Articulating the Why

At my current engagement, I’ve been working with my client to articulate the “Why Agile” message. I figured it’s worth sharing with the community my thoughts and discoveries, so I put together this brief article. I hope it can be helpful. The below is a mostly complete “elevator pitch” that the agile transformation team is adopting. This follows a “Why – How – What” format. In Simon Sinek terms, “people buy why you do something …”

Why Agile?

We live in an increasingly competitive landscape where customers’ expectations are rising, where agility thinking is imperative. Through Agile Culture shift:

  • We are enabling all team members to own and improve the product delivery cycle.
  • We are creating an environment and culture where we may respond quickly to changing business needs and customer desires.
  • We are providing a platform to facilitate design thinking: the synthesis of ideas and the creation of new knowledge through intimate collaboration, which is key to success in the innovation economy we live in today.

What’s the Vision?

Your vision will differ from ours, but in the simplest terms:

Together we can be the most innovative company recognized for delivering the highest value to its customers every day.

What Goals Will Help Us Achieve That Vision?

We will achieve the vision through a few key measures.

TypeMeasureIndications
Data-Driven MeasuresImproving initial team quality (e.g., performance, outcomes) through XP practicesMeasures how many defects escape the delivery lifecycle
Points to improving the delivery engine
Reducing failure demand (i.e., improving product quality) through better Product Owner practicesMeasures defects found outside of the delivery cycle (missed requirements, product defects)
Points to creating alignment and clarity of roles, product priorities and product delivery process improvements
Reducing product delivery cycle time for each team (i.e., improving system quality) through better Management practicesMeasures the end-to-end product feature lifecycle
Points to improving the entire value stream of delivery from ideation to customer consumption all along the customer journey
Product-Driven MeasuresWelcoming InnovationNumber of ideas turned into innovation experiments by employees
Number of new ideas we deliver to market (time-to-market)
Points to creating a culture of delighting customers
Points to our ability to respond to market conditions
People-Driven MeasuresPeople own their destiny and therefore are excited to be hereMeasure team health using a 360 review process and the Team Performance Model
Points to engaging our people in owning the system and creating opportunities to improve the delivery system based on feedback from our people

Now Ask Yourself…

If you find yourself in a position where these measures are meaningful to you and could benefit your organization, the question isn’t “Why Agile?” The question becomes “Why Not Agile?” Personally, I can’t think of a compelling reason.