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Deliver High Business Value With Agile Opportunity Canvas

I would like to start this blog with a question. Business case, quite commonly used term in Project Management. Do we agree?It is a document explaining the justification for a project and expected outcome. Let us have a look at Project, Program and Portfolio Management in the image below.Every single initiative or project within an Organization is aligned to Organizational strategy.In an Enterprise level, we tend to see a lot of ideas and requests emerging from stakeholders, clients, internal teams, outcomes of market research. These ideas and requests will convert into a Project, if we see a potential opportunity. In traditional approach or Agile approach, every idea or request should be validated to ensure the right investment is made. Agile is a widely used terminology in IT industry. People often stumble upon understanding Agile and Lean. Lean Methodologies focuses more on value, elimination of waste and delivering the product in small batches. Agile is a subset of Lean thinking. Agile movement was formed in 2001, Outcome of which is Agile Manifesto and 12 Principles for Agile Software development. Agile is an umbrella term covering different methods and frameworks such as Scrum, Scrumban, XP, FDD etc. All Agile approaches/frameworks emphasizes more on Agile Manifesto and 12 Principles.Agile Model:Demand Management in Traditional Approach/Waterfall model: In the traditional approach, a project is selected over another project through Project evaluation tools such as Cost-Benefit analysis, Decision Matrix etc. A project charter will be created during the initiation phase of the project which captures business case, high-level requirements, timeline/milestone, risks, costs and other constraints. A detailed scope in the form of "Statement of Work" is approved during the planning phase. Planning is one time in a Waterfall model and will take a considerable amount of time in the project. Scope(Feature) is Fixed, Time and Cost is flexible in Traditional approach. Any changes to the scope will be difficult to handle in Waterfall model. There are a lot of risks involved in Traditional approach, as planning is one time.                                                                                                       Fig: Iron triangle- Traditional Approach Demand Management in Agile Approach: In the Agile approach, planning is continuous. Planning is done at different stages. This reduces risks.Strategic PlanningPortfolio PlanningProduct PlanningRelease Planning – Quarterly by entire teamIteration Planning – Bi-Weekly by entire teamDaily Planning – Daily by entire teamFrequency and required participants for Strategic, Portfolio and Product planning will differ across organizations.                                                                                                         Fig: Agile Estimating and Planning In the Agile approach, Feature remains flexible, Time and cost are fixed. Agile approach is incremental and iterative in nature. In the Agile approach, we do not have a detailed scope slated during the start of the project. As we evolve during the development phase, there might be new features or enhancements identified by the customers.                                                                                                          Fig: Iron triangle- Agile Approach In Agile Demand Management Cycle, an idea/requirement/enhancement is chartered in an Opportunity Canvas which gets reviewed by Investment cabinet. As per agile manifesto # 3- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation and Agile Principle # 1: Satisfying the customer is of highest priority: "Agile opportunity canvas" creates more visibility to the customer and the product owner to prioritize new requirements or enhancements over others. (Enhancements which needs a development effort of minimum 2 months would be considered to be chartered in an Agile opportunity canvas). Demand Management process is followed in both Traditional and Agile approaches. In Traditional approach, since the scope is clear it will be a one-time activity. But in Agile, as we do Rolling wave planning on shorter time span to deliver customer value, we would need a robust demand management process to ensure the right requirements were approved and investment is made for right product or feature.                                                                                              Fig: Opportunity Canvas & Demand Management Agile Opportunity Canvas: Agile Opportunity Canvas also referred to as Agile Project Charter is used to ensure whether the business value is captured in the right format, which gives visibility to higher management and decision makers to ensure the investment is made to the right effort. An opportunity canvas is similar to a lean business case. It will help us capture the essential fields. Drafted opportunity canvas will move through the approval process before any project work is initiated. Sample Agile Project Charter template:There are different elements in an Agile Project Charter. These elements are customized according to the Organizational needs.  Opportunity Canvas is a living document and it should be in One page.In a nutshell, we should have the required elements populated to move it across the Demand Management. Generic elements to be part of the Opportunity canvas are listed below:Current Problem Statement – Why do we need to implement this idea? What is the Problem statement?Strategy/Value Justification – What is the value proposition this idea provides and what strategy are we adopting.Scope – In scope and Out of scope details for the generated idea/ enhancement.Sponsors and Stakeholders – This could be internal or external to the organization.Financials – What are the costs and benefits associated?Success Metrics – SMART Metrics towards the investment. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time related)Resources -  Who are the resources going to be engaged? What are the procurement needs? What are the infrastructure needs? Etc.,Agile Project Charter Benefits:Agile Opportunity Canvas creates transparency across the entire organization.Provides a rational route and logic of purpose to the entire team from the beginning to the end.Product Portfolio is maintained and prioritized effectively.It helps avoiding duplicate efforts.It also helps in identifying, if the idea/project/ feature is the latest trend in the market.Agile opportunity canvas can be updated during the planning phase and execution phase. During evaluation or closure phase, the project or solution is validated against the success metrics scripted in Opportunity canvas. Success Metrics in Opportunity canvas does not need to be Objective (directly related to Monetary benefits) all the time, it can be subjective (related to value achieved) as well, depending on the nature of the solution and project.
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Deliver High Business Value With Agile Opportunity Canvas

