Finding the OM in O & M: Prioritizing the dirty work of Operations & Maintenance

Operations and Maintenance work is often seen as an unsexy, thankless job - but it has to be done. Since it's not hot, new development work, it ends up being placed on the back burner or thrown into a dark cave and not always considered as an area of work to apply agility. Sooner or later though, once the new software development work is done, everyone has to face these questions:

1) How do you manage the grunt work of keeping these systems operational and subsequent enhancements

2) How do you deal with system owners who all think their requests are the most important and

3) Is there a better way to handle all of this dirty work?

This session will show you how you can prioritize your O&M work – without the turf battles - when supporting multiple systems.


Outline/Structure of the Experience Report


  • About me
  • Background info - state of affairs on the project & my role at the time

Setting the Stage - Who's frustrated?

  • Business Owners - fighting to get their work done first
  • IT management team - trying to satisfy all their customers but no-one is happy
  • Team members - being pulled in several different directions all the time

Helping the IT Product Owner

  • Address Changing Priorities: used Kanban
  • Objective prioritization amongst many stakeholders: used Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)

Helping the Business Owners

  • Business value prioritization: helped them calculate Cost of Delay for each of their Backlog items

Helping the team

  • Job Duration Estimation: introduced Three Amigos concept to the team. The BA (after grooming each items with individual business owners) worked with the team to estimate level of effort

Aha Moments

  • Role of Kanban
  • Humanize stakeholders
  • Importance of experimenting

Wrap Up

  • Review learning objectives
  • Q&A

Learning Outcome

Participants will learn how they can prioritize O & M work.using Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) when there are many demanding stakeholders and how it responds to the concerns of the team and IT management.

Target Audience

Anyone interested in prioritizing work for multiple stakeholders

Prerequisites for Attendees

Basic understanding of Kanban is helpful but not required.

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

  • 60 Mins

    Are you - or worse, your bosses - starting to doubt this Agile thing? Are your software teams proficiently delivering every two weeks and yet it just doesn't seem to make much of a difference to the bottom line?

    Most organizations begin their foray into Agile with software development and that makes sense - after all, the Agile Manifesto focuses on “working software.” Unfortunately, though, this is often also where the Agile journey comes to a grinding halt. Management confines Agile to a small box labeled “Delivery,” puts a lid on it, and everything else continues as usual. Development teams in such an environment may produce more software, faster and with better quality, but the expected impact on the organization often fails to materialize because the business value of the produced software doesn’t increase correspondingly.

    In this session, we’ll take a closer look at why Agile shouldn’t end with “working software.” The most commonly used Agile frameworks don’t provide much guidance on how to manage risk and ensure the creation of organizational value, so we will draw on insights, tools and techniques from other domains to identify crucial high risk assumptions, test our hypotheses, and measure outcomes. We’ll explore how we can get past the “feature factory” focus and apply the Agile mindset beyond delivery to produce better business outcomes and organizational impact.