I have owned several somewhat successful startups over the last 20 years: Framework Technologies Inc., e-Architects Inc., New Governance Inc., Enterprise Scrum Inc., QuanTraders Inc., etc. I have also played some roles at several companies including my own, starting as a programmer (since 32 years ago), (team leader and project manager 28 years ago), and management and executive roles (director of management consulting, CEO, etc. since 25 years ago) And with each experience, I have learned more insights into what it takes to make a company successful.
My goal has been to grow companies, make them successful, and manage them in the best possible way. Because some of these companies have been products or services to make things better at even larger companies (compliance management, trading, etc.), I have been passionate to learn what works at different companies, what makes companies grow, profitable, competitive, and what are ways, attitudes and techniques to achieve these things.
I just realized this morning that I have been writing about how to make companies successful since 20 years ago — and yes, we knew that systems was going to be important in the future even back then. (Remember “The Great Transition” by James Martin?) But the answer that works in today’s world is not one based on top-driven hierarchies, or processes, or systems, “canned solutions”, or “repeatable processes” …. instead, it’s all about being more innovative, provide more customer satisfaction, making products and services friendlier with more features but with more ease to use, keeping employees happy, all while getting things done faster, better, while adapting to an ever-faster rate of change.
How do you do that? Well, my answer to all of this learning is Enterprise Scrum — and no, Enterprise Scrum is NOT a canned solution. Success is not all about maximizing one variable like profit, revenue, lowering costs, operational efficiency, just “more customer satisfaction”, or doing things “right through the right processes” Instead, it is about balance — I like to use the concept of Ikigai in Enterprise Scrum to balance things out: 1) customer satisfaction, 2) employee happiness, 3) profits, and 4) purpose in the world.
Enterprise Scrum offers a way to agilize and entire company from top to bottom (hierarchy), or from “side to side” (collaboration), or even in subsumption (dependent knowledge levels), but always with the constraint that everything must remain agile at all levels, or for all organizations involved, regardless of its size, purpose, or evolutionary step. As such Enterprise Scrum equally agilizes any level of management from C-level executive levels, through all levels of middle management, and down to the program and project; or equivalently, it can agilize startups, medium size companies with product and services portfolios, with one or more customer segments, all the way to agilizing business units and business unit portfolios, etc.
🦄 Simply said, the goal of Enterprise Scrum is to grow unicorns and transform dinosaurs into unicorns!! In other words, Enterprise Scrum powers DISRUPTION, and allows companies of all sizes to be managed like startups …which can simultaneously act like VCs as they grow up! (I am not showing in this article how to do so, but I do in the upcoming book on Enterprise Scrum.)
Enterprise Scrum powers all waves of the Agile global transformation: from single-team first wave transformation, through single business process transformation like Software Development, all the way to Business Agility. It is, as far as I know, the only framework for Business Agility.
There are other answers, other solutions if you will, of course, but the tradeoff of prescriptive and descriptive, defined over contextual, or even achievable over “too hard to do”, feels right with Enterprise Scrum.
For example, the Holacracy model to me is “too thin” — not enough prescription http://www.holacracy.org/how-it-works/. The Teal model from Reinventing Organizations is too dependent on culture to achieve the teal level http://www.reinventingorganizations.com/ . The Management 3.0 ideas are essential, but as Jurgen describes, they are a management compliment to the more prescriptive technical activities https://management30.com/.
So Enterprise Scrum is a framework that offers a “sweet spot” of prescription (practices, processes, roles, etc.), and description (solutions based on context, first principles, concepts, ideas, etc.), to do “general management” and deliver the most business value in the shortest amount of time for EVERYTHING, including company management, process management, or program and project management.
That word “framework”, has been used, abused and confused :), but Enterprise Scrum is a true, formal, explicit framework — parameters are explicitly defined and you can actually see where — what steps, and how things plug in. For example, you can see where and how startup management techniques like:
- Lean Startup
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- Beyond Budgeting
- Business Model Generation
- Value Proposition Design
- Exponential Organizations
- Management 3.0
plug in and complement Enterprise Scrum in explicit ways. Far too much damage has been done by just “waving hands”.
The main assumption is that Scrum management can be made to work at any level. This correlates well with my experience over the last 20 years:
Enterprise Scrum can be used to manage anything.
I started managing one of my companies with Enterprise Scrum, New Governance Inc., around the year 2000 and it proved to be very successful. Since then, I have managed a handful of other companies with Enterprise Scrum, and helped thousands of others manage their companies and their business processes with Enterprise Scrum (for example, SalesForce.com, Cars.com, Hewitt and Associates, etc.).
Is Enterprise Scrum a perfect management system? No, but it is a good starting point, and one that if you know more descriptive techniques like Management 3.0 that can help you tweak and adjust based on context, you can better manage, lead and innovate with your companies.
