While business agility and efficiency is still a critical goal of most organizations, many are hamstrung by legacy organizational structure and management practices. 

So how can organizations continue to evolve and deliver better agility and efficiency?

In a recent conversation, agile experts Sanjiv Augustine, CEO of LitheSpeed, and Jeff Payne, CEO of Coveros, discussed new ways of thinking about agile in the context of business. 

They dove deep into how a focus on value can drive agility, create new organizational structures, and improve efficiencies throughout your organization. 

Below are some highlights of the conversation. Watch the full video here.

When it comes to ensuring the future of agile, we must get back to the basics.

How do we ensure that the agile community continues to improve and thrive? Sanjiv suggests an important approach is one outlined by Jim Highsmith, one of the original signatories of the Agile Manifesto: back to the basics and forward to the future. 

As Sanjiv says: “Everything that we need is in that foundational framework. If we understand what that foundational framework truly is – that it’s a method to deliver value to customers. That we can use lean thinking to interpret the agile basics and apply them in a context-sensitive way, always focusing on our customers and always delivering rapidly and always improving from there. That’s the back to basics part of agile.”

Sanjiv sees the emergence of AI as a great example of how to work forward to the future. “Given our foundation, given our baseline of agile basics,” Sanjiv says, “how can we adapt to these things – because that’s what agility is about: quickness, nimbleness, and speed – and then integrate these techniques? Today it’s AI. Tomorrow, who knows what it will be?”

To drive agility, organizations should look to shift from a project management to a value management model. 

Sanjiv’s new book with Roland Cuellar and Audrey Scheer is called “From PMO to VMO: Managing for Value Delivery.” In it, Sanjiv argues for the need to focus on value as a means to drive agility. One concrete way to do that is to transform project management offices into value management offices.

That means focusing on the five types of value: 

  1. Customer Value: Does our product or service deliver value to the customer?
  2. Commercial Value: Are we making money from this?
  3. Efficiency Value: How will what we’re doing save us time or money in the future?
  4. Future Value: What can we do today to generate a long-tail product value?
  5. Market Value: Will this increase the size of our customer base or increase our market share?

As Sanjiv says, “What we’re essentially saying is we need to move from a program management or project management office to a value management office and manage all of these things proactively and in a disciplined way.”

Building value stream-aligned teams is a key way to accelerate the agility of your organization. 

With the average organization having 9 different siloes and each of those siloes having their own management structure, Sanjiv says moving to a more agile framework means accelerating decision making across and within each silo. 

“What we have to do now is put together value stream-aligned teams.” Sanjiv says “In lean there’s a great technique called value stream mapping. We can align those to our customer journeys and say ‘Well, our customers go from step to step to step and we need to bring our teams together so that those teams are tracking and delivering and are getting that flow of product or that flow of service going. Now we have a stream-aligned team or team of teams.”

Sanjiv and Jeff also went deep into how to actually implement a VMO approach, what it could mean for leadership, and what it also means for budgets. 
Watch the full conversation here.

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