Agile Consulting

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Whether it’s enterprise software, connected devices, medical technology, machine learning applications, or the latest mobile app, product development teams are competing against time.

Each stage of creating new products, from strategic plans, to concepts on a road map, to project selection, to execution, all take time, and your team is on the clock. Shaving even a small amount out of one of these phases creates competitive advantage. Any toolset that cuts time, while increasing learning and innovation, provides an edge. 

Our approach to Agile is oriented towards large scale transformation that typically moves multiple teams into new ways of working, while creating a management culture that supports this new approach to product development. The results of our work is quantifiable as demonstrated by better decision making, higher team velocities, and more predictable delivery. One client said “We are making better decisions, faster”.

Agile Consulting involves a transformation where organizations gain that edge by mastering:

  • Rapid iterations, which accelerate innovation

  • Continuous customer feedback, which maximizes delight

  • Constant measurement, which ensures teams are on the right track

Where we differ from others is that we understand deeply the management issues and culture of the organization. Then, in a dialog with senior leadership, we define the key results that they would like to achieve. We then craft a customized approach to the Agile Transformation, guiding organizations to a selected application of Agile ceremonies, processes, and scrum approaches. We call this small ‘a’ Agile.

 

Speed products to market by applying select practices from the Agile toolkit

 
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John Carter has been a widely respected adviser to technology firms over his career. John is the author of Innovate Products Faster: Graphical Tools for Accelerating Product Development. As Founder and Principal of TCGen Inc., he has advised some of the most revered technology firms in the world, including Abbott, Amazon, Apple, BOSE, Cisco, Fitbit, HP, IBM, Roche.

At BOSE, TCGen founder John Carter managed the development of products such as the BOSE® Wave® Music System and Noise-Cancelling Headphones, enjoyed by millions of customers world-wide. In addition, John designed and implemented the Apple New Product Process (ANPP) which is used throughout all product divisions.  With over 25 years of consulting experience in light weight, iterative processes, John has developed an expertise in applying selected tools from the Agile software kit to other types of products. TCGen’s approach to Agile for tangible products enables clients to get closer to customers and increase velocity.

TCGen’s Agile consulting transformations typically involve a thorough assessment of your organization’s needs, defining the problem, and how select tools from the Agile kit might solve them. We then identify a small number of the most effective levers of improvement drawing from the scrum methodologies and other best practices. We work with teams and management to create custom solutions to address a focused set of challenges. TCGen then works with you to create and deliver a sequenced series of steps, targeting the most important levers of improvement. 

This inch wide, mile deep approach creates results quickly. TCGen then monitors the behavioral change over time to see that it is taking hold using the Predictive Metrics methodology to manage change by measuring behavior. We use the feedback we receive over time to fine tune metrics as needed. 

 

Agile isn’t just for software anymore.

Our research involving over twenty implementations of Agile, and our client experience show that these objections are easily countered with a flexible approach that selects only the portions of Agile that work for your company. 

Most of the tenets of the Agile Manifesto are not software-specific. Unfortunately, myths about Agile hinder adoption. We’ve heard all the usual objections: “Applying Agile is all or nothing,” “You must be able to ship every two weeks,” “Agile and Waterfall/Milestone are mutually exclusive.”

Our experience shows that the benefits software firms realize from Agile are a result of applying a remarkably small number of practices. Many teams are surprised to find that the benefits of Agile rely largely – and unexpectedly – on restraining functional authority over teams. If you prioritize product teams over the functions you’re well on your way to agility. Any company or function, from medical devices to consumer electronics, and from finance to HR, can become Agile and reap the rewards. 

TCGen’s approach includes:

 
  • A lightweight process that manages the day-to-day decisions that move and filter product concepts as they make their way toward the pipeline

  • A yearly strategic planning process for product innovation.

  • A methodology that aligns the Board, the CEO, Business Development and the rest of the C-Suite.  

 

TCGen’s Agile consulting and Agile transformation expertise addresses a range of problems… 

 
  • Too many successful companies create a hostile environment for new product concepts. Companies move to eradicate them like antibodies attacking a virus. Agile companies use Sprints to quickly discover the core innovation that makes good products into market winners by showing the product concepts to customers and iterating them based on feedback. Having an Agile environment allows larger companies to nurture the best ideas – to rapidly prototype and iterate, gaining competitive advantage over less nimble competitors. 

  • As companies grow and programs multiply, discipline can erode. Operational measures as well as predictive metrics to drive specific behaviors instill discipline and encourage continuous improvement as businesses mature. It takes small steps and steady discipline to keep the culture of a company intact – or to improve the culture as the need arises. 

  • Companies that are facing disruptive innovators – or that want to become disruptive – will benefit from the rapid iteration and faster innovation that follows Agile consulting engagements. We often apply principles of Agile to Portfolio Management to help companies identify breakthrough opportunities and nurture them effectively.

  • Many companies are looking enviously at the benefits of Agile but do not know where to start. We have discovered that a selected and modified set of Ceremonies, Rituals and Roles can create Agile organizations without conflict, and with many of the benefits realized by Software. 

Customized Solutions

Whether you are large or small, a start-up or an established firm, we develop the project plan along with you to create an engagement that achieves measurable product development goals. 

Assessment & Planning

Our proprietary assessment process yields deep insights for your team. We identify the root causes behind the product portfolio management challenges you face and develop solutions that improve your ability to select winners and allocate resource to projects.

Predictive Metrics

Expertise in metrics is a hallmark of TCGen. We rely on measurement to motivate change and monitor progress. We measure the right behaviors to ensure that the changes take hold and continue to produce lasting results.

Sustainable Best Practices

Your investment in TCGen earns increased organizational capability. We not only implement Best Practices but we also teach you how to build on the improvements so that your company is prepared for the next challenge.

We’re making better decisions, faster
— Apple Executive
 

Improve the speed, quality, reliability predictability of new product development.

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