Good engineering practices and fail-fast, iterative, low-ceremony processes help achieve team level agility. They are necessary but not sufficient to scale agility across the IT organization. In this talk, I'll address what else is needed and why. In particular, I'll address:

  1. Why plan-driven IT projects are a bad idea why we need value-driven projects instead
  2. Why a matrix org is a bad idea for IT and why we need cross-functional teams instead
  3. Why IT budgeting needs to change from being project-based to being team-capacity based
 
 

Outline/structure of the Session

Why IT projects are a bad idea
I'll start off quoting industry reports on the abysmal track record of projects. It is clear that we rarely deliver to plan. Even when we do, the projected business benefits are rarely realized.
I'll explain that predictability is a problem even if the team is following Agile practices and doing continuous delivery. I'll explain that the root cause is a fundamental misunderstanding of the software development process as a production process rather than a design process. Very few people really get this and it is key to stop chasing predictability.
Product development shops implicity understand this. They operate using roadmaps and product backlogs rather than release plans. The idea is to settle for a reliable process rather than endlessly chase predictability.
Enterprise IT can also shift into reliability mode by avoiding projects and opting for long lived, capability teams.
Why a matrix org is a bad idea for IT
I'll explain traditional motivations for matrix org - chiefly utilization and cost-efficiencyHowever, these days, responsivess (time to market) is more important than cost-efficiency.

Better time to market implies lower cycle time implies smaller batch size implies inexpensive handoffs implies cross-functional teams.
Why IT budgeting needs to change
IT budgeting influences execution model which influences staffing modelProject based budgeting encourages a model of delivering to plan (never mind value). It can only afford temporary teams.

Instead, team capacity based budgeting encourages a model of delivering value, It can support long lived teams at no extra cost.

Learning Outcome

  1. Why does  predictability elude software development?
  2. How variable-internal-scope projects can deliver value reliably if not predictably.
  3. Why shorter cycle times require cross-functional teams.
  4. How IT can better serve the business with a capabilities model rather than a projects model.
  5. How #4 can be supported by team-capacity based budgeting rather than project based budgeting.

Target Audience

IT leadership from non-IT-service organizations e.g. ISVs, GICs, Enterprise IT

Requirements

Nothing special.

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Sriram - is there a strawman deck of your talk? That will help reviewers get more datapoints about your talk.

    Also, what would you like to call out as your unique ideas, experiences or insights that could make it interesting or compelling for audience to attend this talk? At Agile India, we get highly-informed and well-experienced audience who would surely agree with everything you say here, and would want to understand what could they benefit from your talk. 

    -TV

    • Tathagat Varma
      By Tathagat Varma  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Sriram - in additon to my earlier questions, can you convert it into a 45min case study with real-life data points? That will be of relevant and value to the participants. If you are ok with it, please make changes to the proposal accordigngly, so that review panel could take a call on it.

      -TV

      • Sriram Narayan
        By Sriram Narayan  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        Hi TV,

        Thanks for taking the time and read and respond to this talk proposal. 

        I am not sure that the stated points are appreciated beyond a select Agile intelligentsia. In my experience as a consultant with ThoughtWorks, I routinely come across CSMs, managers and IT governance people in client organizations who find these ideas new, radical and out of place for their organization. As noted in the session outline, I'll support my claims with real life data and examples. Given that this is a synthesis of different ideas, I'd like to present it as a talk rather than as a case study. I am okay if you wish to change this to a 45 min talk.

        This talk is a subset of what I cover in my  upcoming book. Here is a link to the first few pages including detailed table of contents from the book. Please refer chapters 5, 8 and 9 for more detail on the topic of the proposed talk.

        preview

        thank you

        sriram

  • Prasad
    By Prasad  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Sriam,

    Intresting one.. I have a suggestion. Can you incorprate the changes in contracts with partners when moving away from Project based funding to a product based funding?

    ~~PP

  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Sriram, thanks for clarifying all the questions so far. Would it be possible for you to reduce the time to 45 mins?

    • Sriram Narayan
      By Sriram Narayan  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh 

      Somehow, I missed your post earlier. Updated to 45 mins now.

      thanks

      sriram

  • Steve Ropa
    By Steve Ropa  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Sriram,

    I agree with you that variable scope is a good approach, and one that is especially well represented in Agile circles.  I would like to suggest that the title might throw people off.  If I were looking at the list of titles and abstracts to decide which session to attend next, how might the abstract or title help me to see that this talk is about solutions, not just what is wrong with the current model?

    • Sriram Narayan
      By Sriram Narayan  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Steve

      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this proposal. I see your point. Proposal updated.

      thanks

      sriram

  • Joel Tosi
    By Joel Tosi  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Sriram,

       You labeled this talk as advanced but it seems pretty common to why organizations look to agile and XP practices.  What is 'advanced' about your talk?  Is there something new / different / thought provoking here?  Otherwise I offer up to you to consider dropping the level to introductory.

     

    Best,

    Joel

    • Sriram Narayan
      By Sriram Narayan  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Joel

      Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to this proposal. I am not too hung up on calling it 'advanced'. I just need some explanation. It appears to me that perhaps you don't find anything new/ different / thought provoking here because you think this talk is about "why organizations look to agile and XP practices". I haven't said anything to that effect in the description or in the learning outcomes. Could you please elaborate why you feel so?

      thanks

      sriram

      • Joel Tosi
        By Joel Tosi  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        Hi Sriram,

             When I read the proposal, your two main points around responsiveness and reliability of data is a large motivating factor why businesses look to agile and XP practices.  We know, historically, that software planned up front is rarely delivered on time.  So we look to xp and agile to be more adaptive to business needs and to provide actual, reliable data (velocity based on completed, usable software) to drive that data somehow.  

        With that in mind, your proposal - and please correct me if I am reading it wrong - is just explaining those motivations?

        Actually, if I look more at your learning outcomes, I don't see how you are getting there based on the first paragraphs.  As someone looking to attend your session, I would read the overview and expect one thing but your learning outcomes are different.  Perhaps substantially truncate the first few paragraphs and elaborate more on how you plan to address them?

        Does that help some?

        Joel

        • Sriram Narayan
          By Sriram Narayan  ~  2 years ago
          reply Reply

          Thanks for the explanation Joel. I have updated the abstract and the outline. Hope this brings out my intentions better.

          -sriram


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