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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.

The Flight levels framework is a way of thinking and a way of understanding the organization that enables us to understand where in the organization we need to do what in order to achieve the results we are looking for. We want to understand how that change is going to map to some sort of substantive improvement and try to find the smallest possible thing to change in order to have the effect we are looking for. We do this by using five activities across three levels.

  • Visualize your Situation: What hinders and enables flow across your teams?
  • Create focus: Figure out what to focus on first, and how to decide for the future.
  • Establish agile interactions: Connect the appropriate people to the right topics, at the right time.
  • Measure the progress: Decide and Define how you will gauge improvement.
  • Operate and Collaboration Improve: Put what you are learning into action and use it to continuously improve.

Flight Levels scale your business

Who should take Flight Levels workshops?

This is intermediate-level training aimed at those working in the following roles:

  • Leadership
  • Middle and Senior Managers
  • Transformation Leaders
  • Enterprise Agile Coaches
  • Organizational Designers
  • Agile team-level coaches and trainers

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.

Value Stream Management Training

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 Levels Trainers Klaus Leopold & Craeg Strong


FL2D:Achieving Flow At Scale via Value Stream Management

This course helps you uncover the big levers for improvement and explores how you can practically apply them to your unique situation. We will focus on coordinating the flow of value across multiple teams in a Department, Tribe, Product, or Service area.

  • Are you battling with loads of dependencies, swamped by new requests, and planning the next cycle?
  • Under pressure from your customers and stakeholders to deliver faster?
  • Need to understand why your time to market isn’t meeting projected goals?
  • Do you need an agile transformation roadmap that everyone can use from project management to human resources?
  • Are you looking for agile coaching certification?

The main impediment to flow is a lack of interaction between your teams, not the agility of individual teams.

Flight Level Two Design training

FL3D: Organizational Strategy & Lean Portfolio Management

Build the missing links between Strategy and Operational Agility!

  • Lacking visibility into your strategic portfolio?
  • Finding out about problems and opportunities too late?
  • Struggling with People “resisting” your change programs?

This workshop will help you turn your strategy into action. Learn how to define effective outcomes and translate outcomes into action in a world of dependencies and specialists.

Organizational Strategy & Lean Portfolio Management

FLSA: Powering Agile Transformations with Enterprise Kanban

Business Agility involves the entire organisation. However, most agile implementations focus on only team-level agility. Flight Levels take agility beyond the team beyond the portfolio and into strategy.

Flight Levels Systems Architecture will help you:

  • Establish business agility beyond team boundaries
  • See how your organisation’s strategy is progressing
  • Know why any piece of work is important to your organisation’s strategy
  • Operationalise business strategy.
  • Effectively manage dependencies between teams and services/products
  • Know whether your organisation has the capacity to start a piece of work
Flight Levels 2 Design - Agile framework
ISO 27001:2013
Accredited Kanban Consultant
Scrum Foundation Educators Certification
Better Business Bureau Accreditation Ariel Partners

Copyright 2023 Ariel Partners. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2023 Ariel Partners. All rights reserved.