Business Agility in a Social Services Agency
“Classic” agile implementations have generally been limited to technical product development groups. How much of “agile” can be transplanted into strategic planning and project management in a service environment with little project management expertise?
Five Acres is a 128 year old social services agency in Southern California. Over the past year, we embarked on a 4-year strategy refresh. The 2012 plan, also facilitated by Dan, had used a classic balanced scorecard framework. While the process engaged a number of employees up front, it resulted in too many performance measures, too many initiatives, and lack of ongoing participation by non-executive employees. The 2016 approach was a radical departure. We created only five agency-wide objectives (compared to 9 in the 2012 strategy) using the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework widely practiced in Silicon Valley. We then invited each of 16 teams to develop 1-3 of their own, based on a collaborative process within the team - rather than a top down cascade of goals. At the same time, we created an agile project management structure to ensure that project priorities are reviewed and rebalanced once a month in the light of emerging information. Rather than a static, top down plan, we’ve achieved a much higher level of ongoing engagement throughout the organization.
Outline/Structure of the Keynote
15 minute presentation with 5 minutes for questions.
Insights into adapting agile for non-technical environments.