Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Communication Cadence - The Heartbeat of Scaled Agile

In my life as a business sponsor of software development programs I spent innumerable hours in program meetings - project status meetings, RAID meetings, Steering Committees, Governance meetings, “Come to Jesus meetings”, you name it. When I was appointed to my first role on the delivery side of the fence, I thought running these meetings was essential. After all every IT General Manager I had ever worked with followed this practice.

Everybody hated these meetings, particularly the three hour Monday morning Program Review. 25 people and a 100 page status report made for a long start to the week. The morning’s discussion would revolve around the true status of the Watermelon Projects (green on the outside and red on the inside) and the lack of action taken from one week to the next on the seemingly endless list of actions. From the day I inherited this meeting, coach +Mark Richards was on at me about getting rid of it.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Launching an Agile Release Train While Standing in a Waterfall

Some days I wonder if someone has put the EDW Release Train on a list of "must see" tourist attractions in Melbourne. We have a least two tour groups a month come and visit us to see how we have gone about scaling agile using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Some visitors are from within our company, others are from other IT shops in Melbourne, interstate or even occasionally from the US. Many of our local visitors are at the beginning of their agile journey and they always ask "Where should we start?". The answer, of course, is start where you are; which is exactly what we did.

Our implementation of SAFe occurred shortly following an organisational restructure in which I had been appointed to lead a newly formed organisation that was the amalgamation of three interwoven groups: two Program Management functions and a Solution Design & Build team that supplied people to the programs. These groups were also augmented with an outsourced offshore build and test capability. This newly consolidated EDW delivery organisation operated under multiple SDLCs - ranging from agile to waterfall, depending on which group was executing the delivery effort. For the sake of everyone's sanity, my first order of business was to settle on a single SDLC.