Agility Path: Validated Learning?

Last post 09:29 am September 26, 2013
by Ian Mitchell
09:29 am September 26, 2013

Hi all

Agility Path features a backlog of practices. How this is composed and used, and where product ownership resides (CxO level?) is unclear to me. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to assume that the backlog must be ordered and actioned by a senior stakeholder as part of an organizational transformation.

Agility Path stresses the importance of metrics which can be used to ascertain progress. What we don't seem to have is the ability to correlate measures to actions in such a way that lessons can be learned. That information would allow the backlog to be re-ordered or revised. Perhaps Agility Path is very prescriptive about such things, and a consultant owns the backlog and says what goes on it. I don't have the impression that this is the case though.

Now, an organization undergoing an agile transformation is entrepreneurial...a bit like a Lean Startup. The people don't have earlier experience in such matters to guide them. They are learning as they go along. In Lean Startup, this process is called "validated learning", and it is considered to be even more important than a revenue stream (since this can be misleading). These lessons are based on the testing of certain hypotheses...e.g. do customers like a new feature, or don't they? One way to learn might be to do a split test, whereby half of your customers get the feature and the other don't. The metrics can then be compared and lessons learned.

So my question is: how and where does enterprise-level "validated learning" figure in Agility Path? Or to put it in Scrum terms: if product ownership is vested in the organization and its managers, how do they figure out how to populate and order their practice backlog?