OpEx based on the new mix of work being undertaken?
  • What are the variances between new proposed scenarios and previously established baselines?
  • How does this affect labor capacity and labor capitalization across my division?
  • How will I re-balance the plan to support them?

4. Calculate agile capacity for the team and each team member supporting specific projects

It’s important to be realistic. EAP tools ensure the accuracy of this planning to better manage workload at a team and individual level.

5. Prioritize and prepare

Rank the initiatives and high-level work based upon the business value and ensure the IT foundation and resources are in place to achieve the desired outcomes. Determine a plan to support and incorporate updates from laggards using a waterfall or hybrid methodology.

6. Monitor progress

Once the transition has kicked off, ensure the release train engineer is keeping a careful watch to remove impediments and empower team members to deliver on business outcomes. Review insights in real time using the EAP tool and share the updated timeline across the team.

7. Create a continuous EAP feedback loop

Once multiple software deliveries have been implemented, successful organizations take the time to show the financial value of a well-managed work management process to their board, shareholders, and other project stakeholders. Make note of areas that could be streamlined in the future or ways for the organization to optimize time and resources for the future.

A tool for accelerating your enterprise’s agile transformation

Rebalancing a portfolio in favor of grow initiatives (perhaps at the expense of run or protect) has been a difficult exercise. Long feedback loops and disconnected budget cycles can leave organizations in a lurch. The right EAP tool can give you the timely information you need to transition successfully.

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. Apptio Targetprocess integrates with ApptioOne, 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. Learn more and sign up for a free trial today.

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