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Deliver High Business Value With Agile Opportunity Canvas

I would like to start this blog with a question.
 
Business case, quite commonly used term in Project Management. Do we agree?
It is a document explaining the justification for a project and expected outcome.
 
Let us have a look at Project, Program and Portfolio Management in the image below.
Oraganization strategyEvery single initiative or project within an Organization is aligned to Organizational strategy.

In an Enterprise level, we tend to see a lot of ideas and requests emerging from stakeholders, clients, internal teams, outcomes of market research. These ideas and requests will convert into a Project, if we see a potential opportunity. In traditional approach or Agile approach, every idea or request should be validated to ensure the right investment is made.
 
Agile is a widely used terminology in IT industry. People often stumble upon understanding Agile and Lean. Lean Methodologies focuses more on value, elimination of waste and delivering the product in small batches. Agile is a subset of Lean thinking.
 
Agile movement was formed in 2001, Outcome of which is Agile Manifesto and 12 Principles for Agile Software development. Agile is an umbrella term covering different methods and frameworks such as Scrum, Scrumban, XP, FDD etc. All Agile approaches/frameworks emphasizes more on Agile Manifesto and 12 Principles.

Agile Model:
Agile Model:Demand Management in Traditional Approach/Waterfall model:

In the traditional approach, a project is selected over another project through Project evaluation tools such as Cost-Benefit analysis, Decision Matrix etc. A project charter will be created during the initiation phase of the project which captures business case, high-level requirements, timeline/milestone, risks, costs and other constraints. A detailed scope in the form of "Statement of Work" is approved during the planning phase.
 
Planning is one time in a Waterfall model and will take a considerable amount of time in the project. Scope(Feature) is Fixed, Time and Cost is flexible in Traditional approach. Any changes to the scope will be difficult to handle in Waterfall model. There are a lot of risks involved in Traditional approach, as planning is one time.
 Iron triangle- Traditional Approach                                                                                                        Fig: Iron triangle- Traditional Approach 
Demand Management in Agile Approach:
 
In the Agile approach, planning is continuous. Planning is done at different stages. This reduces risks.

  • Strategic Planning
  • Portfolio Planning
  • Product Planning
  • Release Planning – Quarterly by entire team
  • Iteration Planning – Bi-Weekly by entire team
  • Daily Planning – Daily by entire team

Frequency and required participants for Strategic, Portfolio and Product planning will differ across organizations.
Agile Estimating and Planning                                                                                                          Fig: Agile Estimating and Planning 

In the Agile approach, Feature remains flexible, Time and cost are fixed. Agile approach is incremental and iterative in nature. In the Agile approach, we do not have a detailed scope slated during the start of the project. As we evolve during the development phase, there might be new features or enhancements identified by the customers.
Iron triangle- Agile Approach                                                                                                           Fig: Iron triangle- Agile Approach

In Agile Demand Management Cycle, an idea/requirement/enhancement is chartered in an Opportunity Canvas which gets reviewed by Investment cabinet.
 
As per agile manifesto # 3- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation and Agile Principle # 1: Satisfying the customer is of highest priority:
 
"Agile opportunity canvas" creates more visibility to the customer and the product owner to prioritize new requirements or enhancements over others. (Enhancements which needs a development effort of minimum 2 months would be considered to be chartered in an Agile opportunity canvas).
 
