Strategy

Strategy (from Greek στρατηγία stratēgia) is a general plan to achieve one or more long-term goals under conditions of uncertainty. 

This is the detailed initiative usually undertaken by the senior leaders of the organisation, which takes into account the available resources, and considers the effects of the external and internal environment on their decisions.

While planning a strategy it is essential to consider that decisions are not taken in a vacuum and that any action taken is likely to be met by a reaction from those affected.

The objective of a strategy is to maximize an organisation’s strengths and to minimize the strengths of the competitors. Strategy, in short, bridges the gap between “where we are” and “where we want to be”.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, it is worth considering whether the existing strategy requires an update. It is also worth considering whether the overall number of strategic initiatives provide the intended focus for the organisation.

Pros

  • A clear strategy brings focus into the organisation.
  • A well planned and realistic strategy puts the right level of resources at the right place to ensure the desired impact.

Cons

  • Often organisations implement too many strategic initiatives concurrently, causing a major overload, which ultimately results in lack of focus.
  • While leaders may be experts at defining strategies, often they are less successful at transmitting it well into their organisation, or engaging their teams to actively contribute to the few key things that would move the organisation forward.

Recommended resources:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, Collins Jim, 2001, ISBN 978-0066620992

Scrum

Scrum is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value. It is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organisations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems. 

Scrum is simple.  It is the opposite of a big collection of interwoven mandatory components. Scrum is not a methodology. Scrum implements the scientific method of empiricism. Scrum replaces a programmed algorithmic approach with a heuristic one, with respect for people and self-organisation to deal with unpredictability and solving complex problems.  

The fundamental unit of Scrum is a small team of people, a Scrum Team. The Scrum Team consists of one Scrum Master, one Product Owner, and Developers. Within a Scrum Team, there are no sub-teams or hierarchies. It’s a cohesive unit of professionals focused on one objective at a time, the Product Goal.

From the perspective or organisational transformation, it is worth considering if your existing structures and culture will allow for the relatively low-governance approach required for this method to be applied effectively.

Pros

  • By involving customers, Scrum ensures the best results.
  • It is a lightweight and highly adaptable approach.
  • It is cost-effective and delivers fast results.

Cons

  • With no deadlines to deliver it can lead to scope creep and make budgeting difficult.
  • Requires a highly cohesive team culture and strong commitment from all team members.

Recommended resources:

Scrum.org

SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework®)

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is a set of organisational and workflow patterns for implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale. The framework is a body of knowledge that includes structured guidance on roles and responsibilities, how to plan and manage the work, and values to uphold. SAFe promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across large numbers of agile teams. As businesses grow in size, SAFe provides a structured approach for scaling agile.

Dean Leffingwell and Drew Jemilo released SAFe in 2011 to help organisations design better systems and software that better meet customers’ changing needs. At that time, teams used traditional project management processes  to deliver software. But as the need to rapidly respond to changing market conditions increased, new frameworks emerged to help businesses improve solution delivery across their enterprises, and SAFe was born. Today, SAFe is one of the most popular scaled agile delivery frameworks, and SAFe’s worldwide community of practitioners continue to evolve it.

From the perspective of organisational transformation, it is worthwhile considering whether the agile mindset is sufficiently developed in order to implement SAFe®. If yes, it can provide a customer centric framework that helps in offering both efficiency and stability served with a hint of innovation. 

Pros

  • Scalability at all levels of the organisation from project teams to executives.
  • Clear vision of program increment, cross-team dependencies and cultural sustainability.
  • Alignment of business and IT strategy with enterprise goals.

Cons

  • It can appear to have a more top-down approach due to the multiple layers of administration and coordination.
  • The framework is considered by some to be anti-agile as they view it as too complete to help an agile company culture thrive.

Recommended resources:

Scaled Agile®

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