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    August 9, 2023

    Navigating the Latest Agile Trends with ValueOps

    Keeping pace with Agile trends is crucial for businesses in this fast-evolving landscape. Agile has come a long way since its inception in 2001, with significant milestones such as the DevOps movement in 2009 and the introduction of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) in 2011. However, staying ahead of the curve in this agile landscape requires understanding and embracing these new trends.

    Why is it important to understand new trends?

    Agile-driven companies that have reaped the full benefits of Agile recognize the necessity of continual evolution and improvement in order to maintain a competitive edge. On the other hand, companies struggling with Agile implementation face challenges such as a lack of alignment, limited progress, extended lead times, and compromised quality, hindering their overall success.

    Our teams at Broadcom have been at the forefront of these shifts, offering tools that adapt to changes and meet your unique business needs. So, let's delve into the latest trends in Agile and then see how our Value Stream Management tool, ValueOps, can help you navigate and thrive in this constantly changing environment.

    New trends in Agile

    Since the creation of the Agile Manifesto, we've observed trends that emphasize process refinement rather than completely overhauling traditional methods. The focus now is more about fine-tuning Agile, rather than a full-scale transformation.

    Here are some of the latest trends.

    Flight Levels: a new perspective on Agile

    Flight Levels stem from Klaus Leopold's book Rethinking Agile: Why Agile Teams Have Nothing To Do With Business Agility. This "thinking model" offers a fresh perspective on Agile, presenting a resource to guide collective thought and communication across organizational tiers.

    Flight Levels isn't a structured progression model for organizations. Rather, it's fundamentally a resource designed to assist in collective thought and communication at various organizational tiers. The Flight Levels framework depicts these tiers within an organization as:

    • Flight Level 1: Operational
    • Flight Level 2: Coordination
    • Flight Level 3: Strategic Portfolio Management

    The book argues that although Agile teams may thrive in software or product delivery, their achievements remain confined without the integration and collaboration with broader business functions.

    Leopold champions a comprehensive perspective on agility, urging a shift in organizational culture. This involves nurturing adaptability, empowering employees, and cultivating cross-functional collaboration, thereby actualizing true business agility that surpasses the Agile team's reach.

    Interestingly, the Flight Level doesn't dictate a unidirectional workflow. Instead, it allows for a multidirectional flow and allows bypassing certain levels, encouraging quicker responses, fostering collaboration, and enabling feedback from all levels.

    For more information about flight levels, you can visit the Flight Levels Academy and read this blog post about how to design and operationalize Flight Levels at your organization.

    Agile 2: the evolution of Agile practices

    The concept of Agile 2 came from a retrospective on Agile performed by a team of Agile practitioners led by Jeff Berger. Much like what transpires at the end of a sprint in a scrum team, the team compiled their ideas for improvement; in this instance, they put it into a book entitled Agile 2.

    In broad terms, their findings fall into:

    Highlighting adaptability

    Agile 2 embraces the notion of "it depends" and shies away from extreme methods. It promotes holistic thought processes and adaptability in varying situations, fostering a lively and responsive setting. It values both teams and individuals, without placing undue emphasis on one over the other.

    Encouraging leadership

    Agile 2 endorses leaders who place organizational triumphs at the forefront and empower teams to build their capacities. It recognizes and encourages diverse forms of leadership throughout organizational levels.

    Emphasizing collaboration and product focus

    Agile 2 nurtures collaboration, respecting individual work styles and the strategic significance of data. It ensures close collaboration between product design and implementation teams with stakeholders for successful outcomes. While teams should collectively decide  how to tackle work, the actual execution is performed by individuals as necessary. Regardless of whether team members are experts, generalists, or in between, all are valued equally.

    Musk approach: agility in practice

    One intriguing approach comes from industry giants like Tesla and SpaceX, who, despite not explicitly labeling their methodology as "Agile," still adhere to Agile principles and values.

    A few years ago, the aspiration was to emulate Spotify; today, the focus has shifted to replicating Tesla and SpaceX's success. While Elon Musk may be a figure of controversy, his companies have achieved superior performance compared to traditional companies.

    So, what sets Musk’s companies apart? 

