Agile is coming


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There has been a lot of interest about Agile in recent years, mainly due to the success in the IT industry; however there is a lot of interest in applying the Agile methods to other types of environment, not just IT.
This conference uncovered some of the myths around Agile, discussed how Agile can be scaled to large complex projects, looked at case studies, talked about Lean Agile and fed back what governments think about Agile.
The presentations sparked some interesting debates, even between the speakers, but soon some common themes started to emerge from each of the presentation.

Agile is not a methodology – it is a way of thinking. There are Agile methods, ranging from project management methods to software development methods but the agile manifesto, which was mentioned almost be every speaker, does not actual prescribe anything.

Being agile is not an excuse to avoid doing things, like planning and risk management. Being agile has a lot of parallels to Lean – you do what needs to be done, no more and no less.

Agile is not new, Julius Caesar used agile, he just did not call it agile. There are a number of companies and projects who are agile, but did not realise it and jumped on the band wagon when a name was given to their behaviour.

Agile is about giving your customer what they want, regardless of what it says in the contract - they have the right to change their minds. Agile is about people and collaboration, not the processes or tools although these do help to be more agile.

After lunch, we had a presentation from Project Place and learnt about their latest collaboration tools, including KANBAN boards. The idea is not new, Toyota have been using them for decades, but they have been given a new digital face lift.

Finally, thank you to our sponsors Project Place, DSDM and APMG, to the speakers for giving up the valuable time for free, and to Anna and Nigel for their support in pulling the event together.

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  • Just for fun.
    On a piece of paper write down 6 numbers between 1 and 49
    If you match all six – well done! There is no prize.
  • You have all heard of the Agile Manifesto – adrian cover this this morning.
  • It is people Centric – it is about the people not the processes
    If in not document centric – working software is more important than documentation
    It is not about “what’s in the contract or specification”, its about giving the customer what they want
    Embrace change – don’t just blindly follow then plan. As we all know even the best laid plans change.
  • I have looked at two government offices.
    NAO and GAO

    NAO – scrutinises public spending on behalf of parliament – reporting results, holding department to account for the way they use public money
    The opposite number in the united states
    GAO – known as the investigation arm of Congress – looks to improve the performance of federal government

  • However I did find that the GAO have produced a specific Agile publication.
  • Why does this myth exist? As Agile emphasizes stable and self-organizing teams, a perception can develop that the resources—i.e., the team—are already known for all tasks and therefore does not need to be explicitly assigned and managed.
    Counter the basis for the myth: As discussed above, many activities require interfacing with resources outside the project, such as involving subject matter experts and non-labor resources. Additionally, Agile emphasizes working at a sustainable pace, and including resources in the schedule can help ensure this.
  • Anyone get a full house??
  • Agile is coming

