The Simple Lean-Agile Mindset (SLAM) - dummies

The Simple Lean-Agile Mindset (SLAM)

Part of Enterprise Agility For Dummies Cheat Sheet

According to a Gartner study, most organizations use one of the top enterprise agile frameworks to help with their agile transformations. These top frameworks include Disciplined Agile (DA), Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS), Kanban, the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®), and the Spotify Engineering Culture. You may notice a lot of overlap between these frameworks. They have different names for many of the practices, and some of the emphasis is different, but they all share a common theme.

The Simple Lean-Agile Mindset (SLAM), illustrated in the following figure, is a conceptual construct I created for understanding how agile enterprises function regardless of which enterprise agile framework they adopt. Think of SLAM as an overall description of a game, such as Monopoly, and look at the enterprise agile frameworks as various ways to play the game. SLAM is a high-level view of what the different enterprise agile frameworks and practices are trying to accomplish.


As shown in the figure, SLAM breaks down agility into four areas:

  • System-level optimization: A collection of eight methods for improving the way people work alone and together in an organization to achieve any given objective and to engage in continuous improvement.
  • Strategic vision and execution: The organization’s unifying vision, along with the three-step process for executing that vision: (1) Break it down, (2) prioritize, and (3) pull work into the teams.
  • Empirical process control: The system for ensuring continuous improvement: (1) Deliver in small batches and (2) gather and respond to feedback.
  • Business agility: The extension of agility throughout an organization. While enterprise agility focuses on product delivery, business agility makes every part of the organization more lean and agile, including human resources, accounting, marketing, sales, purchasing, and production. Small teams, autonomous but aligned, work toward delivering the highest value to the customer and to the organization.