Agile project rescue in a waterfall environment

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Kevin Murray presents "Agile Project Rescue in a Waterfall environment" at the Valtech Agile Edge March 2010.

This case study describes how the introduction of Agile methods saved a failing project in the government sector.

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Agile project rescue in a waterfall environment

  1. 1. AGILE PROJECT RESCUE IN A WATERFALLENVIRONMENT BY KEVIN MURRAY CASE STUDY 2:KEVIN.MURRAY@VALTECH.CO.UK, TWITTER: @KEV_C_MURRAY AGILE PROJECT RESCUE
  2. 2. BACKGROUND GOVERNMENT PROJECT SUPPOSED TO BE JUST A COTS UPGRADE AND SMALL MIGRATION THE PROJECT HAD ALL THE HALLMARKS OF FAILURE: SPIRALLING COSTS DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BUSINESS CUSTOMER, TEAM MORAL AT ROCK BOTTOM LITTLE VISIBILITY BY THE MANAGEMENT OF THE CHALLENGES THE PROJECT FACED I WAS THE 14th PROJECT MANAGER IN LESS THAN 2 YEARS
  3. 3. BASELINE THE REQUIREMENTS VERY INEXPERIENCED USER GROUP, WHO HAD NOT DEFINED THE REQUIREMENTS PROPERLY BUSINESS CUSTOMER WAS IN DAILY COMMUNICATION WITH THE DEVELOPERS NOT EVERYONE ON THE CUSTOMER’S TEAM UNDERSTOOD THE PROBLEM THAT THEY WERE CAUSING WORKED TOGETHER WITH THE CUSTOMER TO AGREE A NEW BASE LINED SCOPE, PLAN AND PRICE EACH SUBSEQUENT CHANGE WOULD NOW GO THROUGH A FORMAL CHANGE REQUEST PROCESS
  4. 4. INTRODUCE PRODUCT OWNER ROLE CUSTOMER’S SENIOR PM TO OWN THE PRODUCT BACKLOG PRODUCT OWNER TO ACT AS THE SINGLE POINT OF CONTACT FOR CUSTOMER’S BUSINESS TEAM IT WAS AGREED WITH ALL STAKEHOLDERS THAT ANY FUTURE CHANGE WOULD HAVE ITS IMPACT ASSESSED AND BE INTRODUCED AT A TIME APPROPRIATE TO THE DEVELOPERS THE MAIN BENEFIT HERE WAS THAT CLARITY OF SCOPE WAS ENSURED
  5. 5. BECOME A TEAM MEMBER PREVIOUS PMs WOULD SIT AWAY FROM THE TEAM POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE TEAM, WHO WERE PREVIOUSLY FEELING DETACHED AVAILABLE TO ANSWER OR TAKE AWAY ANY OF THE TEAMS PROBLEMS KEEP THE TEAM AS INFORMED AND UP TO DATE AS POSSIBLE THIS WASN’T A FREE FOR ALL, CONVENTIONAL DAILY STAND UP MEETINGS WERE INTRODUCED
  6. 6. INTRODUCE DAILY STANDUP MEETINGS DAILY 15 MINUTE STAND UPS REPLACED A DAILY 2 HOUR LONG CUSTOMER FACING MEETING INTIMIDATING CUSTOMER NOT PRESENT INITIALLY THIS DID NOT GO DOWN TOO WELL WITH EVERYONE INTRODUCED THE THREE QUESTIONS: ‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE SINCE THE LAST STAND UP?’, ‘WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING BETWEEN NOW AND THE NEXT MEETING?’ ‘WHAT IS GETTING IN THE WAY OF DOING YOUR WORK?’
  7. 7. INTRODUCE TASK BOARD THE DAILY STAND UP MEETINGS TOOK PLACE IN FRONT OF A LARGE, PREVIOUSLY UNUSED WHITE BOARD THE TEAM WERE PREVIOUSLY NOT AWARE OF THE OVERALL PROJECT PROGRESS THE TASK BOARD HELPED MORAL HELPED IDENTIFY AND DEAL WITH ANY IMPEDIMENTS IN A TIMELY MANNER
  8. 8. EMPOWER THE WHOLE TEAM THE WHOLE TEAM GOT TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE PRIORITISATION AND ESTIMATION PREVIOUSLY THIS TYPE OF RESPONSIBILITY WAS ONLY DEEMED SUITABLE FOR THE TEAM LEADER HELPED RELIEVE SOME OF THE BURDEN ON THE TEAM LEADER AND MOTIVATED THE REST OF THE TEAM
  9. 9. INTRODUCE RETROSPECTIVES WHILE WE NEVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCE TRUE POST SPRINT RETROSPECTIVES, WE DID ARRANGE A NUMBER OF RETROSPECTIVES, WHICH OCCURRED: AFTER A PARTICULAR WAVE OF CHANGE REQUESTS HAD BEEN IMPLEMENTED AFTER UAT AND AFTER GO LIVE DESPITE BLAME CULTURE WITHIN THE ORGANISATION, WE WERE ABLE TO FOSTER CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK TO ALL TEAMS WHICH ENSURED THAT PAST MISTAKES WERE NOT REPEATED
  10. 10. DO FOOD
  11. 11. PROJECT OUTCOME THE PROJECT WAS SUCCESSFULLY DELIVERED 5 MONTHS AFTER I JOINED ONLY THREE WEEKS LATER THAN HAD INITIALLY BEEN AGREED IN THE REVISED BASELINE OF THE PROJECT PLAN THE FINAL 5 MONTHS OF THE PROJECT WAS ON BUDGET THIS LED TO A RENEWED LEVEL OF CONFIDENCE FROM THE AND FURTHER RELEASES HAVE BEEN COMMISSIONED MORE IMPORTANTLY THE PROJECT EXPERIENCE IS NOW SEEN AS A POSITIVE ONE FOR THE TEAM
  12. 12. ?ANY QUESTIONS …
  13. 13. kevin.murray@valtech.co.ukhttp://www.valtech.co.ukhttp://blog.valtech.co.ukhttp://twitter.com/valtechhttp://twitter.com/Kev_C_Murray

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