    1. 1. Sellafield Ltd. Chairman of APM PMC SIG
    2. 2. Lotto
    3. 3. What is Agile?  Is it a Methodology?  No.  Agile is a framework or frame of mind  Agile Manifesto
    4. 4. Agile Manifesto The Agile Manifesto was written in February of 2001, at a summit of seventeen independent-minded practitioners of several programming methodologies. The participants didn't agree about much, but they found consensus around four main values.  Individuals and interactions over processes and tools  Working software over comprehensive documentation  Customer collaboration over contract negotiation  Responding to change over following a plan
    5. 5. Twelve Agile Principles  Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.  Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.  Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.  Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.  Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.  The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
    6. 6. Principles …  Working software is the primary measure of progress.  Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.  Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.  Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.  The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.  At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.
    7. 7. Agile Methodologies  The Agile Manifesto does not prescribe anything  There are however a number of Agile Methodologies
    8. 8. Agile Methodologies  Scrum  XP (eXtreme Programming)  Crystal  FDD (Feature Driven Development)  DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development)  Adaptive Software Development  RUP (Rational Unified Process)
    9. 9. Agile is Coming  Where do the UK and US governments stand on Agile?  National Audit office in the UK (NAO)  Government Accountability Office (GAO) in the USA  Two slightly different approaches
    10. 10. National Audit Office (UK)  I have found 8 NAO documents that references Agile, dating back to 2012  The following are specific to Agile  Governance for Agile delivery, July 2012  A snapshot of the use of Agile delivery in central government, September 2012  A Snapshot of the use of Agile delivery in central government, UPDATE – December 2013
    11. 11. The Other Titles  Information and Communications Technology in government: Landscape Review, February 2011  A snapshot of the Government’s ICT profession in 2011, October 2011  Digital Britain One: Shared infrastructure and services for government online, December 2011  Implementing the Government ICT Strategy: six-month review of progress, December 2011  Efficiency and reform in government corporate functions through shared services, March 2012
    12. 12. A Snapshot of the use of Agile delivery in central government  This was presented at the Agile Event before Christmas at the British computer society by Alison Terry. Slides are on Slide Share  The approach is to look at case studies where Agile is being used, and look for examples of best practices and lessons learnt
    13. 13. Government Accountability Office  Government Accountability Office (GAO) in the USA  The GAO have produced a number of Best Practices guides, dating back to 2009.
    14. 14. Cost Guide  Best Practices for Developing and Managing Capital Program Costs, Mar 2009  Agile does not appear in 440 pages
    15. 15. Project Schedule Guide  Best Practice for Project Schedules, May 2012  Identifies Ten Best Practices  Translated into Japanese  The word Agile does not appear in the 220 pages.
    16. 16. Agile Specific Paper  Effective Practices and Federal Challenges in Applying Agile Methods, Jul 27, 2012  32 Practices were identified
    17. 17. Common Practices Ten practices were found to be common across all of the federal agencies surveyed. 1. Start with Agile guidance and an Agile adoption strategy. 2. Enhance migration to Agile concepts using Agile terms, such as user stories (used to convey requirements), and Agile examples, such as demonstrating how to write a user story. 3. Continuously improve Agile adoption at both the project level and organization level. 4. Seek to identify and address impediments at the organization and project levels.
    18. 18. Common Practices… 5. Obtain stakeholder/customer feedback frequently 6. Empower small, cross-functional teams 7. Include requirements related to security and progress monitoring in your queue of unfinished work (the backlog). 8. Gain trust by demonstrating value at the end of each iteration. 9. Track progress using tools and metrics. 10. Track progress daily and visibly.
    19. 19. Challenges The report identified 14 challenges with adapting and applying Agile in the federal environment: 1. Teams had difficulty collaborating closely. 2. Procurement practices may not support Agile projects. 3. Teams had difficulty transitioning to self-directed work. 4. Customers did not trust iterative solutions. 5. Staff had difficulty committing to more timely and frequent input.
    20. 20. Challenges … 6. Teams had difficulty managing iterative requirements. 7. Agencies had trouble committing staff. 8. Compliance reviews were difficult to execute within an iteration time frame. 9. Timely adoption of new tools was difficult. 10. Federal reporting practices do not align with Agile.
    21. 21. Challenges … 11. Technical environments were difficult to establish and maintain. 12. Traditional reviews do not align with Agile. 13. Agile guidance was not clear. 14. Traditional status tracking does not align with Agile.
    22. 22. Download Available All the Guides can be downloaded for free at:
    23. 23. Agile and EVM  Presented at EVA 18  Agile and EVM white paper  Invited to GAO Agile Experts meeting
