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Serving Federal Government Customers with Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)


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Presented at the May 2017 Capability Counts CMMI conference.
Presenter shared recommendations for how to plan, bid, execute, and monitor Federal Government contracts using principles of Agile, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), and CMMI and tools such as SharePoint, JIRA, and Confluence.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

Serving Federal Government Customers with Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)

  1. 1. Place YOUR LOGO here NAME: Michael King TITLE: Chief Technology Officer ORGANIZATION: Halfaker and Associates SERVING FEDERAL CUSTOMERS WITH SAFE CONCEPTS
  2. 2. Place YOUR LOGO here • Company founded in 2006 with the vision of Continuing to Serve… • Founded by West Point graduate and Army Military Police Officer Dawn Halfaker (Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, Woman-Owned, 8(a) Small Business) • 200+ employee company focused on providing Data Analytics, Software Engineering, IT Infrastructure, and Cyber Security solutions to Federal Government customers • Halfaker serves VA, DoD, HHS, DHS, USDA, and Transportation ABOUT HALFAKER Culture built on Military Principles  Lead from the Front  Never Give Up  Plan, Plan, Plan  Take Care of Your People  Know the Job above you and below you  Demand Excellence
  3. 3. Place YOUR LOGO here AGENDA • About Halfaker • Business Challenge • Approach: Build Scaled Agile System • Many Different Scaled Frameworks • Introduction to SAFe • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) • Portfolio (Enterprise) Level • Effective Strategy • Strategy Decomposition • Consistent Enterprise Architecture • Synchronized Value Streams • Program Level • Vision-based Enterprise Metrics • Invest in Program Leaders • Define Program Rhythm • Invest Time in Planning • Build Sufficient Runway • Team Level • Define Team Lifecycles • Align Responsibilities with Lifecycle • Build Quality in from the Beginning • Questions?
  4. 4. Place YOUR LOGO here • Halfaker began to accelerate in growth in 2013, approaching 100 employees spread across 20 projects • As the Company grew, we struggled to maintain consistency, ensure quality, and manage risk across increasing number of projects spread across the country • To provide excellent service, we relied on a few heroes who were constantly reacting to emergencies, swarming issues like 5 year olds playing soccer BUSINESS CHALLENGE
  5. 5. Place YOUR LOGO here • Halfaker needed to invest in processes and tools that support them, in order to scale from a small business to a sustainable mid-tier organization:  Codify how we ensured every customer would receive excellent, innovative results  Align people, systems, and processes to strategic goals APPROACH: BUILD SCALED AGILE SYSTEM Strategic Goals Business Processes Templates and Forms Business Systems (Applications) Guidelines and Policies Organization Structure “…Losers have goals. Winners have systems.” – Scott Adams, creator Dilbert
  7. 7. Place YOUR LOGO here INTRODUCTION TO SAFE • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)® defines itself as: The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is a freely revealed knowledge base of proven, integrated patterns for enterprise-scale Lean-Agile development. It is scalable and modular, allowing each organization to apply it in a way that provides better business outcomes and happier, more engaged employees. SAFe synchronizes alignment, collaboration, and delivery for large numbers of Agile teams. It supports both software and systems development, from the modest scale of well under 100 practitioners to the largest software solutions and complex cyber-physical systems, systems that require thousands of people to create and maintain. SAFe was developed in the field, based on helping customers solve their most challenging scaling problems. It leverages three primary bodies of knowledge: Agile development, Lean product development, and systems thinking. • Halfaker uses SAFe as a library of best practices across the enterprise, not a one-size-fits-all solution – we use some SAFe concepts, but not others
  8. 8. Place YOUR LOGO here SCALED AGILE FRAMEWORK® (SAFE) 3 2 1 4 5 12 11 10 9 6 7 8
  9. 9. Place YOUR LOGO here Portfolio (Enterprise) Level
