The Strategic Leadership Room

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This is the seventh post in the November Agile Leadership and Management Series.

The Strategic Leadership Room visualizes what we are doing in the organization, what we think we should be doing, and how things are going. It is a great way to enable a shared understanding and make strategic decisions together on what is needed, and when it is needed.

The Agile Leadership Team needs to facilitate this and invite the right people to make well-informed decisions. When the executives are invited to see what is going on with updates from the teams on both impediments, speed of flow, quality, how the teams are doing – and how the customer experience is, how the delivery of value is going and how the investments are going, they can support new strategic decisions if needed.

Many times when an organization has started up Agile teams in one or several parts of the organization, the Executives feel they have no real insight into what is going on. This is a great way to address that problem and connect the strategic leadership with the teams, giving transparency on what is happening, and also giving great support to the teams to increase flow.

This enables some key patterns for successful Agile Transformations

Expanding the Diamond

To enable strategic initiatives and tactical decisions that give results there is a need to increase the area of contact between leaders on the strategic level and employees that work close to the products and customers.

Distributed Decision Making

Enable and encourage decision-making where it could be made the quickest and, with the most current relevant information. With a clear WHY, the organization will achieve flexibility, speed, and quality when the decision-making is distributed to the right level for the WHAT and HOW. Distributed decision-making increases the success rate of deliveries by 40%.

Management by Outcome

Leading in the complex domain requires a new form of leadership. Clear, agreed, and shared outcomes mobilize the brainpower of the team. OKR’s, outcomes and missions are common examples of how to manage an agile organization.

Minimum Viable Bureaucracy

Simplify administration and speed up processes. Enable employees to make quick tactical decisions. Decreasing the time to make decisions is the most important factor in increasing the success rate of projects. Less than 1 hour = 58% success rate More than 5 hours = 18% success rate Quick decisions increase the success rate of deliveries by 40%.

Optimize for Flow

Optimizing for flow of deliverables means creating some slack instead of making sure everybody is busy all the time. This may be counter-intuitive but it leads to quicker deliveries and it creates a more sustainable pace for employees.

Impediments Removal

Structured and visual flow of impediments to the level where they will be handled with clear ownership. Mandate to handle impediments should be pushed down as far as possible. Impediment removal flow is vital to flow of product deliverables.

Scaling the Agile Leadership Room

In a team-based organization, it is quite easy to scale what is working well. So before you scale your Strategic Leadership Room try it out for a while on a smaller scale and experiment as much as you can to find out what helps your leadership team to support the organization in the best way possible. Once you have learned that you can scale it so that you have the same visuals and KPIs from the teams and up to the next level above.  If other parts of the organization would like to try too, they can use your good practices, but they might also adapt it for their needs, depending on if you need coherence for the executive team or some things or not.


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The next post in the November Agile Leadership and Management Series: “The Fica Canvas – Decision-making made easy”


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