Agile Executive Briefing - Situational Assessment + 50k Ft View


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The first part of this presentation is a situational assessment of typical challenges in IT project delivery using the SCRAP (Situation, Complication, Resolution, Action, Proof) model. This is essentially a business case for Agile. So if you are looking for ways to get buy-in for Agile, this is the place to be.

The second part of this presentation shows you what Agile is from 50,000 ft. From this high up, we'll be covering the essential elements from a business and management perspective. We'll cover what Agile is, what it does, how it works and what it achieves.

If you are interested in learning or communicating the value of Agile, then this is the presentation for you!

Please email me if you would like a download.

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  • Agile Executive Briefing - Situational Assessment + 50k Ft View

    1. 1. Agile Executive Briefing: Situational Assessment and 50,000 ft view of Agile Michael Sahota October, 2009
    2. 2. Michael has been doing Agile for 8 years including senior leadership roles B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science M.Sc. in Computer Science Companies I have worked at … Universities I learned at …
    3. 3. There are two distinct parts to this talk: Assessment and Overview <ul><li>Part I: Situational Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Situation </li></ul><ul><li>Complication </li></ul><ul><li>Resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Action </li></ul><ul><li>Proof </li></ul><ul><li>Part II: 50,000 ft view of Agile </li></ul><ul><li>What is Agile? </li></ul><ul><li>What does Agile do? </li></ul><ul><li>How does Agile work? </li></ul><ul><li>What does Agile achieve? </li></ul>
    4. 4. Situational Assessment Part I
    5. 5. Situation Exercise: What problems do your organizations face with project delivery?
    6. 6. 2009 Standish Group report shows problems delivering projects Graphic Copyright Standish Group
    7. 7. Much effort on software is wasted Graphic Copyright Duncan Kinchen
    8. 8. Business satisfaction is low… <ul><li>Uncertain when their project will be delivered </li></ul><ul><li>Projects are not responsive to the changing needs of the business: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>By the time the project is delivered, needs may have changed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small high value business request cannot be accommodated </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Complication
    10. 10. #1 – Focus is on delivering projects and not on building lasting products and teams <ul><li>Project outlook is common with a focus on only on the next delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Product and people are usually around for the long term </li></ul><ul><li>Activities critical for sustainability are ignored or inadequate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff capability, knowledge sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality of code, design and architecture </li></ul></ul>Don’t kill the goose! Image by
    11. 11. #2 – Often too much work and no time to do things right <ul><li>Project team members often working on several different projects or have activities that compete for their time </li></ul><ul><li>Highly skilled people (architects, DBA’s) are often unable to fully support projects </li></ul><ul><li>All of this makes it harder to follow practices needed for sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Of course, there is no time for innovation or process improvements </li></ul>Image by
    12. 12. Resolution
    13. 13. Resolution #1: Deep IT and business partnership to prioritize work <ul><li>Structure the work into small deliverables so work quality and completeness can be assessed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows changing priorities with low impact </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on most important work first </li></ul><ul><li>Use a transparent process so that rate of progress is visible </li></ul><ul><li>Work can be prioritized based on importance (business value, risk, sustainability) </li></ul>
    14. 14. Resolution #2: Long-term view to invest in people and products <ul><li>Investment in the team, technology and process has a long time horizon </li></ul><ul><li>Use stable teams to manage product lines over the long term </li></ul><ul><li>Team members fully committed to one initiative supports focus and commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Creates the opportunity to grow high-performance teams since membership is stable </li></ul>
    15. 15. Action
    16. 16. Action #1: Create stable teams around product lines for long-term view <ul><li>Form cross-functional teams around each product line with BAs, developers, testers, architects, DBAs </li></ul><ul><li>Build technical skills needed for quality work (code, design, architecture, testing) through training and mentoring </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This includes eXtreme Programming practices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustained success requires a commitment to learning and improving </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Support shift to a communicating and learning culture </li></ul>
    17. 17. Action #2: Adopt Agile to manage the process and facilitate prioritization <ul><li>Adopt Agile/Scrum process practices for the product team </li></ul><ul><li>The Product Backlog becomes the repository of all work to be done by this team </li></ul><ul><li>Work can be prioritized with all stakeholders and aligned to business strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Let the business lead! </li></ul>
    18. 18. Proof
    19. 19. Proof: Agile adoption survey results demonstrate significant benefits Productivity Business Stakeholder Satisfaction Quality Graphics Copyright 2008 Scott W. Ambler Source: 2008 Dr. Dobbs adoption survey
