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October 14, 2021
Using Agile to Plan &
Execute Better Together
● About me
● Value & value streams
● Real government example
● Lean Agile Principles
● Cadence
● Synchronization
● Benefits of cadence +
synchronization
● Planning better together
Bill Annibell, SPC
Digital Polygon
COO & Chief Agilist
bill@digitalpolygon.com
● Agile enthusiast & change agent
● Recovering technologist
● Party DJ, and former singer in a
rock and roll band
https://www.linkedin.com/in/billannibell/
@billannibell
● 21+ Years
● 850,000+
miles
● 3+ hours of
commute
time daily
● Excludes
train, Uber,
cabs, and
Metro rides
3 hours x 5 days
x 48 weeks =
720 hours
-OR-
18 weeks of
sitting in a car
Value & Value Streams
Value  ˈval-(ˌ)yü 
noun
: a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something
exchanged
: relative worth, utility, or importance
Merriam-Webster.com
Value Stream  ˈval-(ˌ)yü ˈstrēm 
noun
: represent the series of steps that an organization uses to implement solutions
that provide a continuous flow of value to a customer.
Scaled Agile Framework
The Department of Education, via
the FAFSA process, provides more
than $120 billion in grants, loans,
and work-study funds each year to
help students and parents pay for
college or career school.
Website
IRS Data
Retrieval
Tool
FAFSA
Application
Operational Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Website
IRS Data
Retrieval
Tool
FAFSA
Application
Operational Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Dependencies
Website
IRS Data
Retrieval
Tool
FAFSA
Application
Operational Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Lean Agile Principles
1. Take an economic view - Digital assets evolve over time. Tradeoffs must be made between risk, cost of
delay, operational costs, etc.
2. Apply systems thinking - Just because you optimize an individual component does not mean you are
optimizing the entire system (same goes for organizations, too).
3. Assume variability; preserve options - assume requirements are going to change, have multiple options.
Leverage cross-functional teams to solve toughest problems.
4. Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles - Do you want faster customer feedback?
Build incrementally and get their feedback early and often.
5. Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems - integrate system early and often.
6. Visualize and limit work in progress (WIP), reduce batch sizes, and manage queue length -
Kanban!!! REMEMBER: Humans beings STINK at multitasking and estimating work. Prioritize and re-prioritize!
7. Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning - Dependent teams (not just DEV teams)
should plan and execute together at the same time and pace.
8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers - Provide time for exploration and
experimentation, individual autonomy and purpose and innovation will blossom.
9. Decentralize decision making - Those closest to the customers are best suited to solve said problems.
10. Organize around value - Customer centricity requires an understanding of the customer’s journey as well as
the processes and systems that support said journey.
Lean Agile Principles
1. Take an economic view - Digital assets evolve over time. Tradeoffs must be made between risk, cost of
delay, operational costs, etc.
2. Apply systems thinking - Just because you optimize an individual component does not mean you are
optimizing the entire system (same goes for organizations, too).
3. Assume variability; preserve options - assume requirements are going to change, have multiple options.
Leverage cross-functional teams to solve toughest problems.
4. Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles - Do you want faster customer feedback?
Build incrementally and get their feedback early and often.
5. Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems - integrate system early and often.
6. Visualize and limit work in progress (WIP), reduce batch sizes, and manage queue length -
Kanban!!! REMEMBER: Humans beings STINK at multitasking and estimating work. Prioritize and re-prioritize!
7. Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning - Dependent teams (not just DEV teams)
should plan and execute together at the same time and pace.
8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers - Provide time for exploration and
experimentation, individual autonomy and purpose and innovation will blossom.
9. Decentralize decision making - Those closest to the customers are best suited to solve said problems.
10. Organize around value - Customer centricity requires an understanding of the customer’s journey as well as
the processes and systems that support said journey.
Lean Agile Principles
Cadence
Cadence  ˈkā-dᵊn(t)s 
noun
: a rhythmic pattern of events that provides the steady heartbeat of the
development process.
: enables dependent teams to stay synchronized, identify dependencies, and
collectively manage risk.
Scaled Agile + (Me!)
Synchronization
Synchronization  ˌsiŋ-krə-nə-ˈzā-shən 
noun
: allows multiple solution perspectives to be understood, resolved, and integrated
at the same time.
: enabled by dependent teams staying in cadence.
Scaled Agile + (Me!)
Benefits of Cadence + Synchronization
87% of Large
Government
Projects
Challenged and/or
Failed
The Standish Group’s CHAOS database: 2010-2014
But why?
