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Evolving Alignment Across Multiple Agile Teams


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Agile principles emphasize empowered, self-organizing teams but provide little guidance in how create alignment across multiple agile teams. In this presentation, Ilio Krumins-Beens shares experiences gained trying to improve strategic and operational alignment with more than 10 agile teams. Includes recommendations on running experiments with different ways of sharing teams’ roadmaps, identifying dependencies, risks, synergies and achieving operational alignment.

Originally presented in 4/29 Agile / Lean Practitioners Meetup ( in NYC on 4/29.

Published in: Technology, Business
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Evolving Alignment Across Multiple Agile Teams

  1. 1. Evolving Alignment Across Multiple Agile Teams Ilio Krumins-Beens
  2. 2. 2 Question - Quick Poll • How many agile or SW teams do you have in your organization? • What does “Alignment Across Teams” mean to you?
  3. 3. “The most empowering condition of all is when the entire organization is aligned with its mission, and people’s passions and purpose are in synch with each other.” ― Bill George* - Former CEO of Medtronic and co-author Authentic Leadership * Medtronic’s market cap grew from $1.1 billion to $60 billion during Bill George’s tenure.
  4. 4. Photographer: Alejandro Hernandez There is no one-size fits all approach to improving alignment across all organizations… but you can: Understand your Context. Run Experiments. Analyze Result. Tweak. Repeat.
  5. 5. Improving Alignment Within an Organization Depends on • Company’s Culture • Size of Organization • Business Context • Maturity / Number of Products
  6. 6. Our Experiments with Alignment Given Our Specific Organizational and Cultural Context
  7. 7. A Bit About KTP • Established in 1938 • Prepare students for more than 90 Standardized Tests • 12 – 15 Agile teams support multiple lines of business • Moved to Agile in August 2011
  8. 8. Structured Approaches To encourage alignment
  9. 9. Photographer: Michael Salerno Roadmap of Roadmaps Meeting • Product Owners, Tech Leads & Senior Execs • Emphasis on next 90 days • Identify inter-team dependencies, risks, and synergies • Requires progressive elaboration
  10. 10. Participants involved in designing changes to these meetings. Goal is to make these meetings as lean as possible.
  11. 11. Teams    Timeline   Participants Add Questions, Risks, or Identify Potential Synergies Product Owner or Tech Lead Presents Major Releases
  12. 12. Roadmap Templates -> Should Focus on Measurable Outcomes over Output (Features)
  13. 13. Roadmap meetings became mechanism for more broadly sharing each team’s plan for next 90 days.
  14. 14. Recorded Roadmap Presentations available to entire company
  15. 15. Roadmap of Roadmaps MOVED TO A 1.5 HOUR WORKING SESSION Active Participation Strict Time Boxes
  16. 16. Inter-team DependenciesFOCUSED ON DEPENDENCIES BETWEEN TEAMS RequestingTeams    Responding Teams    Proactively Identify inter-team dependencies
  17. 17. Informal communication channels eventually replaced quarterly roadmap meetings. This is a good outcome.
  18. 18. Looking Back Worked Well • Less Process through Experimentations • Eliminate / Reduce Formal Approaches in favor of informal communications • 90% + Favorability Improvement Opportunities • Roadmaps got outdated very quickly • Identified but didn’t act on potential synergies • Meeting tried to serve too many purposes
  19. 19. Emerging Pattern Initiate support mechanism to solve specific challenge Experiment to make as lean as possible Informal communication dramatically reduces need for support mechanism
  21. 21. SCRUM OF SCRUMS Photographer: Philippe Heckel OF
  22. 22. Changes Over Time •Initially 3 times per week for an Hour •Then 2 times per week for ½ an Hour • Now 1 per week for 15 Min
  24. 24. Changes Over Time • First Quarter, 80% of time • 2nd Quarter, 25% of time • No longer needed - Eliminated
  25. 25. Scrum Master Milk & Cookies Photographer: Dayland Shannon
  26. 26. Changes Over Time • Initiated during Agile Transition • Helped new scrum masters understand and grow into role • Ended after 6 months.
  27. 27. Roadmap of Roadmaps INFORMAL KNOWLEDGE SHARING / INNOVATION OPPORTUNITIES Enable Cross-Pollination
  29. 29. Innovation Time
  30. 30. ENABLE PRIDE IN WORK Lunch and Learn Events
  31. 31. Roadmap of Roadmaps ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS Not mine originally, but resonates with me.
  32. 32. PURPOSE guides PROCESS that enables PEOPLE who make PRODUCTS…. Adapted from: UnderCurrent, Responsive OS
  33. 33. “The best managers figure out how to get great outcomes by setting the appropriate context, rather than by trying to control their people.” ―Reed Hastings Source: Netflix Culture Deck v. 2 slide 80, August 1, 2009
  34. 34. Adapted from Henrik Kniberg, Spotify – The Unproject culture May 21, 2013 AlignmentAutonomy
  35. 35. Adapted from Henrik Kniberg, Spotify – The Unproject culture May 21, 2013 AlignmentAutonomy
  36. 36. Roadmap of Roadmaps CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
  37. 37. Trust your Teams to Play Well Together Photographer: Patrick Adwriter
  38. 38. Emphasize Informal Interactions over Formal Processes Photographer: View Minder
  39. 39. Photographer: Alejandro Hernandez Continuously Experiment and Tweak with Emphasis on Lightest-Weight Solution
  40. 40. Evolving Alignment Across Multiple Agile Teams Ilio Krumins-Beens @ilio_kb