    • The way to illustrate how Musk's companies operate is to compare them to an ant colony rather than a traditional company. Employees can contribute to any initiative where they feel their skills add value. Swarming, mob, and pair programming is the normal way of working toward the long-term vision of the company.
    • These companies are characterized by a flat structure, offering autonomy beyond conventional norms. Musk himself often collaborates directly with various teams.
    • Their internal culture champions innovation, encourages risk-taking, and sees failure as part of the learning curve, creating an atmosphere ripe for creativity and audacious ideas.
    • Their hardware development adopts a modular design approach, enabling enhancements to be incorporated into existing hardware without expensive and time-consuming integrations or extensive redesigns.
    • Tesla's manufacturing process is governed by automated testing, occurring not only where car components are assembled but also with any new components, ensuring they pass existing tests before integration into production.

    SAFe 6: the Adaptive Framework

    We can't talk about Agile trends without mentioning SAFe. As an adaptive framework, SAFe consistently incorporates any emerging trends in the field into their updated versions. Their latest version SAFe 6, launched earlier this year, is no exception. This version marks a significant step towards business agility by centering attention on value streams and the flow of work through the organization.

    How can ValueOps help you navigate these trends?

    In the rapidly changing landscape of competition, companies need every advantage they can get. One way to find an edge is to embrace the newest trends in Agile. The right tool can facilitate transition and adaptation while providing an overview across the organization.

    ValueOps by Broadcom offers a comprehensive value stream management solution, facilitating:

    Organizational agility

    Business agility is rooted in a broad, systems thinking approach, instead of just focusing on Agile teams. ValueOps makes this possible by clearly showing work items and how they contribute to a larger vision, connecting the dots between detailed work, overarching strategy, and who is working on what within the organization.

    Simplicity is critical here - workflows need to be straightforward, clear, and easily changeable, enabling new team members to quickly understand the process without a steep learning curve. As an example, Onboarding new employees at Tesla takes four hours compared to three months in traditional organizations.

    Adaptability and collaboration

    All these approaches highlight the need for flexibility and collaboration. ValueOps helps companies stay ready for change and encourages a big picture mindset. They allow everyone in the company to see what's happening and assign work to anyone, no matter their team. They also allow easy adjustments in the organization's structure without disturbing the visibility of the work.

    Effective collaboration requires a common language throughout the organization; this can only be achieved with a holistic tool approach that ensures consistency across all teams without limiting the team’s ability to work the way they see best fit.

    Focus on value streams

    As Agile frameworks like SAFe shift focus towards value streams and the flow of work across the organizations, ValueOps is instrumental in providing the necessary insights for streamlining and managing the flow of work. It gives teams the ability to organize around the value streams, and at the same time provides the data necessary to improve the strategy and the impact of the work.

    Automated testing

    In line with the practices at Tesla, the cornerstone of test automation is rooted in technical excellence, a goal that can be attained only through proper prioritization of the work. It's crucial to link your value stream tool with the broader tool chain, providing a comprehensive view of the entire value stream process, beyond just the coding phase.

    Teams have their preferred specialized tools for integration and testing. Now, you can seamlessly integrate the wider tool ecosystem into ValueOps using our latest addition, ValueOps ConnectALL. This integration enables a central point inside ValueOps to oversee and manage the progress of the entire value stream.


    Adapting to Agile's dynamic landscape is vital for business growth and efficiency. Leveraging new trends like Flight Levels, Agile 2, the Musk Approach, and SAFe 6 can drastically improve your organizational agility.

    Broadcom's ValueOps is designed to help you effectively sail through these trends, offering a holistic, adaptable solution to drive your business forward. Embrace these innovations and unlock the full potential of Agile within your organization.

    Our team of value stream management experts at Broadcom is eager to help companies looking to explore these new Agile trends. We believe in the “art of the possible,” and our tools are ready to aid in transforming how you work, aligning your teams, and boosting your business agility. The journey may appear challenging, but with our experience and the right tool, we're confident we can guide you to adapt and succeed in these new Agile trends.

    Reach out to us, and let's start the conversation on maximizing your Agile potential with ValueOps.

    Fridgeir Eyjolfsson

    Fridgeir (Frikkx) Eyjolfsson works as a Client Services Consultant at Broadcom. He is a SAFe SPC with a rich Agile, SAFe & IT background. He founded two startups. His expertise as a Software Developer, SAFE consultant, RTE, Product Owner, and Head of APMO provides valuable insights into digital and agile...

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