Cohesion's Enterprise Agile Approach


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The Agile Manifesto was initially conceived by a group of leading-edge developers. From a developer's standpoint, it expresses what is fundamentally important in good software development.

Cohesion's Enterprise Agile captures the best components from the mainstream agile approaches to develop a consistent, repeatable, holistic framework to software development. We also include our learnings based on 10 years of tactical experience delivering agile projects. Together, the Cohesion Enterprise Agile framework tailors a proven approach for delivering projects to new products, legacy products, and more.

Come join us to understand more about Cohesion's Enterprise Agile. We will review a project through the lifecycle to understand the process, roles, and techniques that help deliver agile projects successfully.

Come listen for answers such as .
- Scrum doesn't include a project manager. Does that really lead to successful projects?
- Does the iteration really begin & end so crisply as Scrum promises?
- Is agile just cowboy development or is there some discipline?
- How can I reduce the cost of an 8-hour iteration planning meeting involving the whole team?

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  • Describe processScrum and other mainstream agile approaches focus on the “team”, product owner, and Scrummaster/Coach. EA has two roles that have proven valuable as we delivered agile projectsTech Lead. Reviewing the solution as a whole, meetings & coordination allowing other developers to deliver solution components, mentor, pair program. Overall, the Tech lead has less hands-on-keyboard time but provides a value-add to the projectIteration Manager, aka Agile PM. Scrum does not have a PM. Developers like developing. They do not have passion for issue & risk tracking, project reports, finances, and other items that are core to the PM skill set. The nice thing about the Iteration Manager is that they are able to do the core PM duties, more leading vs managing since the team is more managing itself
  • Again, Iteration 0 provides the lead time activities to really get the iteration going. Ensures that we have stories available on day-1 of Deliver for developers to start developing and QA to start test case planningWhen there is a ready-to-deploy decision, it’s not a flip of a switch. In large organizations, the release does not exist in a vacuum. There is coordination with other initiatives to ensure co-existence, dependencies, and more
  • Skim-read the paragraph.Process FlowThis can be a simple diagram, a To-Be, or Architectural drawing. This artifact should be nothing more than a visual tool for communicating and establishing contextBenefits include: help identify potential User Stories, identify dependences, begin the technical thought process, communicate a singular visionEmphasize Backlog (might be a new term for some)Emphasize release planningFormal review points – user stories (basis for solution) and arch doc. Why … These are the foundation of the solution. We want to build on a strong foundation; it can be expensive to fix a foundation if you have ever had any foundation problems for your housePost-req. Read & emphasize horizon. Just enough. Want to have enough work for everyone to start on day-1 of iteration. Decomposing that next iteration helps understand any lead-time activities that need to completed in this iteration
  • Skim-read paragraphsNightly check-ins promotes working on smaller pieces of working code. In addition, it allows continuous integration every day. Moreover, if you have teams across time zones, it provides a better foundation, clearer understand of the code base. This is an example of the discipline needed in agileConfirm direction etc … what we are talking about is continuous collaboration. The backlog and story as written might have some room for different solution approaches. Story intentDEV: here is the screen with all 20 fields. SME: Oh, I didn’t realize the user would need to scroll to see all the fields. DEV: Do you want me to separate into 2 tabs which would eliminate the scroll?SME: Yes, let’s add that storyStraight-forwardDEV: Is this best order to present these fields?SME: Let’s swap fields 1& 2 and move field 12 to the bottomDEV: Easy enough. Let’s add the storiesSME: By the way, these two fields are shown as text boxes but there are only a few choices. Let me get you the list of values and add related stories to the backlogSME: I don’t understand this error messageDEV: Here’s what I’m trying to communicateSME: Let’s add a story to reword it like thisDifference between Business & QA validation – T/F validation can be more easily changed by opinion & emotion. Put that closer to decision maker hands – Can you move field 5 to field 10. Yes I said red color but I want a different shade of redQA. Validation for robustness. A lot of exploratory, what-if scenario testingA user shouldn’t do this, but what happens when I do itThis field shouldn’t allow any specific characters because it will break x downstreamValidation for supportability - What errors are logged when I do thisEmphasize Backlog grooming. Scrum ask for day-1 of an iteration to be planning – think a team of 10 for 8 hours (80 hours). That’s expensive. Backlog grooming aims to optimize the iteration planning meeting. Backlog grooming pulls together a smaller team to do the prep work against new features, feedback, change controls, and such. In the end, you’re able to have an iteration planning meeting of 2-3 hours (more cost effective). In addition, developers and others usually do not like all day meetings.