Demand Management process is followed in both Traditional and Agile approaches. In Traditional approach, since the scope is clear it will be a one-time activity. But in Agile, as we do Rolling wave planning on shorter time span to deliver customer value, we would need a robust demand management process to ensure the right requirements were approved and investment is made for right product or feature.
Opportunity Canvas & Demand Management                                                                                               Fig: Opportunity Canvas & Demand Management

Agile Opportunity Canvas:
 
Agile Opportunity Canvas also referred to as Agile Project Charter is used to ensure whether the business value is captured in the right format, which gives visibility to higher management and decision makers to ensure the investment is made to the right effort.
 
An opportunity canvas is similar to a lean business case. It will help us capture the essential fields.
 
Drafted opportunity canvas will move through the approval process before any project work is initiated.
 
Sample Agile Project Charter template:
Sample Agile Project Charter templateThere are different elements in an Agile Project Charter. These elements are customized according to the Organizational needs.  Opportunity Canvas is a living document and it should be in One page.

In a nutshell, we should have the required elements populated to move it across the Demand Management. Generic elements to be part of the Opportunity canvas are listed below:

  • Current Problem Statement – Why do we need to implement this idea? What is the Problem statement?
  • Strategy/Value Justification – What is the value proposition this idea provides and what strategy are we adopting.
  • Scope – In scope and Out of scope details for the generated idea/ enhancement.
  • Sponsors and Stakeholders – This could be internal or external to the organization.
  • Financials – What are the costs and benefits associated?
  • Success Metrics – SMART Metrics towards the investment. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time related)
  • Resources -  Who are the resources going to be engaged? What are the procurement needs? What are the infrastructure needs? Etc.,

Agile Project Charter Benefits:

  • Agile Opportunity Canvas creates transparency across the entire organization.
  • Provides a rational route and logic of purpose to the entire team from the beginning to the end.
  • Product Portfolio is maintained and prioritized effectively.
  • It helps avoiding duplicate efforts.
  • It also helps in identifying, if the idea/project/ feature is the latest trend in the market.

Agile opportunity canvas can be updated during the planning phase and execution phase. During evaluation or closure phase, the project or solution is validated against the success metrics scripted in Opportunity canvas. Success Metrics in Opportunity canvas does not need to be Objective (directly related to Monetary benefits) all the time, it can be subjective (related to value achieved) as well, depending on the nature of the solution and project.

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A Journey Towards Earning a Leading SAFe® 4.6 Certification

