Imperatives for Scaling Agile
Implementing agile at scale is contextually different when compared to Agile at team level. In this session, I intend to delve into pre-requisites or underlying conditions needed for scaling - immaterial of the scaling methodology adopted. As they say, agile practices are not fractal, the principles are.
This session is based on the scaling experiences I have had as a practitioner and a coach in Product Development and Enterprise Application development set-ups in Utilities, Building Technologies, Enterprise security and Automotive domains.
Session will start with the context of Agile @ scale. Complexity in factors like platform, integration needs, domain complexity, departmental interactions all multiply manifold.
There are typical constraints which come into play when we scale. The typical patterns are:
- High degree of departmentalisation
The team for large programs is typically composed with people from the line department plus those from horizontal departments (like DB,testing, technology centers of excellence, tools, Configuration Management) etc., While such a composition (with people from horizontals) is to be generally expected in a large program, things may become a challenge if the team is largely staffed by those from support services. More so, if the departmental goals do not align with team goals & departmental processes do not align with agile team's processes.
Typical patterns seen are, code promotion policies can vary as per technology, departmental focus on specialization versus multi-skilling needs of agile teams, frequent shuffling of staff from horizontal teams, horizontals using ticket based systems (also are SLA based) to address requests.
- Inflexibility of existing development processes
Typical impediment seen is that milestone definition, project tracking metrics are waterfall based and largely rigid. This will affect project tracking and funding for large agile programs.
- Harmonization of technical infrastructure
Large programs are typically developed out of multiple locations. This requires that facilities to integrate the systems are in place. Typical challenges are seen where test set-ups do not communicate accross locations or there is a network or a tool limitation to access the set-up at remote locations.
It would pertinent to note that many of these factors also discussed in the context of Enterprise transformation as well.
Outline/Structure of the Experience Report
Three parts to the session:
1. Describing the Context (3 minutes)
2. Presenting the underlying conditions needed for scaling (14 minutes)
3. Questions and Discussion (3 minutes)
The audience will be able to appreciate what the congenial conditions required for scaling.
project Managers, Program Managers, Senior Management, Agile Coaches