The Agile MVP model serves as a template for the kind of Agile coaching and training work that I’ve most enjoyed doing. Most recently, I’ve been able to use it to deliver agile transformations successfully in an Agile way. In other words, create sustainable Agile cultural change by having people experience the journey in the most holistic Agile manner.
These are the five steps I use. As I mentioned before, the key to this model is that the steps happen in a time-boxed period and result in a visual deliverable that drives the cycle.
- Work Ideation — identify the nature of the work activity or process. What is our goal? What is value? Where do we want to be?
Sometimes clients have strategic plans or priorities or other artifacts that we can use. Or, I schedule a 2- hour workshop to visually capture the results. The outputs could be Lean Canvas, A3 template, or any kind of roadmap.
- Work Intake
The work intake process captures the reality and the context of a given environment — all the unplanned, ad-hoc work as well as management and other operational activities.
Serves as a “reality check” to the vision represented in the Ideation step. Enables decisions to be made on actual data, not just planned work.
I’ve done this process in a variety of ways, but the most successful has been something we call the Agile Kaleidoscope. I adopted this technique from my partner-in-crime at the US Courts, Roland Cuellar, and it became one of my favorites instantly.
3. Work Sequencing — another time boxed workshop to create either a process or activity map that answers the following questions:
- What does done mean? In other words, do we know what the output would be? Who makes the decision? Proof of concept or final, polished output?
- How do we approach our work? How do we make decisions on what to do next?
- Do we have a plan for how we do things? Standardized work, for example
Basically, determine how to chunk the work to obtain early and frequent value delivery. Identify definition of done for overall deliverable as well as incremental deliveries, so that high-value, high-risk work items can be done first.
Value Stream Mapping is one useful visualization process/output to help with work sequencing; but remember to tailor the level of effort to the value provided by the process.
- Work Delivery — this is where most current Agile efforts happen. The goal is to get end product done and verified (tested) in small batches within time-boxed periods.
Use visual representation of work to monitor progress and issues, most often a Kanban board or task board to represent current work and its status serves the purpose.
- Work Validation
Finally, the inspect and adapt step that is standard in all Agile frameworks. Use frequent demonstrations and retrospectives to improve transparency and to drive continuous improvement. Should validate that what we’re delivering is value to our customer as verify that our process is effective. Again, capture the result of each work validation cycle in a visual format that feeds back into the ideation step.