It’s All About Value Streams: An Important Update to the Business Agility Article
Business Agility is exhibited whenever an enterprise can quickly respond to an emergent business opportunity. In our latest update to the Business Agility article, we explicitly outlined the anatomy of this response. “Responding” is not a simple act; it consists of multiple steps that have to be executed in a fast and effective manner. Sound familiar? We are of course talking about a major value stream—in this case, the higher-level Business Agility Value Stream—a set of steps from recognizing an opportunity to delivering and measuring value, as the figure illustrates.
However, this isn’t the first instance where the ‘Business Agility Value Stream’ (BAVS) has been introduced in SAFe. Earlier this year, we published a critical update to SAFe metrics, and the BAVS served as an organizing paradigm for organizational measures. It turns out that being explicit about the structure of the response to a business opportunity helps change leaders and practitioners better understand what business agility entails and how to enable it.
The BAVS is a special value stream in SAFe, in that each BAVS usually impacts one or more development value streams and the operational value streams that are needed to leverage a particular business opportunity. It is a lens that filters out everything else and highlights what’s needed to deliver within a given opportunity window.
In addition to explicitly defining the actual workflow, the BAVS also sheds light on how SAFe core competencies enable business agility: the connection is inherent to the BAVS steps themselves. This helps in connecting specific improvement actions to the desired goal of enabling business agility. So, for example, without effective Lean Portfolio Management, it is hard to expect a consistent, flexible approach to funding new initiatives, and without that, the BAVS will grind to a halt. As seen in the metrics article, the measures that can be associated with it become the focal point of the organization’s improvement effort, the primary place where competitive advantage gets realized and translated into business outcomes.
SAFe is the Framework for business agility, and providing a more refined way of defining, improving, and measuring business agility is a necessary step in the Framework evolution. Enjoy reading the article, and don’t forget to share your thoughts!