Here is a quick intro to Enterprise Scrum.
Let’s start with a definition.
Enterprise Scrum is an adaptation and extension of Scrum based on abstraction, generalization, and parameterization; that can be used in a scaled generic way for any management purpose.
So to apply the concepts of Scrum in a more generic way, in Enterprise Scrum we have some changes:
- instead of calling it “Product Owner”, we call it a “Business Owner”, that way we don’t confuse other business people with the word “product”.
- instead of calling it ScrumMaster we call it “Coach” and
- Team is still Team.
- Business Value is defined explicitly through a balance of the metrics (see below)
- instead of calling it “Product Backlog”, we call it “Value List” — a list of things that when DONE add value. That way we don’t confuse other business people with the word “product”.
- instead of calling them “PBIs”, we call them “VLIs” or “value list items”, each of them with a DOR, DOD, and other attributes. That way we don’t confuse other business people with the word “product”.
- instead of calling them Sprints, we call the time-boxes Cycles. Cycles can be recursive without limit. So you can have a yearly cycle, having quarterly cycles, that have 2 week cycles
- VLIs still have to be DONE according to their DOD every Cycle, but not necessarily to “build a product”. Instead, any type of work can be achieved, measured, forecasted and reported.
- projections as usual, are made with measurements over metrics of what got DONE (see below), so Release Planning is naturally included for all Cycles and at all levels.
- techniques of different types and at different levels can be included with specific parameters and insert them as 1) new steps, 2) to get work done into the framework relevant to the purpose of the instance (see below).
- For example, techniques can be added for 1) facilitating work like User Stories, or 2) like insertable NEW steps in an instance like “Release Planning”, or like “Architectural Scan”, added as NEW activities in the Initial Value List/Wave Projection.
METRICS and REPORTS
- the only mandated report is the ScrumBoard
- In contrast with Scrum with 1 metric, the velocity, in Enterprise Scrum we are FREE to have as many metrics as you want/need. For example, we could track, profit, revenue, incidents, effort, customer satisfaction, compliance levels, etc.
In contrast with Scrum where we have the Burn down charts, in Enterprise Scrum you are FREE to choose any type of report.
Enterprise Scrum also provides 80+ other parameters to extend, customize and apply the Scrum concepts to different domains, scaling, or adding techniques. These parameters were abstracted primarily by observing what people had already done in the field as they used Scrum for different purposes. These parameters make Enterprise Scrum a true framework, as the customizable parts are now visible and explicit. (I will release the full list of parameters later as a different publication.)
The framework exists as an explicitly customizable tool, but once the parameters, techniques and added steps have been chosen, a defined Enterprise Scrum instance is created explicitly. For example, there are instances like:
- the instance of Enterprise Scrum with User Stories and Release Planning
- the instance of Enterprise Scrum for Marketing
- the instance of Enterprise Scrum for Compliance Management
- the instance of Enterprise Scrum for Real State Sales
- the instance of Enterprise Scrum for Business Unit Portfolio management
Enterprise Scrum uses the “wave principle” that says:
Wave Principle. Any long-term “rough” predictions made in the Initial Value List of a longer Cycle, must be refined or recalculated after each and every shorter Cycles it includes.
For example, if you included a rough Blue Ocean Strategy Canvas step as part of the Initial Value List, you must revaluate the Strategy Canvas in the shorter Cycles. This principle generalizes agile management to any activity, and any level of management.
With such principles, abstractions, generalizations, and parameterizations, it is possible to use Enterprise Scrum to manage:
- Company management
- Startup management
- Business Unit management (and corresponding portfolio)
- Customer-segment management (and corresponding portfolio)
- Product/Service management (and corresponding portfolio)
- Application management (and corresponding portfolio)
- Software development
- HW development
- Asset Management
- Political Campaigns
- And 50+ OTHER KNOWN APPLICATIONS!!!
This is what one of the reasons that I’ve been getting students from literally ALL walks of life into my classes. Over 5000 people have been trained in Enterprise Scrum:
- very many industries: from banks, financials, insurance, consulting, oil companies, retail all the way to non-profits and government offices
- varying company sizes: from startup management, through medium size companies, to large diversified multi-nationals
- varying organizational size: single team, multi-team, multi-app enterprise architecture, department (for example, IT, Sales), or company-wide
- different organizational levels: from C-level suite, through middle management, to program and project management.
I am putting the FINAL touches on the Enterprise Scrum book as we speak! I will also be announcing the first Enterprise Scrum classes and certifications at our website and other partners websites soon.
Stayed tuned — I am counting on ALL of you to “agilize the world of work” and innovate and delight customers more and faster!
As I see it, we don’t have much of a choice:
🦄 We either need to grow Unicorns, or transform our Dinosaurs into Unicorns!!!
Enterprise Scrum Inc.