Thursday, 31 January 2019

Weighted Velocity: An Approach to Addressing the Impact of Planned and Unplanned Leave on Yesterday’s Weather

Over the past few years much has been written and tweeted about the evils of agile estimation (#noestimates). There has also been much consternation amongst agilists with respect to SAFe’s normalized estimation approach. However, for most of my large enterprise clients the need to estimate for the purposes of planning is a practical necessity and SAFe’s normalised estimation is a useful tool, when used as intended.  Given this, I have chosen to put the debates about the evils of estimation and normalized story points to one side and instead focus on how we might be able to help teams and Agile Release Trains (ARTs) become more predictable by improving their approach to forecasting using velocity, where velocity is defined as the number of story points delivered by a team or train in a sprint or program increment.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Podcast: Why Agile Transformations Fail


At the inaugural SAFe Regional Summit in Munich, I was luck enough to chat with Gez Smith about Why Agile Transformations Fail (and what you can do to prevent it...) We discuss whether lean is Japanese, the role of discipline in an agile adoption and the tension between discipline and autonomy, the potential inter-relationship of liberalism and agile, the need for an initial suspension of disbelief, and how every compromise you make at the start you are doomed to repeat forever.

Check it out the podcast here.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Monday, 4 September 2017

Live from Agile2017

At Agile 2017 I  led a session at Agile called “The ART of avoiding a Train Wreck”, which offered guidance on how to better plan Agile Release Trains in Scaled Agile Framework. After which I had an opportunity to chat with Dave Prior about the session, and my book “Tribal Unity: Getting from Teams to Tribes by Creating a One Team Culture”.




Thursday, 31 August 2017

SAFe from the Trenches @ Agile Australia

In June, Context Matters partnered with Scaled Agile Inc. to sponsor the 9th Agile Australia conference. Included in this sponsorship arrangement was an opportunity to deliver a product demonstration to conference attendees. Given Scaled Agile Inc. are the creators of the Scaled AgileFramework and Context Matters are their premium implementation partner in Australia, what better “product” to demonstrate than some of Australia’s most successful SAFe implementations?

So, we gathered together executives from the Australian Tax Office, Yarra Valley Water, ANZ, Attache and Westpac to discuss their warts and all experiences with the Scaled Agile Framework. Here is what happened...


Moderator:  Today we're here with a panel; Damien Hobbin, Julianne Sykes, David Norris, Sam Kline and David Webb. Thank you very much for joining us.

They're in the trenches. They're doing SAFe. They're implementing SAFe. We all know there are lots of rumours and opinions out there. So they're going to try and help us determine fact from fiction. 

I'm going to start out with a couple of questions to the panel. Then we'll open it up to questions from the audience. First I'd like you to introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about your SAFe journey and where you are in it.

David Webb (Westpac):  Okay I can start. My name is Dave Webb. I'm from Westpac Bank. We've been running SAFe in Westpac for about three years now. I've been involved with most of the Release Trains that we've launched along the way. I'm currently the Product Manager for our trains delivering an Enterprise DevOps platform for the group.    

David Norris (Attaché):  G'day, my name is Dave Norris. I work for a company called Attache Software. We've been around for a while doing Payroll and Accounting software.  I was first introduced to SAFe at IAG, in a large programme of work there. I joined Attache to roll SAFe out through the company, at least through the IT side of the company there. So starting from scratch and trying to get buy-in is a lot of the pain points I went through. It's succeeding. We’re about two years into our SAFe journey.

Sam Kline (ANZ):  My name is Sam. I come from ANZ. I run the Analytics and Insights team there. We're just coming up to our 12 month anniversary for our SAFe rollout. We have one, Agile Release Train. We started with about 60 people on shore. We're now about 70 people on shore and 40 people off shore in Chengdu. Plus we've got about 20 to 30 partner people running with us. So we're roughly 130, 140 people in our Release Train.   

It's been a pretty amazing journey over that 12 months. Lots of war stories. Lots of personal learning, as we've gone through that. Both myself, our leadership team and the people actually on the Train. There's a few of them here as well.  It's been a fascinating story and a pretty amazing 12 months.

Julianne Sykes (Yarra Valley Water): My name is Julianne. I work at Yarra Valley Water. My role there is Manager Portfolio Delivery, and I'm currently the acting CIO.  Our SAFe journey is twelve  months old. We've just completed our fourth PI Planning Event. We have one train, with about 120 people. We deliver the entire ICT delivery programme for Yarra Valley Water. All of our major enterprise applications, we are enhancing and modifying and developing through SAFe and Agile.    

It's been a really good journey for us and I'm looking forward to sharing our stories with you.

Damien Hobbin (ATO):  Hi, I'm Damien Hobbin. I'm an IT executive with ATO. I head up a Digital Delivery team looking after the  some of the key retail offerings for the ATO, hopefully you've heard of some of them - ATO Online, MyTax, which I hoped you've used. If you haven't I encourage you to.  I'm also a champion and advocate of what we call Agile HQ. It's about driving enterprise agility, and  how we drive agility not just through IT but across the organisation.    

We've been on our SAFe journey for close to three years now. I've been hands on with three Release Trains and there's at least eight in the ATO. It's been an interesting journey and quite a ride. We've got a lot of information to share with you, equally as we  also  share our learnings and ideas across Government as well.  We're seen within Government services as one of the leading adopters of Agile and SAFe in particular, so I'm here to happily answer any questions that you've got.