Monday, 22 July 2019

Baseline Metrics Before You Start

If you do nothing else before you launch your Agile Release Train (ART) baseline your metrics! At some point, in the not too distant future, you are going to be asked, how do you know your Agile Release Train is making a difference? For you the answer might be obvious - it just feels better. It was very much that way for me with my first ART. Metrics weren’t the first indicator that things were getting better, it was the changes in behaviour.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Understanding Cost in a SAFe World

In a textbook SAFe implementation, Lean Portfolio Management allocated a budget to each Value Stream and consequently each Agile Release Train (ART). The ART’s Product Manager works with the ART’s stakeholders to priorities the work that consumes that budget. The ART plans and executes against these priorities and no one worries about how much it costs to deliver any specific feature. However, there is often a difference between the ideal SAFe implementation and your current reality and one of those differences can be an expectation that the ART can articulate the cost of delivering a given feature. This is especially likely to be true if your ART is inside an organisation that still uses project based funding.

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.