  • Skim-ready paragraphCumulative solution. Let’s ensure what we delivered in week-1 still works as expected. We could have made other changes that affected it unexpectedlyAlso review the whole release (not in a vacuum). Co-existence testing of other changes for the productAgain, another example of the discipline of ensuring that all the pieces continue to workIn Release Prep … The team must also prepare the user community. The changes and timing will be communicated to all stakeholders. Training will be established and procedures will be updatedLearning … User procedure development and Training teams might not be at an agile pace. Of a 3 month release, month-3 is tight turn-around
  • Several of these meetings can be seen in the popular approaches to agile – stand-up, iteration planning, user review, retrospective.Cohesion EA sees value in a few other meetings – commitment, metrics review, backlog grooming, dry run, user story review, dry run
  • Backlog grooming is mid-week because it’s available. Many meetings early & late week, so mid-week is available to balance out meetings
  • Let’s say you have a project with the a roadmap to deliver features across 9 months, delivering to prod quarterly.
  • Skim-read paragraphRemember: An iteration alone can be defined as a project, according to PMI. Therefore a release can be considered a program of multiple, related projects. A “project” is a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product ,service, or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite beginning and end. The end if reached when the project’s objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated.” PMBOK 4thed p35
  • Other graphics might have given the illusion of moving from my release to another clean & crisp. In reality, continuous flow promotes overlap. Deploy activities don’t need 100% of the team, so the team is working on the next thing
  • Another way to look at the overlap. Notice the analyst in brown and QA in peach in relation to development. Click
  • Read Planning & VisioningSkim-read paragraph
  • Many mainstream agile approaches talk about a single metric – burndown of remaining vs complete.You can game a single metric. We believe in complementary metrics (from experience). Metrics that provide a little more insight into where to look nextRelease Burndown by status. Also targeted velocityRole Burndown with targeted velocity. The release burndown shows we are behind plan. Oh, I see that we are overwhelming QA so things are not moving to CompleteValue wheel resonates with stakeholders – where is my dollar being spent
  • Cohesion's Enterprise Agile Approach

    1. 1. Enterprise AgileProven ApproachJanuary 2012
    2. 2. Introducing Troy Professional Odds n Ends • Owns development and delivery of • Taught project mgmt at the graduate level Cohesions Agile Services • Trainer for 2 years for PMI • More than 17 years of IT experience accreditations (Program Mgmt, Risk spanning several industries and roles Certifications) • Over 4 years of experience focused on • 2012 Director of PMI Southwest PMI- ACP certification agile/iterative project delivery where "one size doesnt fit all” • Lives in Northern Ky with his wife Kelly, son Micah, and daughter Makenna • Notable success involves introducing agile at Fidelity Investments Midwest, Favorite business book resulting in improved customer • “What Got You Here, Won’t Get You satisfaction, cost avoidance, higher There” by Marshall Goldsmith employee satisfaction, and establishing a true team culture • Some of the behaviors that enable people to become successful can inhibit their ultimate rise to the top – Winning too much – Adding too much 877.774.3001
    3. 3. Proven Approach - Overview Define Deliver Deploy Iteration 0 Iteration 1-n IterationProcess •Project initiation •User story creation •Code migration •Project scoping •Solution development •Review cumulative solution •User story creation •Solution testing •Prepare user community •Architecture setup •Prod deployment Agile Coach Product Owner Iteration Manager Analyst •Drives process •Accountable for ROI •Servant leader •Creates user stories •Promotes transparency •Owns backlog •Facilitator •Collects new stories & •Defines “Done” •Removes impediments feedback •Produces status & metricsUsing Tech Lead Developers QA Business SME •Drives technical vision •Develop solution •Validates solution •Validates solution •Mentoring •Automates until test •Identifies defects •Ensures Ops Readiness •Addresses 877.774.3001
    4. 4. Proven Approach – Process Flow Define Deliver Deploy Iteration 0 Iteration 1-n Iteration Iteration Manager Release Backlog Iteration / Release Management Planning Analyst Process Backlog Backlog User Stories Final Review Release Prep Flow Grooming Technical Lead / Team Promote Validation Arch Environmental / Migrate to Revisions Develop to Doc Project Setup Staging & Defects Production Quality Assurance Automation Testing Manual Testing Stakeholder Subject Matter Expert (SME) 877.774.3001
