Exploring the Last Two Phases of Agile Maturity

In the previous article, we discussed the journey to Enterprise Agility, including the first three phases of that journey:

  1. The Agile Team
  2. The Team of Agile Teams
  3. The Scaling Agile Organization

In this follow-up, we’ll be discussing the last two phases of Enterprise Agility:

  1. The Agile Enterprise
  2. The Scaling Agile Enterprise

This article series includes excerpts from the free white paper, “The Five Phases of Enterprise Agility.” Download your free copy today.

Phase Four – The Agile Enterprise

Phase Four highlights the success of scaling agile across multiple teams and business units and developing a culture around agile at all levels. This enterprise has invested in developing the people and processes needed to scale Agile, specifically around cultural norms, annual and quarterly planning cadences, value stream delivery, and baseline OKRs and measures.

The increased value delivered through their products helps drive greater engagement and adoption of enterprise agility. Product value becomes a unifying lens for the enterprise to accelerate its Agile at Scale evolution.

How Jira Align Supports The Agile Enterprise

While a tool like Jira Align offers excellent value to the Phase Three enterprise, once the organization achieves Phase Four, it becomes indispensable. At this stage, alignment of every level of the organization is essential, and Jira Align can provide the real-time visibility that makes that possible.

At Phase Four, the “Why?” functionality/visibility is more complete and ties to more aspects of the company’s vision, strategy, and chosen execution method. Combined with an evolved agile culture embracing continuous improvement and further empowering teams, the organization is more aligned with what drives us as individuals.

Strategy Level

As organizations move to Phase Four, the focus on aligning strategy with execution across the enterprise — not only within individual portfolios — becomes more critical. The ability for the enterprise to have a prioritized strategic backlog, that is adjustable, moves up in importance. Strategic modeling in Jira Align, linking strategy to team execution of stories, is becoming a core competency. The organization now has full-stack, multi-dimensional visibility into strategy execution at all levels across the portfolios of trains through Jira Align.

Portfolio Level

The organization is implementing Jira Align in multiple portfolios across business units. The focus on modeling strategy execution via themes and portfolio epics now includes cross-portfolio efforts, if applicable. Jira Align’s intake process for strategic-level work (themes and portfolio epics) is now implemented for cross-portfolio visibility and governance.

Product Level

At Phase Four, product-driven thinking is a part of everything, and therefore leveraging all aspects of Jira Align’s product functionality. This includes lean use cases and prototypes. Phase Four organizations are product-driven and leverage Jira Align’s product roadmaps and product room, also known as the “product control console.”

Program Level


The Phase Four organization can start running train-level experiments over several quarters to see the impact of improved or enhanced processes and ceremonies to improve value delivery and track real-time progress metrics across various dimensions — lean cycle time, business value delivered, and quality levels. Entire portfolios of trains are on-boarded into Jira Align as a unit, providing greater cross-portfolio visibility, dependency management, and enterprise value stream alignment.

Team Level

At Phase Four the organization has standardized team-level agile practices for Scrum and Kanban teams using the combination of Jira and Jira Align. Team-level experiments can be run for several sprints with real-time visibility. Implementation of the most promising improvements throughout an ART allow for the train-level experiments mentioned above.

Enabling Services

Enterprises at Phase Four have developed into true Agile enterprises. However, they may still need supportive services to address cross-organization integration and synchronization, and develop less mature teams and organizations.

Phase Four organizations benefit from the following coaching and training opportunities facilitated by Cprime:

Additionally, organizations at this stage often see the need to outsource, upskill, and take on additional headcount in their tech positions as scaling ramps up. Cprime can help in these areas as well:

Phase Five – The Scaling Agile Enterprise

The enterprise that moves into Phase Five operates predictably and with agility at all levels. Employee engagement is high because the culture supports a strong purpose, mastery of their skill set, and autonomy. Work is aligned with overarching business strategy, and strategic planning can explore longer time horizons because of proven predictability.

The entire organization shares a common language and processes while the Core Center of Learning (CCoL) spearheads alignment with the common scaling framework and value streams. Agile Delivery Groups perform predictably but can pivot quickly when the need arises. DevOps and CI/CD practices are normalized across the development teams. Although the organization is still focused on continuous improvement, gains are incremental because it’s running like a well-oiled machine.

How Jira Align Supports The Agile Enterprise

The Agile enterprise needs robust software to support the delivery of value from the enterprise itself down to the intricate tooling network required by the ADTs. From the Atlassian suite of products, Jira Align is the single most powerful platform available to provide enterprise-wide visibility, facilitate agile planning, and support the final phase of Enterprise Agility. It is usually paired with Jira and Add-Ons to help offer the precise decisionable data needed to maximize value delivery, improve learning, and evolve processes.

The same features and reports highlighted in the sections above remain relevant for Phase Five organizations, but usage increases dramatically as they continue to scale.

Strategy Level

As the enterprise moves to Phase Five, the prioritized strategic backlog (tied to execution) spanning the enterprise becomes the focus. The Phase Five enterprise is incorporating more data from other systems via Jira Align’s Business Insights module and a BI visualization tool to inform the strategic backlog.

Portfolio Level

At Phase Five, the enterprise has implemented Jira Align in the majority of its portfolios across most business units for expanded and deeper visibility. Jira Align’s intake process for strategic-level work (themes and portfolio epics) is now part of the standard process for cross-portfolio visibility and governance. Modeling portfolio epics based on MVP and lean business case thinking is required for all business units.

Product Level

At Phase Five, product-driven thinking is embedded in everything; all aspects of Jira Align’s product functionality are being leveraged. Many strategic-level decisions are now being made or inferred by the insights gained from Jira Align’s product dimension.

Program Level

At Phase Five, the organizational agility competency at the program level is now embedded throughout. Multiple train-level experiments are being conducted PI-by-PI. The remaining portfolios of trains are on-boarded into Jira Align as a unit, aligned with enterprise value streams.

Team Level

At Phase Five, the enterprise has further refined and standardized team-level agile practices for Scrum and Kanban teams using the combination of Jira and Jira Align.

For additional information about Jira Align, check out these excellent resources:

Enabling Services

All the services described in previous sections can still apply to a Phase Five enterprise because they should theoretically never stop growing and evolving. So, having expert help on hand to guide and facilitate that growth is invaluable.

At this stage, custom-tailored solutions can be devised to meet specific needs across the organization. The enterprise is experimenting, iterating, and constantly raising the bar. As a result, the services needed change over time, and trusted partners in key service areas are critical to success. From niche training and coaching opportunities to talent acquisition and outsourcing, Cprime experts are always available to support ongoing growth and maturity.

This article series includes excerpts from the free white paper, “The Five Phases of Enterprise Agility.” Download your free copy today.

What about YOUR journey?

As your trusty navigators, we’ve made an effort to lay out a clear and concise journey to Enterprise Agility. You can hopefully now judge what aspects will be easiest and most challenging for your organization. You should also have the information you need to decide which vehicles (tooling options) best suit your unique trip.

Now that we’ve mapped out the journey, what phase do you think your organization occupies right now? What do you think it will take to reach the next phase of Enterprise Agility?

We’d be honored to help you figure that out.

Contact Cprime today for more information on available services.

Read the Full Whitepaper: Five Phases of Enterprise Agility

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Maxwell Traers, Contributor
Maxwell Traers, Contributor