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Enterprise Scrum and how it supports Business Agility

Currently, within the corporate universe, agility in business has become a key factor in maintaining a good position in the market. A company without innovation and quick answers to the market in constant evolution is bound to lose competitiveness and in extreme cases bankruptcy in a short time.

The success of a company is closely related to what kind of relationship it maintains with its interlocutors in a highly competitive market. Business agility is indispensable today to promote long life to a brand in the market.

Recognising the need for change is vital to sustained business performance, but having the ability to change at the right time and achieve the desired results is more valuable. More so in the current climate, where every day see new technological products launched.

Agile businesses need to be concerned not only with information technology issues but also with aspects related to governance, dissemination of knowledge, infrastructure elasticity and everything else, that is, we must involve everything that is important in a simultaneous but organised way. That is why there is a need to have a flexible and broad framework to meet the new Business Agility model.

Within this context emerges Enterprise Scrum, a generic framework, based on the Agile fundamentals that originated from traditional Scrum, but with a much broader range of parameters, adaptability and flexibility for companies in any area of activity.

Origin of Enterprise Scrum

The root of Enterprise Scrum merges with the ideals of Business Agile that began with the Agile Consortium and the publication of “21st Century Manufacturing Enterprise Strategy” in 1991.

Scrum was first formulated by Jeff Sutherland, in 1993, in part based on the work of Nonaka and Takeuchi as shown in “The New New Product Development Game”. In 1995, Ken Schwaber and Jeff made the first co-presentation of Scrum at the OOPSLA conference. This presentation mostly documented the learning that Ken and Jeff had had over the previous years in the application of Scrum.

Enterprise Scrum is a broader and more generic framework, which can be parameterized and applied in different ways. Considered a generalisation of Scrum with the application of the same concepts in a more general way and many parameterizations are available.

Agility in Business

The world is becoming increasingly dynamic. Competition increases, audiences change, and economic crises erupt overnight. Technology also has its part in this – a new invention can revolutionise an entire market in the blink of an eye. In the face of this environment of uncertainty and impermanence, business agility is no longer a differentiator, but a prerequisite for a company to survive.

However, what, after all, defines a business as Agile? One of the factors is the speed with which it anticipates and adapts to new trends.
Moreover, for that to happen, it is critical that the organisation create a culture of agility from top to bottom.

It is not just managers who need to know where the business is going and what new assumptions are appropriate – they need to be able to communicate this with other employees efficiently and with as little noise as possible.

An Agile company has professionals who know their mission and goals like the back of their hands. For them to strive for the goals, they need to identify with them and to take on greater responsibilities and risks as part of that process.

In 2012, the Project Management Institute (PMI), the world’s largest association for project management professionals, released the study Pulse of the Profession Detailed Report: Organizational Agility. The document talks about the importance of organisational agility to overcome a moment of turbulence and volatility in the global market.

The researchers observed that the interviewees (more than a thousand project, program and portfolio managers) defined the concept of organisational agility as:

  • Rapid response to strategic opportunities
  • Shorter decision, production and review cycles
  • Focus on change management
  • Customer voice integration
  • Focus on risk management
  • Interdisciplinary project teams
  • Elimination of fiefs in the organisation
  • Contingency Planning
  • Use of iterative project management practices
  • Leverage technology.

How Enterprise Scrum Supports Business Agility

Enterprise Scrum helps us explore and develop ideas, products, and solutions. More satisfied customers, transparency, focus, and responsiveness are among the main benefits that can be expected.

It is important to consider that although Agile and Scrum methods are seen only as applicable to software, they can and should be used throughout the organisation. Because of this, we see the strength that Enterprise Scrum can exert within this business context. This power means that Agile should be considered the fundamental principle of the executive group and the departments outside of IT. An Agile organisation changes its way of acting, in contrast to the organisational models of industrial society, based on the paradigm of stability, slow changes, and an entrenched command-and-control hierarchical management model.

Some good practices in Business Agility are directly related to planning and execution activities and parameters in Enterprise Scrum, and this shows how much the techniques and parameters of the Enterprise Scrum framework can increase company’s’ ability to adapt to changes faster.

In the list below, we can see some relevant points in business agility and your direct relationship with Enterprise Scrum.

  • Plans and Forecasts: Instead of elaborate annual planning processes adopt a smaller planning process that is more agile and flexible. In Enterprise Scrum when planning is needed it should be done in a short time interval so that the results are continuously updated and visualised, besides the possibility of a greater adaptation to changes in priorities, making the process more flexible and with less risk to the business.
  • One Test at a Time: Many new ideas undergoing tests at the same time can lead to a chaotic lack of focus and clarity as to what is driving success. The only way to accurately test whether an idea is feasible is to approach it separately. Simplifying things is the key word in this case, and Enterprise Scrum strengthens this process.
  • Key Revenue Metrics: Revenue is the key metric we recognise in an Agile business model. However, Agile behaviours are also critical and should be measured, since the goal is to deliver more value to the firm and in the shortest time possible with the involvement of every team, balancing the opportunities for customers, employees, stakeholders and also the environment.
  • Test New Offers: Do not insist on perfection with new offers. From the beginning, gradually improve them over time. What matters here is the continuous and gradual improvement inherent in Enterprise Scrum.

Being Agile for a company is a transformational change and a revolution in concepts. This journey implies pursuing and providing positive experiences and continuous innovation. So being Agile is not just implementing a methodology, but making a meaningful cultural change. Being Agile in business is not an option but a necessity. The Enterprise Scrum framework can help your organisation to achieve the results in the fastest way, but the more important thing is the cultural change that it provides.

All that said don’t forget the Agile Manifesto: Individuals and interactions remain more valuable than the processes and tools used.

To find out more about Enterprise Scrum and how to implement this in your organisation consider attending the Certified Business Agility Coach (CBAC) course. If you’d like to talk to an experienced coach about supporting your implementation then contact us.