    5. 5. Proven Approach Define Deliver Deploy•Existing process •List of desired After the project is approved, the Define iteration builds on the•System features project planning and visioning activities to provide a foundation for integration points •Relative priority•User interaction •Sizing success. This iteration 0 serves to kicked off the project. The team points •Assumptions is established who understands the process flows and decomposes the first set of stories from the backlog.Process Flow Backlog Architecture planning provides the solution guide to meet governance and compliance standards. This planning and understanding the backlog will help prepare the environment, tools, and training•Backlog •Backlog for needed.•Continuous flow requirements•Identify next •Design iteration scope & •Process flow The cadence framework is also established. This allows for decompose •Assumptions continuous flow through the activities.Release Requirements and design are also collected for Automated testing, User StoriesPlanning providing the if/then/else structure for unit and integration level testing•Infrastructure •Environment Pre-requisites Post-requisites constraints setup•System •Establish team • Approved project • Established team integration points •Tool setup • Goals & objectives • Completed initial project•Technical vision • Success criteria setupsArchitecture Project • Initial backlog • Decomposed backlog for nextDocument Setup 1-2 iterations (horizon) Contract consideration for formal client 877.774.3001
    6. 6. Proven Approach Define Deliver DeployThe Deliver phase is the iterative •Drive cadence •Provide solution Backlog grooming will use project •Measures & Metrics against user stories & learnings to collect and revisephase where the solution is built and •Issue Mgmt architecture doc stories. Story content, priorities, and •Change Mgmt •Unit & integrationvalidated. tests estimates could be adjusted. •Status Reporting •Blocker RemovalDevelopment works on the stories The team continues to decomposetagged for this iteration, taking into Iteration stories for the iteration horizon until Development Mgmt there is a launch decision.consideration dependencies,priorities, and risk. Code is checked- A single Deliver iteration producesin nightly to support quality process. deployable, production ready code. •Collect new stories •Scenario definition The launch decision can occur •Adjust existing stories •Development/ •Re-prioritize Configuration after just a single iteration.Development with BA, Business, •Execute regularly •Re-sizeand QA confirm direction, options,and clarifications. Pre-requisites Backlog Automated • Completed initial projectAutomated test scripts and tools Grooming Testing setupsare used to constantly review quality • Decomposed backlog forthrough continuous integration. •Scenario definition current iteration •Test case creation &Development delivers and migrates execution Post-requisitesthe solution to the test environment •Exploratory testingfor validation. The Business will • Validated solution tovalidate the story intent and the evaluate “is this enough tostraight-forward pieces. QA Manual launch” – launch-ready Testing • Decomposed backlog for nextvalidation will focus on integration,supportability, and robustness. 1-2 877.774.3001
    7. 7. Proven Approach Define Deliver Deploy •Final review of •Coordinate prod The Deploy iteration recognizes a decision that the release is cumulative install launch-ready. This iteration focuses on the final validation and solution planning activities to support a production implementation. The solution is moved to the final validation environment, which is Final Release usually the most production-like. The team has the opportunity for a Review Prep final review of the cumulative solution. Technical implementation prep activities will include acquiring an •Install code base •Collect feedback prod outage window, building implementation schedule, planning •Review •Collect defects validation, and obtaining install day resources. This will also include portability •Address both education and hand-off to the production support team. •Review install notes Ultimately this leads to a GO decision for implementation. Validation Revisions Migrate was successful. Planning and preparation was satisfactory. The team & Defects performs the production implementation and validation. Pre-requisites Post-requisites • Launch-ready decision • Solution implemented into production • With funding, continue with next set of prioritized stories • Prepare user 877.774.3001
    8. 8. Iteration Cadence The cadence must be structured, repeatable and communicated so everyone understands whats expected of them and when. Cohesion recommends the following cadence for a project with a two week iteration cycle. For a new Agile team, these are easier to inspect, review and realign. As a team matures and they find their rhythm, it might make sense to expand OR constrict the length of the Iterations. In short, a team can’t go to far off the rails in two weeks. Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday FridayWeek 1 Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Iteration Planning Metrics Review Backlog Grooming User Story Review CommitmentWeek 2 Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Commitment Metrics Review Backlog Grooming User Story Review User Review Dry Run for Review 877.774.3001
