What are you aligning around?

Alignment is critical for Agile. The more you have the more autonomy people can have. It’s what teamwork is really about. At the team level people align around the team’s backlog. But what do people align around at scale?

I like Don Reinertsen suggestion “There is more value created with overall alignment than with local excellence.”

All too many align around the framework itself. But they should be aligning around the objective of their framework- the quick realization of business value predictably, sustainably and with high quality. While frameworks are useful, they should be considered to be tools to get to our objectives.

So how do we align at scale? To determine that we must ask – “what are we investing in?” and “how do we best achieve that?” Many companies have already figured out the first question, but the answer is not well known to the dev teams. For example, a financial company may want to invest in:

  1. retaining assets
  2. improving customer experience
  3. lowering costs
  4. regulatory compliance
  5. improving internal systems

The answer to the 2nd question has 2 parts – “who are we achieving these values for? and what are our strategies from a portfolio view to do that?”

All of this needs to occur at the front of the value stream.

Al Shalloway

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