    24. 24. GAO Update  A community of experts help to review and comment on the Cost and Schedule Guides.  Around this time last year, they decided to include Agile in the appendix of these guides  There are over 75 contributors world wide  Cost Guide Appendix still under development - this will include AgileEVM  Schedule guide Appendix, currently in draft and out for comment – this will not include AgileEVM.  Over 800 comments received to date. Will be a number of months before completion.
    25. 25. Overview of Scheduling Guide  It Starts by comparing Agile with Waterfall  Lists the Agile Manifesto  References the practices and approach from the GAO, Software Development: Effective Practices and Federal Challenges in Applying Agile Methods, July 27, 2012  It then discusses if the ten best practice from the original guide still apply to Agile
    26. 26. Ten Best Practices The 10 Best Practices Still Apply in an Agile Environment with some considerations 1) Capture all activities 2) Sequence all Activities 3) Assign Resources to all Activities 4) Establish the Duration of all Activities
    27. 27. Ten Best Practices 5) Verify that the schedule can be traced horizontally and vertically 6) Verify that the Critical Path is Valid 7) Ensure Reasonable Total Float 8) Conduct Schedule Risk Analysis 9) Update the Schedule Using Actual Progress and Logic 10) Maintaining a Baseline Schedule
    28. 28. Five Myths of Agile The Paper then identifies FIVE Myths about agile  Discusses each myth  Explains why these exist  Attempts to counter the basis for the myth All the myths relate to Agile Software Development
    29. 29. Five Myths The five myths, related to  planning for all activities  minimizing the use of constraints  assigning resources,  conducting a schedule risk analysis  developing and using a schedule baseline
    30. 30. Myth No.1 A schedule does not need to include planning for all activities, for the entire duration of the program.
    31. 31. Why does myth 1 exist?  There is a perception that Agile teams focus only on the short-term; for example, in scrum, teams are said to have committed only to the work in the current sprint, while future sprints are provisional because the customer could decide that the solution is “good enough” at the end of the current sprint.
    32. 32. Counter for Myth No.1  While Agile emphasizes that only near-term work is planned in detail (such as just the next sprint), projects still define their overall goal in a project vision and typically plan the releases needed to satisfy the vision. This plan could change or end early, but still provides a high-level view of the work to be accomplished for the entire duration of the project.
    33. 33. Myth No.2 Programs using an Agile Development methodology should use constraints to ensure that their iterations remain at a fixed duration.
    34. 34. Why does myth 2 exist? A common approach is to deliver working software in fixed-length iterations, typically 2-4 weeks (Sprints). Constraints may appear to provide a straightforward way to model the fixed start and end dates of iterations.
    35. 35. Counter for Myth No.2  Not all activities are constrained to the sprints.  The rest of the world does not operate in sprints:  Interface with stakeholders to get requirements  Procurement of plant and equipment  Using resource outside the project, like subject matter experts  Sprints are optional in some Agile Methodologies
    36. 36. Myth No.3 There is no need or less need to assign resources to all activities.
    37. 37. Why does myth 3 exist? The teams are already known for all tasks and therefore does not need to be explicitly assigned and managed
    38. 38. Counter for Myth No.3  Similar to Myth 2 many activities require interfacing with resources outside the project, such as involving subject matter experts and non- labour resources.  Additionally, Agile emphasizes working at a sustainable pace, and including resources in the schedule can help ensure this.
    39. 39. Myth No.4 There is less need to conduct schedule risk analyses
    40. 40. Why does myth 4 exist?  Agile embraces change, therefore using Agile is viewed as a way of mitigating the inherent risk.  There is a perception that explicit risk management practices are unnecessary  When a risk materializes the result is a change
    41. 41. Counter for Myth No.4  All projects face risk and uncertainty . The probability and potential impact should be examined sooner rather than later  For example, the potential impact of some issues could change the requirement for the number of teams. Therefore the team size should be considered earlier rather than later.  Agile is about being Proactive not Reactive
    42. 42. Myth No.5 A schedule baseline cannot be reliably developed or used
    43. 43. Why does myth 5 exist?  Agile welcomes change. As part of this teams practice “just-in-time planning” resulting in frequent changes, this can appear to be in conflict with the concept of adhering to a baseline.
    44. 44. Myth 5 - counter  Welcoming change does mean delivery is undisciplined or ad hoc.  A key principle of Agile is to satisfy the customer early, through continuously delivering the highest priorities.
    45. 45. Counter for Myth No.5  Teams typically develop and deliver in time-boxed iterations (Sprints) of 2-4 weeks.  These iterations are guided by the project vision, which establishes a high-level definition of the cost, schedule, and scope.  A baseline provides a basis for specifying expected outcomes for each iteration.  As a result, customers have the ability to hold the team accountable to the project vision at the end of each iteration.
    46. 46. Thank You  Thank you for listening  Any Questions
    47. 47. This presentation was delivered at an APM event To find out more about upcoming events please visit our website