Using Guardrails to Tie Business to Technology

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page_webinarsAugust 15, 2016
Al Shalloway | Recording | Slides (PDF)

Agile transformation is never easy. We have found it useful to have people to agree to follow a select number of agreements. Following these agreements both makes our work more effective as well as increases our collaboration. We call these agreements ‘guardrails’ because if we see that we’re not following them we can take corrective action.

Aligning business to technology is critical. To achieve this, Net Objectives uses an approach we call Lean-Agile Guardrails. Guardrails are six agreements made across an organization to speed the delivery of business value and increase predictability and quality. Here are the guardrails:

We agree to:

  • work on those items that have us realize the greatest amount of business value
  • take the necessary steps to increase predictability and avoid actions that decrease predictability
  • not overload the IT/development organization with too much work
  • make all of the work we do visible, including what we are working on, how we do the work, and how the work is progressing
  • collaborate frequently to support the above goals
  • continuously improve our understanding and methods

These agreements have the following purposes:

  1. Align everyone in the value stream, but in particular the business with IT/Development
  2. Make the work being done by IT/Development be more efficient
  3. Increase the overall value realized by our company

Teams use the guardrails by asking themselves how well they are following the agreements. For example, we can ask – “are we keeping all of our work visible?” to evaluate our current approach. Or, if considering taking on a new project, we might ask – “will this keep our WIP within our capacity?” These questions often lead to others, such as “how would we know?” By using the guardrails, teams both increase collaboration across the workflow and ensure local decisions support global intentions.

This webinar briefly discusses each guardrail and it helps manifest Lean-Agile principles. The guardrails create a framework of collaboration providing guidance on how to work together across the enterprise in order to be effective.