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I’ve been implementing Jira Align for 6.5 years; I've seen organizations face challenges realizing Align's value potential.
I see Jira Align’s potential to transform organizations in a way no other platform can but only if leadership has the willingness to change mindsets to allow and enable value to be delivered.
Let's discuss what Jira Align is through a few different lenses, but first a quick story.
One day in 1671, five years into the rebuilding of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, the architect observed three bricklayers. He asked each “What are you doing?” to which the first bricklayer replied, “I’m a bricklayer.” The second responded, “I’m a builder. I’m building a wall.” But the third, the most productive of the three, replied “I’m a cathedral builder.”
I perceive multiple levels of value possible with Jira Align, just as each bricklayer perceived their job differently. Here are five:
1. Basic Technical – Jira Align is a platform that allows organizations to visualize teams’ work in the form of stories, features and epics (and related concepts of dependencies, risks, etc.).
2. Improve Performance – At level 2 leadership looks at the data to understand what it’s telling them about how they are doing and how to improve performance.
3. Visualize value – Organizations at level 2 can fall into a mindset trap caused by a focus on measuring the wrong thing – utilization – instead of value. Many leaders mistake utilization as a proxy for value delivery. Align is designed to measure value flow through the enterprise modeled in well-defined epics, features and stories. Organizations that reach level 3 never again question “Is an Align license worth the cost?”
4. Outcome-based thinking – Align’s objectives are one of its most powerful and flexible features, allowing modeling outcome-based thinking at all levels. They are a prism through which to view progress against a specific desired outcome. To fully employ Align's outcome-based thinking potential requires also understanding and modeling portfolio epics, features, strategy, themes, and more. Organizations that reach level 4 are far-beyond most of their competitors.
5. Leadership mindset transformation feedback loop – The pinnacle of Align implementation is achieved by evolving through the previous levels while being led by an executive champion(s) and their team(s) committed to a true agile enterprise transformation. With this approach Align becomes the focal point of a feedback loop where leadership can see the transformation in their mindset and their teams’ mindsets reflected in Align’s value-delivery metrics.
Level 5 is the cathedral. I believe in Align’s power. I’ve seen glimpses of the cathedral emerge from the bricks. I am inspired working with clients who want to achieve the same.
Enterprise Agility, Praecipio Consulting
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