What and What Not, Portfolio Lead Retrospects (In Enterprise Agile context)


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Being agile enables the software development groups in Enterprises to deliver high value and high quality software with speed. However legacy applications along with the overall Enterprise landscape pose their own challenges that are outside of the scrum framework to solve. Multiple small scrum teams though working on separate applications need to be cohesive with a big picture. As a portfolio lead, who owns multiple applications and teams related to a portfolio within an Enterprise is a Chicken in scrum terminology. The expectation from the role is that of leader, scrum master as well as an Architect providing technical and functional oversight to the teams within the portfolio.

This session is about a retrospective of our work life as a Portfolio Lead who takes care of multiple scrum teams, and applications. We would like to speak about the top 3 challenges faced such as Scaling Production Support / Knowledge Retention for applications delivered through Scrum, Impact of Organizational Transformation initiatives on the scrum teams, and Multiple Stakeholder Expectations / Conflict Management through real life examples of our work. We would retrospect what we did, and discuss and debate what worked well, and what did not.
The session would focus on top 3 challenges faced:

Production Support / Knowledge Retention for applications delivered through Scrum
Impact of Organizational Transformation initiatives on the scrum teams
Multiple Stakeholder Expectations / Conflict Management

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What and What Not, Portfolio Lead Retrospects (In Enterprise Agile context)

  1. 1. What and What not A Portfolio Lead Retrospects Yashasree Barve & Dipen Shah Tata Consultancy Services
  2. 2. Yashasree Barve, CSM, CSP Scrum Gathering India 2014 Diversity & Women’s Network @ TCS
  3. 3. Dipen Shah Scrum Gathering India 2014
  4. 4. Who’s in the room? Scrum Gathering India 2014 2. Agile Coach or Consultants 1. Scrum Master, Team Member, or Product Owner 3. Program, Portfolio Lead, or Manager? 4. None of these
  5. 5. What is a Project? Scrum Gathering India 2014 2. Project is what our business sponsors tell us to do. 1. It’s a temporary group activity designed to produce a unique product, service or result. 3. Something that we do every day as part of software development 4. None of these
  6. 6. What is a Portfolio? Scrum Gathering India 2014 2. Something that Photographers click for aspiring models 1. A collection of investments held by an investment company, hedge fund, financial institution or individual. 3. A collection of programs, projects and/or operations may not be interdependent managed as a group. 4. None of these
  7. 7. Context Setting Scrum Gathering India 2014 Project • Agile/Scrum for 7 years • ~30 parallel scrum projects • ~200 team members in all • 6 program groups • Flat reporting structure • 3 Delivery owners • Open source + Enterprisy • Data intensive apps • Wide technology footprint Quick Facts Portfolio Program
  8. 8. Scrum Gathering India 2014 0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Team2 Team1 Team3 Team23 Team22 Team21 Team20 Team19 Team18 Team30 Team29 Team28 Team27 Team26 Team25 Team24 Team35Team34 Team33 Team32 Team31 Duration (months) Unit of measurement Priority Unit of measurement Team17 Team16 Team15 Team14 Team13 Team12 Team11 Team10 Team9 Team8 Team7 Team6 Team5 Team4 Program 6 Program 5Program 3 Program 4Program 2 Program 1 Our Portfolio!
  9. 9. Scrum Gathering India 2014 Stressed out!
  10. 10. Time for a Retrospective! Scrum Gathering India 2014
  11. 11. What is the Career path defined by Scrum? Scrum Gathering India 2014 2. Developer >> Product Owner 1. Developer >> Scrum Master 3. Developer >> Project Manager 4. None of these
  12. 12. People Problems Scrum Gathering India 2014 Cope up with Emergent Design Adopt Engineering practices, be a craftsman Feeling stagnant, not growing Individual Performance over Team Performance Cope up with Emergent Design No defined Career Path
  13. 13. Managing Career Path Scrum Gathering India 2014 Understand individual aspirations Set expectations For Project and Role Deep involvement with teams Separate Role from Designation
  14. 14. Share & Learn • Put training plan • Assign mentees • Create forums to learn and share Architectural Thinking • Explain Big picture • Design Discussions • Architecture CoE • Portfolio level weekly scrum of scrums for tech leads Fuel Innovation • Portfolio Visioning • PoCs with new technology • Continuous Improvement • Business value addition Scrum Gathering India 2014 Defining Career Path
  15. 15. What is the appraisal process prescribed by Scrum? Scrum Gathering India 2014 2. Scrum prescribes Bell Curve 1. Scrum prescribes evaluating team and not individuals 3. None of these 4. Scrum does not define any appraisal process
  16. 16. Scrum Gathering India 2014 Add Scrum-y performance goals Team Behavior, Building trust, transparency Sharing, Learning Mentoring, Pairing up Improve the process through retrospectives New ideas, Technology / Business value additions
  17. 17. How do Stakeholders decide the project priorities? Scrum Gathering India 2014 2. Why worry about the stakeholder priorities? 1. All stakeholders know each other very well and think alike. 3. None of these 4. Each stakeholders may have their own priorities and product vision.
  18. 18. Stakeholder Management Challenges Scrum Gathering India 2014 Yashasree Barve & Dipen Shah Multiple Sponsors Different roadmaps & Priorities Varied interaction styles with team Inconsistency of approach Product quality not similar
  19. 19. Image source: http://lifewayblog.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/biblestudiesforlife/files/2013/12/road-map.jpg Scrum Gathering India 2014 Roadmap Discussions
  20. 20. Scrum Gathering India 2014 Be open and Transparent
  21. 21. Image Source: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2645/3759196793_77a886c9d1_o.jpg Scrum Gathering India 2014 Elephants and cheetahs in the room
  22. 22. Image source: http://u.jimdo.com/www54/o/s9dc4a98b8dbd1ac4/img/ibc8486b329af5038/1332179649/std/image.jpg Scrum Gathering India 2014 Organizational Rhythm
  23. 23. Project Mapping 0 1 2 3 4 5 Complexity Sponsor Grade Duration Cost Team maturity (reverse) Business Value Impact of failure Sample Project Scrum Gathering India 2014
  24. 24. What Application Support Groups feel about Agile? Scrum Gathering India 2014 2. OMG!1. Wow! 3. Frustrated 4. I don’t care
  25. 25. The Support Hangover… Less Documentation Churn in the team Not able to cope up! Frequent Releases Production Issues Scrum Gathering India 2014
  26. 26. Define what’s “Just Enough” Scrum Gathering India 2014 DEEP Product Backlog Definition of Done Architecture Diagram Security Review Document Major Design Decisions Automated Tests User Manual
  27. 27. Support onboarding process Bi-weekly calls to sync up Add support stories to backlog Give support Access to Product Backlog Pair up Dev and Support teams Bust troublesome tickets through Do It Yourself screens Supporting the Support!
  28. 28. Scrum Gathering India 2014 1 Pay attention to Career Growth in terms of responsibilities 2 Ensure scrum-y goals enter appraisal process 3 Transparent and constant connection with stakeholders 4 Projects’ Rhythm and Mapping helps appropriate oversight 5 Define Just Enough Documentation and help support group Panch-Mantras for a Happy agile Portfolio Leadership
  29. 29. Happy to take Questions Hope This Session Helps! Thank you ? Scrum Gathering India 2014