What is ELSE?

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At its heart, ELSE is a Principle-Guided Evolutionary Improvement process that applies a set of Actionable Principles to understand the Current Context and Guide the direction of change. The result is an ever-evolving set of Emergent Practices adapted to support the organisation as it develops over time.

In summary:

ELSE is a continuous improvement approach that fosters emergent practices, guided by actionable principles, to enhance organisational agility at scale.

ELSE aims to increase the probability and level of success for large-scale Agile transformations and products. Although it offers an alternative approach to those offered by Scaling frameworks, ELSE is not incompatible with many of the patterns contained within them.

It acts as a guide to analyse and understand the current context and set your organisation on a journey of continuous improvement and fostering of emergent practices.

  • Engage and empower your people in a generative change process that emerges context-specific and appropriate practices.
  • Supports your organisation with the challenge of enacting and sustaining change.
  • Provide a critical inspection process to understand improvement opportunities.
  • Acts as a guide for the direction of improvement.

If you are faced with a challenge that appears to require a scaled Agile approach, looking to improve a currently scaled system, or considering adopting a scaled framework, then ELSE is intended to help.

Navigating the ELSE Wiki

The key elements of ELSE are shown in the diagram below:

Wiki sections summarised:

  • Perspectives - covers the concepts underpinning the principles and introduces many important terms used.
    • Change - explains the Incremental Evolutionary Improvement Process.
    • Leadership - discusses the shift required in Leadership style to support greater organisational agility successfully.
    • Product - explores “Product” and “Ownership”. Product deals with how to shape products and services, using the idea of a composite value stream for multipart products where applicable. Ownership looks at the models for Product Ownership at scale.
    • Teams - reviews the essential elements of what makes an Agile team so successful as a unit for value creation. It then explores concepts that help expand the number of teams whilst retaining the essential elements.
    • Coaching - explains why coaching is important in increasing the probability of successful and sustained change.
  • Principles - The principles are intentionally brief and hopefully to the point! They are categorised to make them easier to navigate.
    • General - principles are higher-level or meta principles are intrinsic to the more detailed principles in the other categories.
    • Teams - principles guide how teams are structured.
    • Craft - principles point the direction of engineering or the “Delivery domain” craft skill and practice improvement required for multiple collaborating teams to increase their sustained success.
    • Leadership - principles guide how leadership behaviours shape and support an environment that continually improves how it supports its people and their capability to derive value.
    • Product Ownership - principles guide how to scale Product Ownership just enough for the context.
    • Defining Products - provides direction on evolving the shape of products and services.
  • Practices - Concrete patterns and practices are not the primary goal for this body of work, as countless options can be harvested from published scaling frameworks and other sources.  In the process of constructing the principles, we occasionally found it useful to explore potential patterns and practices and have added these.
  • Tools - This section identifies some useful tools for engaging stakeholders in collaborative workshops to map and explore the current context to identify improvement directions.
  • Glossary - Here, we explain the meaning ascribed to key terms used in the principles and perspectives.
  • References - A list of supporting publications.