● Independent Agile teams
tend to apply consistent
cadence via short iterations
cycles (e.g. 2-week, 3-week,
or 4-week Sprints)
● However, we introduce
significant risk when when
dependent teams, working
toward a common goal or
release, are not
synchronized
● We have no real way of
knowing if the intended
progress is being made
Applying cadence independently
● Dependent teams that apply
both cadence and
synchronization reduce risk
+ enables stakeholders to
see actual progress
● Remember: System demos
of working software are the
true test of progress
● Dependent teams can plan
dependencies, identify
blockers, discuss risks, and
integrate faster when on the
same cadence while staying
synchronized
● Converts unpredictable events
into predictable ones and
lowers costs
● Makes waiting times for new
work predictable
● Supports regular planning and
cross-functional coordination
● Limits batch sizes to a single
interval
● Controls injection of new work
● Provides scheduled
integration points
● Causes multiple events to
happen at the same time
● Facilitates cross-functional
tradeoffs
● Provides routine dependency
management
● Supports full system and
integration and assessment
● Provides multiple feedback
perspectives
Cadence Synchronization
Cadence + Synchronization = Better Outcomes
Planning Better Together
Website
IRS Data
Retrieval
Tool
FAFSA
Application
Operational Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Development Value Stream
Development Value Stream
● Infrequent, or one-time
planning is proven to
increase risk and require
more rework (see slides 27
& 28)
● In the digital age,
requirements change
regularly and a shift from a
project methodology to a
product methodology is
required for continued
success
● Cadence-based planning
allows for more frequent
customer feedback
But how?
Cross Team Planning
Cross Team Retrospective
Cross Team Planning
Cross Team
Retrospective
● 5-12 iterations OR Quarterly
● Provides a framework for
dependent teams to get in
cadence and maintain
synchronization
● Establishes face-to-face
communication across all team
members and stakeholders
● Aligns all team on common goals
including business and mission
context and vision
● Identifies dependencies and
fosters cross-team, organization,
and agency collaboration
● Matches demand to capacity
● Eliminates excess Work in
Process (WIP) Fast decision-
making
Cross Team Planning
● Includes ALL stakeholders
● Product Demo
● Quantitative and qualitative
measurement
● Retrospective and problem-
solving workshop
Cross Team Retrospective
Thank you!
Together We Can Build it Better
bill@digitalpolygon.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/billannibell/
@billannibell

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Drupal GovCon 2021 - Using Agile to Plan & Execute Better Together

  • 1. October 14, 2021 Using Agile to Plan & Execute Better Together
  • 2. ● About me ● Value & value streams ● Real government example ● Lean Agile Principles ● Cadence ● Synchronization ● Benefits of cadence + synchronization ● Planning better together
  • 3. Bill Annibell, SPC Digital Polygon COO & Chief Agilist bill@digitalpolygon.com ● Agile enthusiast & change agent ● Recovering technologist ● Party DJ, and former singer in a rock and roll band https://www.linkedin.com/in/billannibell/ @billannibell
  • 4.
  • 5. ● 21+ Years ● 850,000+ miles ● 3+ hours of commute time daily ● Excludes train, Uber, cabs, and Metro rides
  • 6. 3 hours x 5 days x 48 weeks = 720 hours -OR- 18 weeks of sitting in a car
  • 7.
  • 8. Value & Value Streams
  • 9. Value ˈval-(ˌ)yü noun : a fair return or equivalent in goods, services, or money for something exchanged : relative worth, utility, or importance Merriam-Webster.com
  • 10. Value Stream ˈval-(ˌ)yü ˈstrēm noun : represent the series of steps that an organization uses to implement solutions that provide a continuous flow of value to a customer. Scaled Agile Framework
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13.
  • 14. The Department of Education, via the FAFSA process, provides more than $120 billion in grants, loans, and work-study funds each year to help students and parents pay for college or career school.
  • 15.
