Spread Best Practices with an Agile Center of Excellence

Facilitate ongoing alignment between Agile teams and the business with a set of targeted service offerings.


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As Agile scales and environments get more complex, there is an inherent risk that:

  • Agile teams may adopt their own processes and tools without considering the effect on other teams or their alignment with business objectives.
  • Tribal knowledge will proliferate, with no way to protect the organization against knowledge leaving with the individuals.
  • Successful practices achieved by pilot teams will be lost.
  • The organization will lean toward rigid management and governance structures, hindering teams’ abilities to innovate and continuously improve.

Establishing an Agile center of excellence will:

  • Create effective mechanisms to not only spread best practices, but to absorb innovations from Agile teams back into the organization when deemed appropriate by the Center of Excellence (CoE).
  • Create an interface point between your business and your Agile teams, effectively managing alignment challenges as they arise to minimize impact on productivity.
  • Provide transparency to your business stakeholders, allowing them to build trust as they see what Agile is capable of.

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Module 1: Determine Vision of CoE

The Purpose

  • Create strategic alignment between the CoE and the organization’s goals, objectives, and vision.
  • Understand how your key stakeholders will impact the longevity of your CoE.
  • Determine your CoE structure and staff.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Top-down alignment with strategic aims of the organization.
  • A set of high-level use cases to form the CoE’s service offerings around.
  • Visualization of key stakeholders, with their current and desired power and involvement documented.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Identify and prioritize organizational business objectives.
  • Prioritized business objectives
1.2 Form use cases for the points of alignment between your Agile Center of Excellence (ACE) and business objectives.
  • Business-aligned use cases to form CoE’s service offerings
1.3 Prioritize your ACE stakeholders.
  • Stakeholder map of key influencers

Module 2: Define Service Offerings of CoE

The Purpose

  • Document the functional expectations of the Agile teams.
  • Refine your business-aligned use cases with your collected data to achieve both business and functional alignment.
  • Create a capability map that visualizes and prioritizes your key service offerings.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understanding of some of the identified concerns, pain points, and potential opportunities from your stakeholders.
  • Refined use cases that define the service offerings the CoE provides to its customers.
  • Prioritization for the creation of service offerings with a capability map.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Classified pains and opportunities.
  • Classified pains and opportunities
2.2 Refine your use cases to identify your ACE functions and services.
  • Refined use cases based on pains and opportunities identified during ACE requirements gathering
2.3 Visualize your ACE functions and service offerings with a capability map.
  • ACE Capability Map

Module 3: Define Engagement Plans

The Purpose

  • Align service offerings with an Agile adoption model so that teams have a structured way to build their skills.
  • Standardize the way your organization will interact with the Center of Excellence to ensure consistency in best practices.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Mechanisms put in place for continual improvement and personal development for your Agile teams.
  • Interaction with the CoE is standardized via engagement plans to ensure consistency in best practices and predictability for resourcing purposes.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Further categorize your use cases within the Agile adoption model.
  • Adoption-aligned service offerings
3.2 Create an engagement plan for each level of adoption.
  • Role-based engagement plans

Module 4: Define Metrics and Plan Communications

The Purpose

Develop a set of metrics for the CoE to monitor business-aligned outcomes with.

Key Benefits Achieved

The foundations of continuous improvement are established with a robust set of Agile metrics.

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Define metrics that align with your Agile business objectives.
  • Business objective-aligned metrics
4.2 Define target ACE performance metrics.
  • CoE performance metrics
4.3 Define Agile adoption metrics.
  • Agile adoption metrics
4.4 Assess the interaction and communication points of your Agile team.
  • Assessment of organizational design
4.5 Create a communication plan for change.
  • CoE communication plan
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