    9. 9. Flow of an Iteration Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Week 1 Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Iteration Planning Metrics Review Backlog Grooming User Story Review Commitment Week 2 Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Stand-up Commitment Metrics Review Backlog Grooming User Story Review User Review Dry Run for Review RetrospectiveStand-up: Daily 15 minute information sharing meeting User Story Review: BA reviews user story with SME, Tech where each team member shares activities for yesterday, Lead, and QA Lead. User story is a collection of related today, and any roadblocks. Not a status meeting or task stories outlining how the system will respond to user check-off meeting activitiesIteration Planning: Team determines the user stories for Dry Run for User Review: Team review of solution before this iteration that will be shown at next user review. Takes SMEs. Allows for adjustments before user review into account allocations, estimates, and risk User Review: Team with the Business review the deliveredCommitment: Team commits to a set of stories to deliver solution. Defects and new stories are collected. Serves as that week a catalyst for continued user testing outside of the meetingMetrics Review: Review metrics and the implications to Retrospective: Continuous improvement approach to collect meeting commitments process feedback (good & bad) with a short list ofBacklog Grooming: Review and prioritize new & adjusted actionable items for next iteration backlog stories. Usually feedback from user 877.774.3001
    10. 10. Test Your Knowledge Match the meeting to its timing Daily Early Mid Late Stand-up Iteration Planning Commitment Why is backlog User Review grooming mid week? Retrospective Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Week 1 Week 877.774.3001
    11. 11. Breaking Down the Work Project Release Release Release Iteration Iteration Iteration … A project is broken down into releases. A release is broken down into iterations. Iterations contain stories which are decomposed into tasks. Ultimately, this all supports delivering a business need. An Iteration is a stand alone project. In Cohesions Enterprise Agile approach an Iteration is 2 to 3 weeks long. By breaking working in Iterations it’s easier to inspect, solicit feedback, and make course 877.774.3001
    12. 12. Flow of a Release Define Deliver Iteration 0 Iteration 1 Deliver A Release is a collection of iterations towards delivering Iteration 2 the solution to production. It provides a container for Deliver forecasting , budgeting, and trending. Iteration 3 The decision to deploy can Deliver be made after any iteration. A release deploys at least Iteration 4 every 3 months to maintain the proper balance of “enough features to launch”, time to Deliver Deploy market, and implementation Iteration n costs. 1-3 weeks 2-3 weeks each 1-3 weeks 877.774.3001
    13. 13. Flow of a Project Define Deliver Deploy Define Deliver Deploy Release 1 Define Deliver Deploy Release 2 Define Deliver Release 3 Release … Project A Project is a collection of releases to meet a desired objective or goal. It serves as a master container for forecasting and budgeting. When one release deploys, the next release can be defined in parallel – providing continuous flow from release to release. Not 100% of the staff will be needed for deployment activities. Deploy stage is heavy allocation for QA but less for Iteration Manager, BA, and 877.774.3001
    14. 14. Releases A Release contains a predetermined number of Iterations. It begins with the development of the first Iteration and concludes with finalized code being successfully deployed to production. It is not uncommon for Releases to overlap. THE MULTIPLE RELEASE: RELEASE RELEASE RELEASE 1 2 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 1/2 2 2 2 2 2/3 3 3 3 3 1 1 1 1 1 FZ 2 2 2 2 FZ 3 3 3 3 FZ Freeze Project Approval Development Analysts should always be at least an Iteration ahead of Manual Development and QA never more than one Iteration behind Scope Definition Quality Assurance Analyst 877.774.3001
    15. 15. Proven Approach – Life of a Feature Feature Brainstorm Decompose Deliver Approved features solution Business into stories Case Product Planning & Vision & Balance Collect Roadmap Visioning breadth & feedback & depth defectsFeatures are large rocks to be broken down intomanageable pieces. Before any coding, the directionalsolution can be validated using process flows understandingsystem and user interactions and wireframes/screen mock- Attributes of a Story:ups to review visual components. These elements help derive U nderstandableuser stories following U-INVEST structure. I ndependent N egotiableThere will be additional stories and feedback. Need to balance V aluableaddressing these(depth) while continuing to make progress on E stimatableall features (breadth) against one resource pool S mall T 877.774.3001
    16. 16. Proven Approach – Status & MetricsIteration and Release Plan (IRP) - The IRP is the decomposed Backlog withpriorities, estimates, status, and other metric tracking elements Value Wheel – A graphical depiction of where project effort, and dollars, are being spent New 24% Burndown – A graphical representation of how a Defects project has progressed from week to week 7% Original 69% 300.00 250.00 Complete 200.00 Dev Complete 150.00 100.00 In Progress 50.00 Remaining Status reporting for a feature is tracked by four 0.00 Targeted Velocity 8/28 9/18 10/9 10/30 11/20 “Done” milestones – Requirements Done, Prototype Done (first user-facing solution), QA Done, and User Done. True or False. No % complete. Status is supported by several metrics and tools with the major tools shown 877.774.3001
    17. 17. Project Metrics : An Example of Things Going Well Why this is Good: • Velocity and deliver trends are consistent • Project scope never exceeded team forecasted velocity • Rework was below 20% 877.774.3001
    18. 18. Project Metrics : An Example of Things Going Bad Why? Why this is Bad: • Project never achieves predictable velocity. • Refactoring and planning is inconsistent. • More scope then available velocity, business is slow to respond • $.31 on every dollar in this Release went to fix an avoidable 877.774.3001
    19. 19. Troy Bitter 513.407.9996 877.774.3001