Setting agile teams for success – Use of Operations Research to improve agility

While there is a good amount of literature on how an existing agile team can self-organize to deliver higher business value, very little has been said about how to use learning from one team on another or how to set new agile teams for long term success.

In our organization, a typical engagement lasts for 6-8 weeks, leaving very little time for team ramp-up. Setting teams for success was not aspirational but a core ingredient to our service delivery. We explored the field of Operations Research (OR) and applied some of the techniques to software engineering. In this experience report, we are going to share how we leveraged OR concepts such as “Queueing Models” and “Network Optimization” techniques to identify

- What should be the ideal size of a story to deliver optimal value

- What should be the optimal team staffing for a given scope of work

- How to get more predictability on release plans of agile projects

While our research in this field has been tailored to a very specific type of work we do, the concepts and learning can have wider application.



Outline/Structure of the Experience Report

Session Outline (prefer a 60 mins slot):

- Who are we, where we come from? (2 mins)

- The problem we set out to solve (3 mins)

- Intro to the OR concepts we explored, how we mapped them to Software engineering? (10 mins)

- Volunteer driven game to illustrate the OR concepts (20 mins)

- The data driven insights we derived from our experiment, how we applied these insights (10 mins)

- Recap of Key learnings (5 mins)

- Q&A (10 mins)


Learning Outcome

For program managers/ Functional Managers running multiple agile teams

- How to get better predictability during release planning

- How to staff a right sized team for a specific project


For Product Owner:

- What is the right size of a story? How to be more scientific about (instead of going by purely gut feel) what granularity the team should aspire for?


For Agile Coaches:

- A whole new scientific perspective of looking at software engineering

- A potential new area of further research


Target Audience

Product Owners, Program Managers running multiple agile teams, Agle Coaches driving agile transformation

schedule Submitted 7 years ago

Public Feedback

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