How does the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) connect to Revenue Growth Management? Have you ever needed to connect your data teams with your platform and analytics teams – locally, regionally, and globally? SAFe offers one of the most effective ways to proceed if the different teams are organized into an Agile delivery engine. RGM teams require strong organizational backing especially around Data, Analytics, and Infrastructure implementation. We understand that’s a huge task and hope this will shed some light on your path forward.
The D&A Transformation Challenge
Within a fast-paced, invariably evolving business environment (the new norm), the only constant is DATA. Organizations realizing this early enough stay competitive by aligning to a data-enabled and insight-driven decision-making process. They fulfill the demand for impactful insights through Data & Analytics (D&A) organizations applying Agile.
Seems straightforward, right? But! There’s always a but… Technology advancements and increased volatility in recent years have resulted in additional challenges. We’ve seen exponential growth of data available for analysis paired with skyrocketing demand for insights. But also, expectations are for those insights to be delivered within a dramatically decreased timeframe.
Does this sound familiar to your D&A organization? Have you tried to scale your D&A agile teams to live up to this challenge? We’ve faced such challenges working with our customers and have helped solve them.
The Scaled Agile Challenge
Let’s start with stating the obvious, implementing agile at the individual team level is relatively easy. The benefits are clear and the resources are plenty. But, Scaled Agile transformations are very difficult:
- Four out of five companies declare culture/mindset as the biggest challenge to scaling Agile.
- Business objectives are not aligned with change for more than half of them.
- Half of their senior leaders resort to the old ways of doing things.
Companies often decide on remedies after the house is already on fire. However, proactive leadership is what catches problems early, nipping them in the bud before they create an emergency. Properly nurtured leadership can help you overcome the most challenging and, arguably, most important organizational need – securing buy-in from executives, managers, and other leaders.
Before we jump into the benefits of scaling Agile in D&A organizations, let’s first deal with some common myths. If they’re not stated upfront, these myths usually cause a hiccup in getting the right traction for scale.
- Agile will solve all Data problems. Nope. Pouring contaminated water into a new glass doesn’t make it drinkable.
- Agile means no architecture and no project management. Nope. Even chaos has its theory and has structure. Agile is not anarchy.
- Agile = DevOps. Nope. DevOps is an agile tool and mindset to achieve technical agility.
Worth the Effort?
So, is it worth it to scale agile in D&A organizations? If your business wants to better identify or anticipate changing conditions, evolving priorities, strive for adaptability, and make innovation an integral part of doing business, then yes, it’s definitely worth it! Improving collaboration and organizational ability to execute its strategy helps decentralize the decision-making process, creates greater transparency and alignment around work, and increases speed to market.
We’ve already answered why scaling agile is a worthy strategy for D&A organizations. Now, it’s time to define the first step in scaling. It’s always the most difficult one. We’ve learned working with our customers in establishing several analytics factories that where and how you start makes a big difference.
Organize Around Value
Once you’re done with the above – you’ll find these six additional guidelines helpful:
- Don’t look for the needle in the haystack. Move the needle (and build momentum) through pilots.
- Focus on problems looking for solutions, not the opposite! Avoid the mindset of “what can we use our DL for?”, or “Where can we apply AI?”
- Solve problems worth solving! Collaborate with your customers to define their needs.
- Define data needs (and ownership) through business value drivers.
- Nurture cross-functional collaboration. Well organized, diverse organizations deliver better results!
There are many frameworks that can be applied to scale agile. However, in our experience, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) can be considered as the world’s leader for achieving enterprise agility. It is a knowledge base of proven, integrated principles, practices, and competencies for Lean, Agile, and DataOps. SAFe is a perfect fit for Enterprise Data & Analytics programs of any size.
Recent SAFe 5 updates focus upon, among other things, Organizing around Value. It provides broader guidance for applying Lean-Agile practices to business domains as well as prescriptions for Integrated Participatory Budgeting. SAFe 5 makes it almost a no-brainer for D&A organizations to sign up for the scaling journey.
Finding a Custom-Fit for Your Organization
Regardless of whether you plan to use a framework or which one you choose, you can freely adapt the following principles for your organization.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach in scaling Agile. Practicing Agile ≠ being Agile. Every organization must find its own way. Changing and evolving the organization’s mindset is not easy, so don’t hesitate to ask for help instead of reinventing the wheel. We support and enable organizational transition working hand-in-hand with the teams to commence the “Doing the Needful” approach that makes Agile scalable.
For some customers, we play a specialized role like Product Owner or Scrum Master. For others, we ensure architectural oversight across teams to align technical design with business vision. All of the above is always driven by one overarching principle – unleash Value delivery potential at a scaled pace.
Are you seeking to drive transformation through a Revenue Growth Management Center of Excellence or with Data & Analytics? If so, please drop us a line, we’d love to help you conquer this challenge!