Transformation Heartbeat

A Transformation Heartbeat should therefore be established and used for reference across the organization. It should be no longer than one month. Delivery Teams are free to choose shorter periods for their own cadences, such as two or even one week Sprints, as long as they all align with the Transformation Heartbeat. This organizational alignment allows the Transformation Rollout Team to assess the progress of enterprise change at a juncture that is sympathetic to all teams and their delivery responsibilities.

Note: An example agile health check for assessing the general progress of a team is available (XLS format), and also an example transformation heartbeat status summary (DOC format). An overview of how an organization's Project Management Office (PMO) can apply oversight and governance is available here. Guidance on recognizing products, features, and value streams is available here (XLS format).


Change Cycle, Change Cadence

It is very important to consider the matter of cadence when rolling out an agile transformation. For one thing, we need to ensure that a suitable cadence is being observed by each Delivery Team. We must then verify that agile change is happening: that batches of work are kept small and manageable, that inspection and adaptation does indeed occur, and that each team's deliverables are integrated where necessary and without delaying the release of value.

Each part of the enterprise that is to be involved in an agile transformation should make a contribution to product or service delivery in some way, and which helps in the release of value. If it does not make such a contribution, then there is little need to factor it into the agile adoption effort at all. Each target for change is therefore expected to contribute to delivery, and if it is to do so successfully then it must observe cadence, just as the transformation itself must observe cadence.

A cadence is a regular, timeboxed cycle of no longer than a month. Each cycle provides an opportunity to assess productivity, and to inspect and adapt working methods in order to improve them. The Transformation Rollout Team facilitates this by drawing changes from the Transformation Backlog and coaching their adoption. Evidence is gathered timebox-by-timebox and the effect of the changes being effected can be gauged. Once a group values cadence with respect to delivery duties, we can begin to refer to it as a Delivery Team or at least as part of one. Delivery Teams can exist at project, program, and portfolio level. They may include teams with strategic management responsibilities as well as those that are more technically or operationally focused.