Agile Introduction Success Criteria through the LeSS Lens

2018 04 02 head

An agile organization is able to deliver or change her direction at any time without additional cost.

More companies want to become truly agile and book an expensive journey to the holy land of agility. Often travelers never reach their true destination.

The LeSS people have a clear set of conditions to increase the odds.

All my experiences confirm these conditions are essential for success.

LeSS Criteria

Use these criteria as a checklist to evaluate your current agile transformation.

  • Educate everyone

    • Train all involved collaborators extensively, train them multiple times.

    • Let them apply the learnt to their daily activities.

    • Select an experienced coach understanding organization, team, and technical excellence.

    • Plan for a long-term engagement of the coach. The journey will take years. *Define your “product”

    • You need an elevator pitch describing your product family and why the customers are buying.

    • Identify your vision, your roadmap for the next three years, your releases for the next 12 months, and product backlog and boundaries of your product.

  • Define “done” with a written and published Definition of Done

    • Definition of done tells when your work is completed.

    • A strong definition of done supports organizational changes, see the LeSS metaphor of the Undone Department.

    • Check the team can implement the current definition of done or expand cross-functionality and training.

  • Have appropriately structured teams

    • A team is stable, long-lived, collocated, cross-functional and implement end to end features for the solution. Avoid component teams specialized for the database, user interface or communication layer.

  • Team members are dedicated to the team. They do not work in other projects and do not report to a matrix structure.

  • Only the Product Owner provides work for the teams.

    • The team is dedicated to implementing the best solutions as defined by the product owner. No side activities are tolerated.

  • Keep product managers away from the teams.

    • Project managers are not needed in an agile organization.

    • We realize and sell products, projects are irrelevant.

    • Nurture good managers to sustain the transformation.

Further Reading Read the LeSS Rules for ideas and wisdom about how to improve your approach to agile product development.

As you found out now, I am convinced that LeSS approach is one of the best ways to truly transform into an agile organization. And less truly and deeply advocate technical excellence for all collaborators. You need an agile mindset and technical excellence to develop awesome products. See Software Craftsmanship blog.

A huge advantage of LeSS is that it is Scrum. You do not need to learn new methodologies, terminology or processes. Apply all your hard-earned learnings from your Scrum transformation.