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What is Flight Levels?

Flight Levels is an exciting new Agile framework that is elegantly simple, yet comprehensive enough to address the entire enterprise. Using the flight levels framework, organizations can reduce their time to market, identify and capitalize on new business opportunities, understand their capacity to take on new work, measure the possible impact of new initiatives, and identify the places where adding new resources will give them the highest leverage.

Flight Levels | 5 Activities

1 Visualize situation

2 Create focus

3 Establish agile interactions

4 Measure progress

5 Improve

Source: Flight Levels Academy

How can it do all this?

By helping us visualize the way workflows throughout the enterprise using three lenses. The flight level model recognizes that we need three “viewpoints” for managing our work:

  • Flight level three, or the strategy level,
  • Flight level two, or the coordination level, and
  • Flight level one, or the team level

This does not mean we have exactly three Kanban boards. Instead, it recognizes that the means to visualize and manage work differs in important quantitative and qualitative ways depending upon whether you are managing organizational strategy, coordinating work across a value stream, or working within an operational team.

Business Agility with Agile Framework

Why does this help?

Because the flight levels framework enables us to apply systems thinking to the overall organization, avoiding local optimization. This helps us avoid a common problem with agile transformations, namely, focusing on improving team results rather than business outcomes. Until we can effectively connect operational efforts with business strategy, we cannot effectively understand how our operational-level efforts help or hinder that strategy. Flight levels solve this problem in an elegantly simple way.

When we work at the strategic level articulating our strategies and evaluating hypotheses, deciding which initiatives to start first or whether we need to pivot– we have fundamentally different concerns than when we are working at the operational team level. Coordinating among teams, reserving capacity, and understanding bottlenecks between teams also require different tools and mindsets. While some Agile frameworks hint at this difference, none provide effective and simple toolkits to address them effectively. By contrast, Flight Levels provide a simple and clear way to connect strategy to execution—facilitating alignment and enabling innovation to occur at every level. Unlike complex and prescriptive frameworks, Flight Levels fit in smoothly with your existing processes like Scrum or Kanban and can be adopted quickly and incrementally.

Participants will come away with a new perspective on scaling Agile that they can apply immediately, no matter which Agile framework(s) their organization is using.

Flight Levels help you

  • Understand and manage your flow, between teams
  • Connect your levels to each other, creating a shared focus
  • Keep the collective focus on delivering your Company Strategy

As a result, you can

  • See your capacity in real-time. With appropriate detail on each level.
  • Measure the outcomes, not just outputs, and gauge progress toward Strategic Goals.
  • Teams can see how operational work connects to strategy. Leaders see how Strategy connects to Reality.

Comparison to other Agile Frameworks

  • Flight levels are neither vague nor overly prescriptive.
  • Unlike many Agile frameworks, Flight levels can be used by the entire company—it is non-IT specific.
  • Flight Levels happily co-exists with Scrum and/or Kanban, as well as LeSS or Nexus.
  • Flight Levels are relatively simple to learn.
  • Flight Levels do not require specialized tools. Physical whiteboards, digital whiteboards, or Agile lifecycle management tools work well.
  • Flight Levels can be used as an effective and accelerated way to introduce the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

Click Here to Learn more about the Flight Levels Training we offer here at Ariel Partners

Flight Level Two Design training
Flight Levels 2 Design - Agile framework
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Copyright 2022 Ariel Partners. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2020 Ariel Partners. All rights reserved.