  • 16. Website IRS Data Retrieval Tool FAFSA Application Operational Value Stream Development Value Stream Development Value Stream Development Value Stream
  • 17. Website IRS Data Retrieval Tool FAFSA Application Operational Value Stream Development Value Stream Development Value Stream Development Value Stream Dependencies
  • 18. Website IRS Data Retrieval Tool FAFSA Application Operational Value Stream Development Value Stream Development Value Stream Development Value Stream
  • 20. 1. Take an economic view - Digital assets evolve over time. Tradeoffs must be made between risk, cost of delay, operational costs, etc. 2. Apply systems thinking - Just because you optimize an individual component does not mean you are optimizing the entire system (same goes for organizations, too). 3. Assume variability; preserve options - assume requirements are going to change, have multiple options. Leverage cross-functional teams to solve toughest problems. 4. Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles - Do you want faster customer feedback? Build incrementally and get their feedback early and often. 5. Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems - integrate system early and often. 6. Visualize and limit work in progress (WIP), reduce batch sizes, and manage queue length - Kanban!!! REMEMBER: Humans beings STINK at multitasking and estimating work. Prioritize and re-prioritize! 7. Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning - Dependent teams (not just DEV teams) should plan and execute together at the same time and pace. 8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers - Provide time for exploration and experimentation, individual autonomy and purpose and innovation will blossom. 9. Decentralize decision making - Those closest to the customers are best suited to solve said problems. 10. Organize around value - Customer centricity requires an understanding of the customer’s journey as well as the processes and systems that support said journey. Lean Agile Principles
  • 21. 1. Take an economic view - Digital assets evolve over time. Tradeoffs must be made between risk, cost of delay, operational costs, etc. 2. Apply systems thinking - Just because you optimize an individual component does not mean you are optimizing the entire system (same goes for organizations, too). 3. Assume variability; preserve options - assume requirements are going to change, have multiple options. Leverage cross-functional teams to solve toughest problems. 4. Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cycles - Do you want faster customer feedback? Build incrementally and get their feedback early and often. 5. Base milestones on objective evaluation of working systems - integrate system early and often. 6. Visualize and limit work in progress (WIP), reduce batch sizes, and manage queue length - Kanban!!! REMEMBER: Humans beings STINK at multitasking and estimating work. Prioritize and re-prioritize! 7. Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planning - Dependent teams (not just DEV teams) should plan and execute together at the same time and pace. 8. Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers - Provide time for exploration and experimentation, individual autonomy and purpose and innovation will blossom. 9. Decentralize decision making - Those closest to the customers are best suited to solve said problems. 10. Organize around value - Customer centricity requires an understanding of the customer’s journey as well as the processes and systems that support said journey. Lean Agile Principles
  • 23. Cadence ˈkā-dᵊn(t)s noun : a rhythmic pattern of events that provides the steady heartbeat of the development process. : enables dependent teams to stay synchronized, identify dependencies, and collectively manage risk. Scaled Agile + (Me!)
  • 25. Synchronization ˌsiŋ-krə-nə-ˈzā-shən noun : allows multiple solution perspectives to be understood, resolved, and integrated at the same time. : enabled by dependent teams staying in cadence. Scaled Agile + (Me!)
  • 26. Benefits of Cadence + Synchronization
  • 27.
  • 28. 87% of Large Government Projects Challenged and/or Failed The Standish Group’s CHAOS database: 2010-2014
  • 30. ● Independent Agile teams tend to apply consistent cadence via short iterations cycles (e.g. 2-week, 3-week, or 4-week Sprints) ● However, we introduce significant risk when when dependent teams, working toward a common goal or release, are not synchronized ● We have no real way of knowing if the intended progress is being made Applying cadence independently
  • 31. ● Dependent teams that apply both cadence and synchronization reduce risk + enables stakeholders to see actual progress ● Remember: System demos of working software are the true test of progress ● Dependent teams can plan dependencies, identify blockers, discuss risks, and integrate faster when on the same cadence while staying synchronized
  • 32. ● Converts unpredictable events into predictable ones and lowers costs ● Makes waiting times for new work predictable ● Supports regular planning and cross-functional coordination ● Limits batch sizes to a single interval ● Controls injection of new work ● Provides scheduled integration points ● Causes multiple events to happen at the same time ● Facilitates cross-functional tradeoffs ● Provides routine dependency management ● Supports full system and integration and assessment ● Provides multiple feedback perspectives Cadence Synchronization Cadence + Synchronization = Better Outcomes
  • 34. Website IRS Data Retrieval Tool FAFSA Application Operational Value Stream Development Value Stream Development Value Stream Development Value Stream
  • 35. ● Infrequent, or one-time planning is proven to increase risk and require more rework (see slides 27 & 28) ● In the digital age, requirements change regularly and a shift from a project methodology to a product methodology is required for continued success ● Cadence-based planning allows for more frequent customer feedback
  • 37.
  • 38. Cross Team Planning Cross Team Retrospective
  • 39. Cross Team Planning Cross Team Retrospective
  • 40. ● 5-12 iterations OR Quarterly ● Provides a framework for dependent teams to get in cadence and maintain synchronization ● Establishes face-to-face communication across all team members and stakeholders ● Aligns all team on common goals including business and mission context and vision ● Identifies dependencies and fosters cross-team, organization, and agency collaboration ● Matches demand to capacity ● Eliminates excess Work in Process (WIP) Fast decision- making Cross Team Planning
  • 41. ● Includes ALL stakeholders ● Product Demo ● Quantitative and qualitative measurement ● Retrospective and problem- solving workshop Cross Team Retrospective
  • 42. Thank you! Together We Can Build it Better bill@digitalpolygon.com https://www.linkedin.com/in/billannibell/ @billannibell