Agility is about releasing value, but in some circles a misunderstanding of a ‘people-centric’ focus can unintentionally undermine that principle. Well-meaning leaders new to Agile are sometimes coached to put all their efforts into creature comforts for their people whilst forgetting the primary purpose of the firm – to relentlessly deliver value to their customers and clients.
Jay Rahman, Founder, Fractal Systems Consulting, stated: “A delivery focus isn’t at odds with people-centricity. People love delivering value – even more than creature comforts. Artists love to see their works on display, engineers love to see their creations used, doctors love to see patients healed and healthy. People love to contribute and love to add value to the world.
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“A leader’s job should be to eliminate the frictions and impediments that prevent their smart, ambitious and wonderful people from achieving the very thing they come to work to do. Deliver value.”
When taking on programme turnarounds or agile transformations, teams come in with one very simple intent: keep a client’s promises and partner with clients to do whatever it takes to achieve delivery.
“We call this extreme ownership, doing everything needed to get delivery out of the door. Delivery is really where value is released,” added Rahman. “The best way to gain trust is to add value by keeping your promises. To do the things you say you’re going to do, when you’ve promised to do them. And that is nothing but delivery.
Agile frameworks are all about getting things done, releasing value, early and often, getting that delivery out the door and into the hands of our customers.
Everything about Agile frameworks is about eliminating and overcoming any friction or challenge that prevents delivery from happening.
“Agile teams work to release value in every sprint. Only when you deliver can you learn from the release, from your customers’ feedback and from the market response. Only when you deliver can your customers realise, crystallise and enjoy the value received (or give us sharp feedback!). Similarly, failure to deliver causes you to examine our processes, unearth root causes and fix them,” continued Rahman.
But Agile frameworks are not an excuse to take on unrealistic commitments after all the Agile Manifesto has a basic principle of sustainable patterns of work.
Agile teams therefore need to be organised and structured for teams to deliver maximum collaboration, transparency, productivity and risk control.
Rahman concluded: “You have to create cultures where respect, openness, honesty, courage, servant leadership and trust feature strongly and persistently. Leaders must lead from the front, staying engaged, decentralising decision making, owning outcomes and helping at the right moment. Information must be made transparent and shared. Problems and challenges must be welcome so they may be resolved. Instead of a big bang approach, choose to deliver in smaller regular packages of value. And relentlessly plan, manage risk, maintain transparency, create situational awareness and solve problems on a regular cadence.”