    20. 20. QSMA Study of Agile Projects shows Agile is faster with better quality <ul><li>Companies using Agile were on average: </li></ul><ul><li>37% faster delivering their software to market </li></ul><ul><li>16% more productive </li></ul><ul><li>Able to maintain normal defect counts despite significant schedule compression </li></ul><ul><li>From “ The Agile Impact Report” (sponsored by Rally) . </li></ul><ul><li>QSMA benchmarked 29 Agile development projects against a database of 7,500 primarily traditional development projects. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Largest procurer of software in the world prefers an Agile approach <ul><li>U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest and most experienced procurer of software </li></ul><ul><li>In 2000, after years of learning, identified evolutionary delivery (Agile) as the preferred approach over Waterfall </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Made official policy in DoD 5000.2 </li></ul></ul>
    22. 22. 50,000ft view of Agile Part II
    23. 23. What is Agile?
    24. 24. Agile consists of values, principles and practices <ul><li>Values – People learning and working together </li></ul><ul><li>Principles – Ways of working effectively: Feedback, small steps, quality work, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>@see: </li></ul><ul><li>Practices – a set of work practices/process that follow the values and principles: Scrum, XP, etc. </li></ul>
    25. 25. What does Agile do?
    26. 26. Adaptive planning approach that incorporates learning and new priorities <ul><li>Agile allows plans to be updated base on new information (delays, unplanned work, challenges, opportunities) </li></ul><ul><li>It uses empirical control to guide the work to the highest priority items </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can respond to new business priorities too </li></ul></ul>
    27. 27. Completing work in small increments allows for transparency and feedback <ul><li>Work is done in small work packages (Stories, feature fragments) so that they may be completed in a short time frame </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent inspection of work makes the true progress visible to all </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Incomplete work is visible </li></ul></ul>Photo from
    28. 28. Creates the opportunity to develop high-performance teams <ul><li>Treats people as knowledge workers (Drucker) to maximize their contribution to the organization </li></ul><ul><li>Fosters a high communication and collaborative environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creates safety to express ideas, talk about problems and ask for help </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Retrospectives support ongoing learning </li></ul>
    29. 29. Increased quality allows the team to go faster and not slow down over time <ul><li>Focus on completing work each increment improves quality level </li></ul><ul><li>Technical practices lead to substantially higher quality levels </li></ul><ul><li>Prevents a “dead core” where productivity falls and changes are unpredictable </li></ul>Photo from
    30. 30. How does Agile work?
    31. 31. The Product Backlog allows shared prioritizing and planning <ul><li>Product Backlog is a prioritized list of all the work that needs to be done </li></ul><ul><li>Work is prioritized based on business value, risk and effort </li></ul><ul><li>Used to build a release plan with target scope and target date </li></ul><ul><li>Updated as new information arrives </li></ul>
    32. 32. Iteration ensures frequent planning, evaluating and adapting
    33. 33. Self-organizing team supports shared responsibility and ownership <ul><li>Scrum proscribes a cross-functional team with all the skills needed to deliver work </li></ul><ul><li>The team is collectively responsible for completing the planned work so there is a strong incentive for delivering working software </li></ul><ul><li>Structure allows people to focus on what they do best and help out other team members to meet the Iteration goals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Load sharing prevents bottlenecks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Team members are in the best position to see what’s going on and take action </li></ul>
    34. 34. Technical practices improve quality to allow teams to go faster <ul><li>Write acceptance tests first </li></ul><ul><li>Automated testing </li></ul><ul><li>Continuous integration (automated builds) </li></ul><ul><li>Shared code ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Ongoing refactoring </li></ul><ul><li>Pairing for mentoring and quality work </li></ul>
    35. 35. Retrospectives allow teams to leverage learning to get better over time <ul><li>At the end of an iteration the team meets to hold a retrospective </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Safe input and observations on what worked and what didn’t </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brainstorming on action items to improve the next iteration (or add stories in the Product Backlog) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Teams get more productive over time </li></ul><ul><li>Like a project post-mortem, but do it while the patient is still alive </li></ul>
    36. 36. What does Agile achieve?
    37. 37. Agile enables business to incrementally drive the delivery of valuable software <ul><li>Way for IT and business to partner effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Allow business to drive delivery of value </li></ul><ul><li>Most valuable software is delivered first </li></ul><ul><li>Low-cost approach to change </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency into delivery </li></ul><ul><li>Grow high-performance teams </li></ul>
    38. 38. What questions do you have?