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How to Scale
Agile

Holly Green
Principal Business Analyst, REI
November 2013
“If you want a kitten, start out by
asking for a horse.”
- Naomi, age 15
Holly Green
• Principal Business Analyst, Recreational
Equipment Inc. (REI)
• 13+ yrs. Software Industry experience
• Advi...
Objectives
• Identify and bridge gaps in planning
• Scale agile using techniques from SAFe1
• Build partnerships for succe...
The situation
• 3 years iterating on Agile Portfolio
Management
• Expanded Portfolio Management from one
person to 5 teams...
We were herding cats!
Situation Statement
immature
communication channels between numerous large
divisions and competing views on how to best ad...
The Inspection
• ‘Connect the dots’ team initiated
• After 3 years we were:
 Successfully using kanban to visualize Busin...
The adjustment
• Discovered Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
– Helps us meet our goals to:
• Establish scaled agile release p...
What we did
• Leveraged techniques from SAFe1
– Portfolio Vision
– Architectural Runway
– Agile Release Train
– Release Pl...
Started at the Program Level
Portfolio

Program


www.scaledagileframework.com

Team
Agile Release Train
• Quarterly release planning off sites
• To prepare:
– Aligned Product Owners with the Business
– POs ...
Release Planning in Action
GOAL: Examine opportunities across teams to detect
conflicts, dependencies, and risks. Make nec...
Planning Together
Doesn’t leave
communication
to chance

Produces plans
we believe in!

Empowers
everyone with
more knowle...
Adding on the Portfolio Level
Portfolio




Program

www.scaledagileframework.com

Team
Our Portfolio was Overwhelming
Portfolio: More than a list of requests
• Key Initiatives map to investment themes and
strategies
• To support the vision,...
Keep on Track
• Intake Process:
– Raise the price of admission
• Single entrance point
• Stricter requirements
The Price of Admission
Manage Change
• ‘Spike’ for more information
– Plan time to learn
•
•
•
•
•

Understand scope
Reduce risk
Uncover impedime...
Now that scale is accounted for…

Our cats are more aligned
Areas of Opportunity
• Improve report-out on progress and changes
to plan
• Better plan how to facilitate work that crosse...
Could you do this?
• Consider:
– How you could partner across the enterprise
– How you could leverage the right mix of ski...
Recap
• What are some of the ways we can identify
gaps in our planning processes?
• What are some techniques for Portfolio...
Information

Email: hgreen@rei.com
Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/HollyGreen/
Case Study:  How to scale agile
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Case Study: How to scale agile

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Case Study: How to scale agile

  1. 1. How to Scale Agile Holly Green Principal Business Analyst, REI November 2013
  2. 2. “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.” - Naomi, age 15
  3. 3. Holly Green • Principal Business Analyst, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) • 13+ yrs. Software Industry experience • Advisory Board Member, University of Washington Certificate in Business Analysis Program • Focus on Portfolio Management
  4. 4. Objectives • Identify and bridge gaps in planning • Scale agile using techniques from SAFe1 • Build partnerships for success 1Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) is an approach to software development developed by Dean Leffingwell for leveraging agile at scale. Visit www.scaledagileframework.com.
  5. 5. The situation • 3 years iterating on Agile Portfolio Management • Expanded Portfolio Management from one person to 5 teams • 6 Ecommerce Agile Teams • 100+ people involved
  6. 6. We were herding cats!
  7. 7. Situation Statement immature communication channels between numerous large divisions and competing views on how to best address We are impeded by our size with business strategy. Technical resources are constrained. As a result, our efforts are uncoordinated, inefficient, and lack the full power of our combined talents. Our opportunity is to establish a process that can support agile at scale, reduce waste, and enable us to better execute against business strategy.
  8. 8. The Inspection • ‘Connect the dots’ team initiated • After 3 years we were:  Successfully using kanban to visualize Business demand  Able to quickly turn away low value propositions  Able to recognize and delay requests that would be blocked by dependencies • But…  We weren’t meeting our commitments  We weren’t always doing the right work to support Business strategy  POs didn’t have enough visibility into the portfolio to make accurate planning decisions  Portfolio Planning teams weren’t communicating well  SME resource constraints inhibited knowledge transfer
  9. 9. The adjustment • Discovered Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) – Helps us meet our goals to: • Establish scaled agile release planning process • Execute to support Business Strategy • Reduce waste Scaled Agile Framework
  10. 10. What we did • Leveraged techniques from SAFe1 – Portfolio Vision – Architectural Runway – Agile Release Train – Release Planning • Focused on roles and process 1www.scaledagileframework.com
  11. 11. Started at the Program Level Portfolio Program  www.scaledagileframework.com Team
  12. 12. Agile Release Train • Quarterly release planning off sites • To prepare: – Aligned Product Owners with the Business – POs work with the Business to prioritize Team Backlogs • Use Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)1 – Identify Minimal Marketable Features to release value • Produce a list of top opportunities and redline at estimated capacity 1www.scaledagileframework.com/wsjf/
  13. 13. Release Planning in Action GOAL: Examine opportunities across teams to detect conflicts, dependencies, and risks. Make necessary adjustments to address discoveries. Create a plan.
  14. 14. Planning Together Doesn’t leave communication to chance Produces plans we believe in! Empowers everyone with more knowledge Ensures Business voice is heard Makes dependencies & risks visible
  15. 15. Adding on the Portfolio Level Portfolio   Program www.scaledagileframework.com Team
  16. 16. Our Portfolio was Overwhelming
  17. 17. Portfolio: More than a list of requests • Key Initiatives map to investment themes and strategies • To support the vision, we: – Synchronize Portfolio Management to Enterprise Planning – Leadership communicates the plan • Progress is tracked quarterly – Architectural Runway supports the Portfolio – Incidentals go directly to teams • If it doesn’t support enterprise strategy… – It can’t be in the Portfolio Backlog
  18. 18. Keep on Track • Intake Process: – Raise the price of admission • Single entrance point • Stricter requirements
  19. 19. The Price of Admission
  20. 20. Manage Change • ‘Spike’ for more information – Plan time to learn • • • • • Understand scope Reduce risk Uncover impediments Reduce waste Make commitments with confidence
  21. 21. Now that scale is accounted for… Our cats are more aligned
  22. 22. Areas of Opportunity • Improve report-out on progress and changes to plan • Better plan how to facilitate work that crosses multiple teams
  23. 23. Could you do this? • Consider: – How you could partner across the enterprise – How you could leverage the right mix of skillsets to make quick decisions and address impediments to success • Keys to success: – – – – Leadership support Accept change and its discomforts Expect an iterative process This is about a framework • We adapted SAFe to work for us • You will adapt techniques to work for you
  24. 24. Recap • What are some of the ways we can identify gaps in our planning processes? • What are some techniques for Portfolio planning improvement in a constrained environment? • What are some ways to Boost portfolio planning transparency and communication between Technology and the Business?
  25. 25. Information Email: hgreen@rei.com Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/HollyGreen/

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