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Failure is inevitable but it isn't permanent

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Agile Transformation is harder than it needs to be because we often find ways to consciously or subconsciously sabotage our efforts if we can recognize this behavior it is possible to intervene and make a change for the positive.

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Failure is inevitable but it isn't permanent

  1. 1. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 1 Agility. Security. Delivered. Failure is Inevitable But it Isn’t Permanent Thomas Stiehm
  2. 2. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 2 • Coveros helps organizations accelerate the delivery of secure, reliable software • Our consulting services: • Agile software development • Application security • Software quality assurance • Software process improvement • Our key markets: • Financial services • Healthcare • Defense • Critical Infrastructure About Coveros Introduction Development Capabilities
  3. 3. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 3 Understanding Failure Antipatterns and ways to avoid them “You don't drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” ― Edwin Louis Cole
  4. 4. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 4 What can be done: Start with a goal in mind, it can change as you learn Use progressive planning to tune your destination “If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carroll from Alice in Wonderland Don’t be that Product Owner Decide where you want to go No product vision
  5. 5. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 5 Agile transformation can be little more than adding daily standups to an existing “SDLC” or an ad hoc process. Don’t be that team What can be done: Start by using a defined framework Learn the value of practices before changing them Get the whole team involved in process improvement Define and follow your defined path No process followed
  6. 6. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 6 Agile practices are an overlapping and support each other. Some teams only implement the low discipline practices and wonder why things don’t work out for them. Don’t be that team What can be done: Embrace all practices Get help implementing the hard ones Focus on technical excellence, quality, and automation With no compensating practices Process practices are ignored or removed
  7. 7. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 7 Who has heard “We will automate tests later”. Does later ever come? It is hard to move fast doing everything manually, don’t be an all manual team. What can be done: Insist on automation from the beginning Use automation the same in every environment Show the value of automation Include build, deployment, test, and OPS automation Plan for automation and automation maintenance Automation is not valued or planned
  8. 8. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 8 Have you set yourself up to fail by not telling your stakeholders what can be done? Have you let them believe they are going to “get it all” when you know they aren’t? The road to hell is paved with good intentions, don’t move to hell. What can be done: Management of stakeholder expectations • Learn to say no • Learn to say not now Let them ask for anything but set their expectations on what is really going to happen. Keep the stakeholders in the know No Expectations Management
  9. 9. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 9 Have you worked on a project where you have tried to test quality into the software after development was done? How did that work? Don’t short-change testing on your schedule to save time or money or anything else What can be done: Get QA involved in the beginning Give testers the time and tools needed to really do their work to make the software have higher quality Actually believe that testers can add value beyond random manual testing Plan for quality from the start, no really do it. Quality and testing are an afterthought
  10. 10. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 10 Have you had stakeholders that dictate all of the terms of a project before a team is even selected. Don’t be afraid to tell stakeholders and the team the hard truths What can be done: Negotiate from the start, be as realistic as you can Facilitate discussion of the scope trade-offs Get everyone to watch the Henric Kniberg “Agile Product Ownership in a Nutshell” YouTube video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=502ILHjX9EE&t=2s Learn to say the hard things No negotiation allowed
  11. 11. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 11 Have you ever worked on a project where someone else estimated the work and you were asked to live up to those estimates? Don’t try to live other people’s estimates. What can be done: Establish the cone of uncertainty around any previous estimates right away Insist on using Agile Planning techniques that include the team doing the work giving the final estimate just before doing the work Negotiate away other peoples estimates Other people do your estimates
  12. 12. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 12 Have you ever had a critical dependency on a person that only worked on your team part time? How did that work out for you? Don’t time slice your critical path work. What can be done: Negotiate to get critical people on the team full time Have part time people mentor our team members Have part time people provide instruction and oversight Schedule the critical items early in the project Arrange for key team members to be full time Part time team members in the critical path
  13. 13. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 13 Have you worked at a place where a lot of people left around the same time? What did that do to your goals? Turn over drains morale and leads to more people leaving. Don’t be the team that dies by a thousand cuts What can be done: Figure out why people are leaving and make a change Refocus the remaining team on the work Let people express their feelings about the changes in the team or work environment People get projects done Heavy team turn over
  14. 14. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 14 Have you been part of a project where the politics of the projects had more to do with the success or failure of the project than the software? What was the result? Don’t be a pawn, fight against it. What can be done: Focus on delivering software that meets users needs Get help shielding the team from the politics Use the politics to your advantage Learn to play politics and shield the team Politics is more important than success
  15. 15. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 15 Have you worked with a team that was distracted by outside concerns? Even positive external events can derail a team. Negative distractions can make progress impossible. Don’t be the team that watches the project fail. What can be done: Focus the team on what is within their control Keep the team energized on the work Get the team to concentrate on getting the work done Shield the team from outside concerns Outside distractions taking team time
  16. 16. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 16 How many times can you do the same thing? • The team stops trying to change • The team wants to have fewer retros • The team gives up on change Don’t have boring team meetings. Things to try: Different Retro formats, there are dozens Team building instead of a retro (periodically) Giving up the reins and having someone facilitate Change things up to keep them fresh Stagnant Retrospectives
  17. 17. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 17 • Focus on getting out of the danger zone • Learn to break bad news and take the blame • Learn to negotiate • Shield the team from distraction • Don’t give up until you are ready to give up • Treat people well and expect to be treated well Tom Stiehm tom.stiehm@coveros.com @thomasstiehm Don’t let setbacks become permanent failure. Wrap-Up
  18. 18. @thomasstiehm #AgileDC © COPYRIGHT 2018 COVEROS, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 18 Tom Stiehm tom.stiehm@coveros.com @thomasstiehm Don’t leave with unanswered questions. Questions

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