The Business Agility – Centre of Excellence (COE)

Step #6 is not always necessary.

However, if you are creating or shifting many Products, or Services to a Business Agility operating model. The creation of a Business Agility – COE can increase the likelihood of success.

The Business Agility COE is a special Shared Service that can provide a mixture of support and/or assurance services, to: Agile Customers, Agile Teams, and/or Agile Leaders.

This can be useful to ensure consistency, re-use of assets, regulatory compliance, knowledge sharing and other services that aim to enhance the likelihood that a Product/Service Vision and The Goal can be achieved.

Like all investments, the COE will need appropriate sponsorship within the organisation. For funding, and to ensure the COE services are utilised as intended.

6.6.1 How to design a Business Agility COE

Centre of Excellence (COE) Artefacts

COE Blueprint

The COE Blueprint is a target-state design, that includes:

  • Services to be offered (assurance and/or support)
  • Organisation model required
    • COE Sponsor
    • Head of COE
    • Specific Service Owners / Team Members
  • Technology required
  • Information flows between the COE and stakeholders, e.g.
    • Assurance reports to the Agile Leaders
    • Shared impediment status updates to Agile Teams
    • Organisation success stories to Agile Customers
Using Pain Point Mapping to identify the required COE Services

COE Business Case

The COE Business Case justifies the investment in the COE.

The document follows a standard format that answers the following questions:

  • Background  – What is wrong with the current-state?
  • Reasons  – Why is it going wrong?
  • Options  – What can we do about it?
  • Costs  – How much will it cost?
  • Benefits  – What will we get in return?
  • Costs vs Benefits  – Is it worth the investment?
  • Major Risks  – What are the risks to benefit realisation?

COE Benefits Map

The COE Benefits Map is an optional document that helps to demonstrate how the COE specifically adds value to the organisation.

This is useful to ensure that:

  • The COE is designed around the benefits of its services
  • The funding for the COE can be justified against its benefits
  • A change in the desired benefits, results in a change in scope

The Benefits Map shows the relationship between:

  • The list of services in the COE Blueprint, and
  • The list of benefits from the COE Business Case

The Benefits Map displays a sequence from:

  1. Service Outputs that provide New Capabilities (immediate),
  2. New Capabilities that lead to Observable Outcomes (short-term),
  3. Observable Outcomes that lead to Measurable Benefits (long-term).
COE Benefits Map (Output > Capability > Outcome > Benefit)

6.6.2 How to implement a Business Agility COE

For a single-Service COE:

  • Manage the implementation as a Project (e.g. AgilePM)

For a multi-Service COE:

  • If the COE Blueprint can be defined in full, manage the implementation as a traditional programme
  • If the COE Blueprint cannot be defined in full, or is expected to evolve considerably over-time, manage the implementation iteratively / incrementally using an Agile Programme framework (e.g. AgilePGM)

6.6.3 How to measure the maturity of the Business Agility COE

For a single-Service COE:

  • Baseline maturity in the same way as Step 4 – Measuring Business Agility.

For a multi-Service COE:

  • For each individual Service, baseline maturity in the same way as Step 4 – Measuring Business Agility.
  • Chart the individual maturity of each COE Service:
    • 0 = Not Yet Started
    • 1 = In Progress
    • 2 = Working Well
COE Service – Maturity Assessment