July 21, 2021

Professionalism, Leadership and EBM

Professionalism in Leadership

In his post on May 6 2021 Dave West described professionalism within Scrum to focus on four aspects: Values, Customer Outcomes, Discipline and helping others be more professional. The differentiation that Dave brings in is the emphasis on Values first, to create a space where transparency through trust and openness is the default. The second item Customer Outcomes is key – the focus on delivering a Done increment to determine whether we are delivering value. The third aspect Discipline is essential so that we not only look at what is created (Inspection)– we make the changes (adaptations) to be more effective in delivery.

Within the agile context, when a leader lives the empirical approach, it inspires everyone to act in the same way.

To build the transparency, we need to make it very clear what the links are between the organisational and product goals, and the measures that will be used. These measures will reinforce the focus on the goals, and encourage the right behaviours in people.

Tell me how you measure me, and I will tell you how I will behave.

Eliyahu M. Goldratt

 Evidence Based Management

The purpose of Evidence Based Management (EBM) framework from Scrum.Org is to help organisations continuously improve how they deliver better customer outcomes in an environment of constant change. The framework uses the links between the three elements to enable the navigation of a complex world.

EBM Goal Measures Behaviours

Goals

The EBM framework invites you to explore how your goals are support by your measures to encourage the appropriate supporting behaviours.

The goals are described at three levels:

  • Strategic Goal – An aspirational goal that is big and will take time (years not months) and effort to achieve. The path to this goal is uncertain. This will be managed by smaller goals.
  • Intermediate Goal – A waypoint on the path to the Strategic goal. This is in the range of months not weeks.
  • Tactical Goal – A waypoint to the Intermediate goal. This is in the range of weeks – maybe one or two Sprints.

As a Leader, regular consistent communication of these goals is critical. There should be few enough of these goals to allow your teams to focus. In all organisations the desire to achieve a lot by potentially having too many goals, may leave your teams confused. This often results in less actually being done.

The Evidence based approach means that all of these goals can be updated (adapted) based on feedback and learning. Each learning cycle is based on hypothesis

Measures

To enable objective review of your situation, measures are key to describing your situation. The EBM Model uses four Key Value Areas (KVA) to focus on how your organisation is delivering value.

EBM Key Value Areas

For each measure that you chose to use, as an organisation you agree which KVA it supports. The measures you choose need to reflect your organisational context. The emphasis is that if you are going to measure it, you need to do something with the data.

Why the measures matter

The measures need to support the defined goals, and the way that you want the teams to work towards it.

When the measures encourage the teams to work in a way that delivers the goals, then it presents a coherent message across the organisation. When the measures contradict the goals or the message from the leadership it leads to wasted energy and increased confusion as an organisation.

Taking the time and effort to measure something and not using that data is demoralising and disheartening – it increases the feeling of disconnection in the organisation. You begin to wonder what the point of capturing that data is.

Professional Agile Leadership using the EBM framework

The EBM framework provides a light and powerful structure to guide our teams and organisation to continuously improve and deliver better value through customer outcomes.

It supports the work that already has been done as leaders by making the connections between the why, what and how of value very clear by supportive metrics.

To this end, Scrum.Org has built the EBM guide, as well as the new EBM workshop.

Contact me if you would like to discuss this, or any of the other Scrum.Org offerings.