Agile Fluency Model In A Nutshell

The Agile Fluency® Model was created in 2011 by Jim Shore and Diana Larsen. Shore and Larsen observed that many organizations undertake agile transformations that fail to deliver on their stated benefits. The Agile Fluency Model (AFM) helps organizations realize the stated benefits of adopting agile ideas.

Understanding the Agile Fluency Model

Please Note: Agile Fluency is a registered trademark of Agile Fluency Project LLC

To help organizations realize these important benefits, agile teams must pass through four distinct zones of fluency. Here, the creators of AFM define fluency as actions a business performs without thinking. Often, these actions are performed in high-pressure scenarios where there are many distractions or competing elements.

The four fluency zones of the Agile Fluency Model

The first two zones of fluency focus on changes at the team level, while the last two focus on the organizational level. 

Here is a look at each:

  1. Focus on value. In this zone, agile teams focus on delivering products or services that are most likely to deliver value to customers, users, or sponsors. Scrum and Kanban frameworks are likely to be used by highly collaborative teams. Collaboration means a reduced likelihood of delays and misunderstandings, improving efficiency.
  2. Deliver value. Teams who are fluent in the second fluency zone deliver value early and often using XP practices such as Scrum or Kanban-XP hybrids. By delivering on concepts in a timely fashion, flaws or inefficiencies are exposed early and corrected. Aside from increasing quality standards, teams tend to have higher morale because they can deliver great results in a predictable fashion.
  3. Optimize value. Optimizing teams lead their respective markets by understanding what the market wants while still meeting the needs of the business. These teams use shorter feedback cycles with a focus on customer satisfaction and ROI to increase innovative business agility. Aligning organizational goals with consumer needs, they also foster a sense of trust and camaraderie throughout the business.
  4. Optimize for systems. Also known as strengthening teams, these teams seek to optimize the entire value stream of the enterprise. To achieve this, they may use one or more of the four zones in combination. However, this zone is often resource-intensive and fluency is difficult to master. It requires expertise in innovative management theory, innovation, cross-pollination of perspectives, and agile work practices.

It’s also important to note that the AFM is not a framework or methodology. Each fluency zone is a collection of choices representing a mature system. That is, there is no requirement to progress through the zones to reach a desired state.

Ideally, the business will identify its needs at a particular point in time and select a fluency zone accordingly. Since each zone brings a unique set of benefits and challenges, decision-makers must consider the trade-offs of each zone and not assume that doing more is better.

Key takeaways

  • The Agile Fluency Model helps businesses realize the potential benefits of incorporating agile work practices.
  • The Agile Fluency Model is based on four zones of agile fluency, which is defined as the ability of a business to perform agile practices without thinking in high-stress environments.
  • The Agile Fluency Model is not a framework for linear progression. Instead, each zone offers businesses a unique blend of benefits and challenges according to their specific needs.

Please Note: Agile Fluency is a registered trademark of Agile Fluency Project LLC

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