Our blog regularly provides insights about the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®), like 4 main features that enable SAFe®. You can also go through an article stating the benefits of SAFe® Agilist certification. Also, we recently published a specific article about the benefits to get the SAFe® 4.5 Certification, and here we give some details about the Leading SAFe® 4.6.What is SAFe®? When any large organization wants to go Agile, it can hardly skip the Scaled Agile Framework ® (SAFe®). Now, this framework has become the world’s leading framework for companies that target to scale Agile. Also, SAFe® is described as the “Agile Enterprise Big Picture”, as it helps to apply Agile and Lean practices and principles to the whole organization, from the Team to the Portfolio level.Benefits of the SAFe® certification For any professional, being SAFe® certified brings recognition to be able to support all kinds of organizations in their Lean and/or Agile transformation. Indeed, SAFe® is the most used framework for scaling Agile, especially in big companies like the ones listed in the US Fortune 100. Consequently, holding a SAFe® certification makes a candidate profile very attractive compared to employers’ expectations.Accreditation body of SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) has an official certifying body: Scaled Agile, Inc. 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What is the format of the exam?The SAFe® certification exam is in the Multiple Choice Questions format2. How is the exam delivered?The exam is Web-based (single-browser), closed book, no outside assistance, timed.3. How to get access to the exam? Once they have completed the Leading SAFe® course, candidates can access the exam. For this, they will use the SAFe® Community Platform. 4. How long is the exam?The exam duration is 90 minutes.5. How many questions? The SAFe® exam consists of a total of 45 questions.6. What is the passing score? 34 out of 45 (75% passing score). 7. What is the exam language?English. 8. How much does the exam cost?The course registration fee covers the first exam attempt, provided that the candidate takes the exam within 30 days of course completion. Then, it will cost $50 for any additional attempt.9. What are the exam prerequisites? There are two main prerequisites to take the exam. 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Also, the candidate can retake the exam if not cleared in the first attempt and each retake attempt charges $50. Who will benefit from leading SAFe® 4.5 course? The following individuals will benefit from this course: Leaders and Executives, Directors, Managers, CIOs, and VPs Enterprise, System, and Solution Architects QA, Development, and Infrastructure Management Project and Program Managers PMO, Portfolio Managers, and Process Leads Product and Product Line Management Is it mandatory to attend the course or can a person just take the exam directly? Yes, candidates should have completed the 2 days’ Leading SAFe® 4.5 certification training course to take the exam. After successful completion, of course, your trainer registers you to Scaled Agile, Inc. and after this registration, you will receive an e-mail that includes an exam link. Thereafter, you will have 30-days to take the test.  What do attendees get from the course? The course registration includes: SAFe® 4 Agilist PDF certificate SAFe® 4 Agilist digital badge to promote your online accomplishment  Comprehensive courseware materials by Scaled Agile Institute 1-year membership with Scaled Agile Access to members-only resources such as advance notice of upcoming SAFe® products, guidance presentations, and webinars 16 SEUs and 16 PDUs 1 free attempt of the exam as the course fee includes the exam fee Can I cancel my enrollment? Do I get a refund? Your amount will be refunded in full only if the registration is cancelled within 48 hours and the refunds will be processed within 30 days of the request. For more details, check our refund policy. Note: Due to transactional costs that are applicable while refunding, all cancellations will cause a 5% deduction in the refunded amount. What topics are covered? The topics covered in our 2-day course are: Introducing the SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework) Embracing a Lean-Agile Mindset Experiencing PI (Program Increment) planning Understanding SAFe® Principles Implementing an Agile Release Train Leading the Lean-Agile Enterprise Exploring, Executing, and Releasing Value Building an Agile Portfolio and Empowering a Lean Portfolio Prerequisites for SAFe® 4.5 Certification? Anyone regardless of experience can attend the course. But the following knowledge and skills are highly recommended for those who really want to take the SAFe® 4 Agilist certification exam: 5 plus years of experience in business analysis, testing, product or project management, and software development Good experience in Scrum What will I learn from the course? On completion of the course you will be able to: Apply SAFe® to scale Lean and Agile development in your organization Identify and apply a Lean-Agile Mindset and principles Empower with a Lean Portfolio Improve your Lean-Agile leadership skills Continuously explore, integrate, deploy, and release value Coordinate the development of large value streams Support a Lean-Agile transformation in your organization How can I apply? Follow the below steps to apply for Leading SAFe® 4.5 certification exam- Step  1: Take the 2-day Leading SAFe®4.5 course Step 2: Your trainer will send all your details to Scaled Agile after successful completion of course. Now, the Scaled Agile, Inc. will send you two emails: a Welcome Letter and a Learning Plan Assignment. The Learning Plan Assignment e-mail includes information about the exam. Step  3: Take the online SAFe® 4 Agilist certification exam. Step 4: Once the test is completed with the minimum passing score, Scaled Agile, Inc. will update your profile to disclose the certification. Step 5: You will receive an email including official notification from Scaled Agile, Inc. which allows you to the member area and helps you to make your profile public within the Scaled Agile Community. 1-year membership with Scaled Agile will be provided as well. Why KnowledgeHut for Leading SAFe® 4.5? KnowledgeHut is a silver training partner of Scaled Agile Inc (SAI) and offers world-class learning to its students with excellence and provides in-depth knowledge required to become a successful world-class professional. KnowledgeHut also offers: Free materials from Scaled Agile Framework. Tricks and tips from our professional Certified Leading SAFe® experts who have years of experience in implementing it in a variety of environments. 1-year membership with Scaled Agile included in the course fee. We hope this article cleared all your queries related to SAFe® 4 Agilist certification. Connect with us to know more about the Leading SAFe® 4.5 course.t                               Training Cost                               India        USA               LVC                5500                                                499                                  E-Learning                665                   5165 Exam cost                151                   612
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