  10. 10. Place YOUR LOGO here EFFECTIVE STRATEGY  Create traceable goals and associated sub-goals, which are flowed down to a clear primary owner within the organization  Meet quarterly to review progress and priorities related to these goals  Publish an annual strategy plan one- pager so people can see the ‘big picture’  Manage a online Kanban board showing the high-level epics so people can visualize who owns which goals, which upcoming quarter they’re due, and their status Lessons Learned / Examples  Create Strategic Goals that can be clearly flowed down to relevant departments/teams  Monitor the progress against strategic goals, meeting periodically (e.g. quarterly) to review progress and priorities  Provide a visual way to show strategic goals and their progress (e.g. dashboard or epic board) Key Concepts
  11. 11. Place YOUR LOGO here User Stories Epics Features Strategic Themes Collaboration among Executives STRATEGY DECOMPOSITION  Make it easy to trace how strategic themes are broken down into children items (e.g. epics, user stories)  Focus senior leaders on the “big picture” of themes or features, so they are not lost in the weeds of long backlogs of user stories  As your teams and your overall organization matures, you’ll be able to: 1. Estimate the complexity of a strategic theme, feature, or epic 2. Prioritize each item 3. Estimate completion dates for each item, with increasing accuracy
  12. 12. Place YOUR LOGO here CONSISTENT ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE  Provide great tools for planning (e.g. JIRA, Microsoft Project), collaboration (e.g. Confluence), and communication (e.g. Skype for Business, HipChat)  Allow teams to tailor tools or use other tools, when appropriate (but encourage/enforce consistency) Lessons Learned / Examples  Identify someone or a team to define overall technology architecture/tools for the organization  Invest in great tools for your team, so they don’t need to resort to Shadow IT to get their jobs done  Invest in associated processes to your organization does things efficiently and consistently, when possible Key Concepts
  13. 13. Place YOUR LOGO here SYNCHRONIZED VALUE STREAMS  Use a battle rhythm to plan and monitor strategic progress through company-wide weekly, monthly, and quarterly activities  Publish the company battle rhythm to all company leaders, so they can clearly see the rhythm they are operating within  Organize Operations Department (service delivery) around capabilities instead of customers or geography, so project teams can collaborate and support each other with shared talent Lessons Learned / Examples  Organize your company around value streams to keep value as a clear central concept – keep the “why” (purpose) of your organization the clear center of these value streams  Synchronize the rhythm of your organization, both within each value stream and across them; so the organization can prioritize and adapt in a single ‘battle rhythm’ Key Concepts
  14. 14. Place YOUR LOGO here Program Level
  15. 15. Place YOUR LOGO here VISION-BASED ENTERPRISE METRICS  We identified critical numbers related to Customer Satisfaction (e.g. Surveys, CPARS scores), Process Efficiency, Growth (Pipeline and Bookings) Development (Training Plan Completion), and Financial (Revenue and Profit)  We review metrics in weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings that focus on various aspects of Company management to identify what to prioritize Lessons Learned / Examples  Identify a short list of clearly defined metrics to align with your organization’s vision and strategic goals  Avoid ‘Vanity Metrics’ that don’t actually drive improvement (e.g. web traffic, number of subscribers)  Use ‘Balanced Scorecard’ approach to avoid focusing on a single type of metrics (e.g. Financial)  Monitor performance of key goals in frequent meetings – “What gets measured gets done” Key Concepts
  16. 16. Place YOUR LOGO here INVEST IN DIVISION/PROGRAM LEADERS  Allocate budget for sufficient leaders on large programs and teams  Invest time in identifying high- potential leaders and helping them advance (e.g. Leadership Development Program where junior leaders are given increasing responsibilities related to task, personnel, and financial management)  Invest in training leaders to use hierarchy (traceability) to keep the big picture visible – use epics and don’t get lost in long lists of user stories Lessons Learned / Examples  Invest in Leaders for Divisions and Programs to provide sufficient capacity in execution, coordination, personnel development, and technical architecture  Release Train Engineer is a Scrum Master across a Program (multiple Teams)  System Architect provides cohesive technical leadership across a Program  Product Manager is Product Owner across a Program Key Concepts
