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Agile at Scale7 min read

How to master visibility with agile methodology

Achieving visibility in an agile environment can be challenging due to its flexible and iterative nature.
From Team '23

Tempo Team

Achieving visibility in an agile environment can be challenging due to its flexible and iterative nature. With so much going on, how can you ensure that everyone is on the same page and stays informed of all the moving parts they need to keep track of?

The answer is to embrace the concept of agile visibility.

First up: What do we even mean by agile visibility? Visibility in the Agile at Scale sense is about being big and visible in all that you do. That means communicating across departments and teams, ensuring that different people, working on different projects, are aligned to the overall vision of the business.

That can take many forms depending on your industry, but the overall impact is clear: Visibility of project progress creates accountability, trust, and encourages communication at every stage of the workflow.

Here’s how to encourage visibility in your organization:

Define clear objectives and key results (OKRs)

 While this may seem obvious, the first step toward big and visible communication in your organization is knowing what people need to see.

Setting clear OKRs seems simple enough, but you need to ensure everyone is aligned and involved in the process of setting their targets. However, this also means starting with objectives that are realistic and achievable in the given time frame.

That requires discussions with all stakeholders about their workload, their processes, and where their pain points are. From there, you can start to develop reasonable expectations for when projects can be delivered and what blockers to anticipate and plan around.

It also helps to break down the larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks with measurable results. This helps teams stay focused on their priorities and provides a tangible way to measure progress.

Next, align your OKRs with agile sprints or iterations and create a roadmap that allows stakeholders to track and evaluate the team's performance continually. This alignment also provides an opportunity to make adjustments and course corrections as needed, improving visibility into the project's overall health and keeping your teams communicating.

Utilize agile project management tools

 No matter what kind of agile methodology you are attempting, selecting the right tool for your organization provides its backbone.

Perhaps the most important feature of visibility is having tools that enable your teams to get on-demand and real-time updates on project progress, resources, and the ability to see who is assigned to what task.

But it is more than just purchasing a random selection of tools and hoping that adoption will just happen automatically. Your teams need a single and centralized place to keep their progress updates, documentation, and information.

According to Bluesoft’s State of Agile survey, the number one piece of software used by 66% of all teams is Atlassian Jira

Systems like these provide the foundations on which an agile workspace can be built.  You can develop your strategy, epics, sprints, and scrums all around one shared workspace.

An example of this could be Tempo’s tool: Custom Charts. Using it, you can visualize all of your data from Jira and make it viewable on-demand by every stakeholder.

This kind of passive visibility facilitates collaboration, keeps teams organized, and forms the core of agile visibility. Without tools like these, individuals will have to keep messaging (or, perish the thought, calling) to get project updates. 

There are tools for roadmapping, timesheets, budgeting, reports, and almost all parts of the standard workflow so your teams can quickly access the information they need without having to trawl through messages and permissions to get working.

Emphasize clear communication

 Communication and visibility go hand in hand. For agile organizations, that means daily stand-up meetings where team members share their progress, obstacles, and upcoming tasks.

Your teams also need to have cross-team communication. They have to feel able to talk to each other, to product owners, and to other leadership without fear that they will be shut down or punished.

Try asking, with genuine interest, about the blockers and frustrations your teams are experiencing. Act on them – making sure their issues are being addressed – and your teams will be more open in coming forward themselves next time.

Once you have fostered an environment of collaboration where team members feel they can share ideas, issues, and progress updates, then you can catch issues long before they become major blockers for your project.

That is a kind of agile visibility that looks both ways – a transparent and open leadership that looks out for its employees so they, in turn, will be more willing to share their blockers. Having more eyes on issues gets them solved more quickly.

If you are interested in more about agile communication practices, take a look at our full blog which is part of our series on understanding Agile at Scale.

Involve stakeholders throughout the process

 Including stakeholders throughout the development process ensures that their expectations are managed and they have an opportunity to provide feedback. 

We discussed the importance of involving people in creating their OKRs, but it shouldn’t stop there. Agile methodology is an iterative process where you should be conducting regular meetings to gather input and feedback to ensure projects are still working for their stakeholders and the original goals still make sense.

By keeping stakeholders engaged, informed, and accountable, you can address any concerns early and reduce the risk of misunderstandings or misalignment later in the project. This active involvement further increases visibility as it keeps everyone thinking about the project's overall health and how it relates to their core objectives. 

Visual dashboards help to keep stakeholders informed. With the right inputs they can display key agile metrics, such as cycle time, velocity, and release progress. These dashboards can be made available to all stakeholders, fostering a data-driven decision-making culture. If you want to dive deeper into agile reporting, there is a whole blog section dedicated to it.

The aim is visibility at every level. Individuals see their goals and their impact on projects clearly, leadership can see progress and resources, and everyone can keep an eye on the bigger picture. All of this needs to help those involved feel they can have an impact on it at any point in the process. After all, what is the point of something being visible if you can do nothing about it? 

Provide full visibility for successful agility

Achieving visibility with agile methodology requires a combination of clear communication, well-defined objectives, appropriate tools, and stakeholder involvement. By following these best practices, teams can adapt to changing requirements more effectively, optimize project outcomes, and build a successful agile environment. 

In turn, this visibility leads to increased collaboration, enhanced decision-making, and ultimately, greater success in delivering valuable products and services to your customers.

Agile tools to improve the visibility of work being done

Wherever you are on your agile journey, Tempo’s modular and flexible solutions offer the complete suite of tools to support your organization.

From setting the strategy for the whole business and communicating the roadmap with Strategic Roadmaps, to organizing the work for the teams getting it done in Structure PPM, and visualizing performance in Custom Charts, Tempo has the tools for any company looking to develop their Agile workflows.

For more resources like this visit Agile at Scale.