New! Getting Tactical with Organizational Agility: Techniques for Visualizing and Improving Flow

When adopting SAFe, many organizations begin by applying the Implementation Roadmap. They identify a value stream in one part of the organization and launch one or more Agile Release Trains (ARTs) to support it. This typically generates quick wins, leading to more ART launches and ultimately scaling agility across the enterprise.

But all too often, critical parts of the organization are not included in this initial rollout. Some departments may be missed when identifying all the skills and authority required to operate the value streams. For example, the need for regulatory or security approval for features may not be identified upfront. Or a department may not be ready to work as part of a value stream. For example, a marketing department may continue to operate separately and accept projects from across the enterprise on a first-come, first-serve basis. In either situation, dependencies and bottlenecks quickly appear, slowing value delivery.

Charlene M Cuenca, SAFe Fellow, and Maarit Laanti, SAFe Fellow, have published a new community contribution presenting a visualization tool to help organizations better understand their value streams and connect with the teams and people required to support them. They call the tool CITSO which is the acronym of the elements it describes. For a value stream, CITSO identifies the Customers, their Inputs, the Teams (people) that receive inputs, the Systems/Solutions that teams develop to process them, and the Output value created by the customer. This visualization helps expose the overall value flow and shows how the outputs of one team may become the inputs of other teams. It shows how to enable the flow required to deliver solutions for customers.

Figure 1. CITSO visualization tool

Charlene and Maarit did a great job providing real scenarios where they have successfully used CITSO. First, it can help prepare for a Value Stream and ART Identification Workshop by visualizing the current state. This helps identify commonalities, patterns, and dependencies that help shape future state value stream options. Second, CITSO is useful in analyzing functional organizations (Marketing, HR) to help them think through options to better support value delivery by embedding their function in existing value streams, operating their functional department as an ART, or a combination of both.

Please enjoy this new, practical guidance to help visualize and improve flow and ultimately improving organizational agility in your enterprise.

Stay SAFe!

Harry and the Framework Team