  17. 17. Place YOUR LOGO here DEFINE PROGRAM RHYTHM  Quarterly Strategy Review meeting with company senior leaders presenting progress across each department (release train) and discussing priorities  IT Department (composed of Customer Solutions, Architecture, Internal Technology, and Quality teams) meets quarterly to review progress and plan upcoming priorities (see next slide) – each team presents approaches to the other teams for feedback and coordination Lessons Learned / Examples  Synchronize teams across a Program (or Department) to a consistent rhythm  SAFe defines enterprise rhythm:  Continual Portfolio-level prioritization  3 month Program Increments (Program level), using groups of 5-12 Scrum Teams called Agile Release Trains (ARTs)  2 week Iterations (Sprints) at Team level  Insist on keeping a consistent rhythm – don’t delay/extend sprints or releases, instead tell people they can catch the next train Key Concepts
  18. 18. Place YOUR LOGO here INVEST TIME IN PLANNING  SAFe defines a Program Increment (PI) planning approach, which occurs every 10 – 12 weeks, where programs meet to review progress and plan upcoming priorities (see planning/) Key Concepts
  19. 19. Place YOUR LOGO here BUILD SUFFICIENT RUNWAY  Research Backlog provides sufficient user interview and research findings to enable teams to create backlog items  User Story Runway provides sufficient refined and prioritized backlog items for teams to work on, so teams can keep progressing  Architectural Runway provides system and software architectures for teams to build on  A useful metric is to track how much ‘backlog’ you have, measured in weeks or sprints Lessons Learned / Examples  The Architectural Runway is composed of the technology infrastructure and architectural decisions that enable work for development to advance – think of which work builds more asphalt and which work drives on it (consumes it)  The metaphor of building a runway to stay out of a crisis mode where decisions are not well thought out can be applied to many domains Key Concepts
  20. 20. Place YOUR LOGO here Team Level
  21. 21. Place YOUR LOGO here DEFINE TEAM LIFECYCLES  Define Scrum, Kanban, and Scaled Agile lifecycles for teams to select from, based on project type  Provide relevant processes as guidance for each lifecycle  Connect project leaders monthly for a Process Improvement Team (PIT) meeting to identify how to improve processes, including lifecycle guidance  Conduct project retrospectives at the end of each project, so lessons learned can be captured and shared Lessons Learned / Examples  Provide teams guidance on how to manage planning, execution, and review of work by defining Project/Team Lifecycles  Centralize best practices for how your teams manage work, so teams can learn from each other, not just themselves Key Concepts
  22. 22. Place YOUR LOGO here ALIGN RESPONSIBILITIES WITH LIFECYCLE  Incremental Agile transformation, changing lifecycles by team instead of a “big bang” approach  Clearly identify Product Owner and Scrum Master for Scrum-based teams  Connect teams through recurring strategic planning and process improvement meetings, so they can learn from each other quickly Lessons Learned / Examples  Identify and train leaders with roles that align with the lifecycles teams use to execute work  Define roles and responsibilities for team roles to align with lifecycle expectations (e.g. Don’t put Project Managers in the Scrum Master role without analysis, process design, and training) Key Concepts
  23. 23. Place YOUR LOGO here BUILD QUALITY IN FROM THE BEGINNING  Created enterprise quality expectations related to peer reviews  Enables projects to plan quality, using a review matrix within a project’s Quality Control Plan (QCP)  Teams must select Quality Management Representative to lead team quality activities  Conduct semi-annual customer surveys and executive customer visits to proactively identify customer issues (ISO 9001 practice)  Created enterprise Quality Management department to audit teams and programs to ensure consistent quality and compliance Lessons Learned / Examples  Create culture where teams ensure quality throughout the work lifecycle, not just at the end  Create culture where teams create high-quality work themselves, and don’t rely on external auditors/quality assurance/testers to ensure quality  Defects are dramatically cheaper earlier in the process – a software defect may be 100x more expensive to fix in production vs. during requirements development Key Concepts
  24. 24. Place YOUR LOGO here QUESTIONS? • Follow-up Questions? Want to Connect? • Michael King, PMI-ACP, SAFe SA, PMP • • @mikehking (Twitter) •