Can we apply Agile ideas to the definition and execution of Strategy for our businesses? Trent Hone, award winning Naval historian, Karl Scotland, Agile Strategy pioneer, and Henri Mårtensson, long time author on the topic of business strategy got together to discuss just that.
Karl starts this episode by describing how he discovered the need to bring Agile to the level of strategic decision making. He tells the story of a team that was, by all measures, successful. They were delivering software, they were achieving their technology goals, but the business was not booming. What was wrong? This was the start of a long journey for Karl. During that journey, he discovered that there were a lot more topics that required an Agile approach. Not the least of which Strategy. Which had to become Agile Strategy.
From Strategy to Business
In the end, the Agile Strategy is nothing more than everything that is required to make the business Agile. We discuss what that means, what are the problems it tries to tackle, and the aspects required from businesses that want to be Agile.
We also discuss the characteristics of strategy, and how we can think of Agile as an enabler to business success.
The Agile Strategy framework: TASTE
In a changing business, we need to have a common and shared language about the ways of working, and the ways of defining strategy. Karl’s approach goes by the acronym of TASTE and tackles the aspects that he sees as being critical to the application of Agile at the business level. In this article, Karl describes those 5 aspects in more detail.
Putting Agile Strategy into practice with simple tools: The X-Matrix by Karl Scotland
How do we help organizations orient towards and Agile Strategy? We help them put it in practice with simple tools. And Karl has some good tools to share with us. He starts with the X-Matrix, a tool to help visualize the TASTE aspects in one page. He then suggests a book to help us understand better what Agile Strategy is about: The Art of Action by Stephen Bungay. And we also discuss the implications that Agile Strategy has on leadership. We refer back to the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast interview with David Marquet, where we discuss that topic in depth and introduce the Lean Practice of Catchball, a key practice in the deployment of Strategy for Lean organizations. And Karl generously shares with us the templates he has created to support the Agile Strategy work in his clients.
More references and places to look for inspiration
There are many other sources of information and inspiration for those that are helping their businesses become more agile. In this episode, we refer to:
- The book by Pascal Dennis: Getting the right things done, a leader’s guide to planning and execution.
- Karl Scotland’s website and blog where he publishes many of his ideas about Agile Strategy
- Turn the ship around!, a book by David Marquet where he explains how a new style of leadership can enable organizational agility.
Now it is your turn! How are you planning to make your business agile? Leave a comment below!
About Karl Scotland
Over the last 15 years, he’s been an advocate of Lean and Agile approaches to achieve this, working with companies including the BBC, Yahoo!, EMC Consulting, Rally Software, Cisco, and SDL. During this time, he was a pioneer of using Kanban Systems and Strategy Deployment for product development, a founding member of both the Lean Systems Society and Limited WIP Society, as well as being active in the community and a regular conference speaker. He has been awarded the honorary Brickell Key Community Contribution Award at the 2013 Lean Kanban North America conference.
You can link with Karl Scotland on LinkedIn and connect with Karl Scotland on Twitter.