Agile Coach - Program Management @ PubMatic
Agile pragmatist, Anti-prescriptive agilist
Agile pragmatist, Anti-prescriptive agilist
At times we have great product ideas but the biggest barrier to entry lies in answering few questions such as:
- How do I define and validate Problem hypothesis, Solution hypothesis and Underlying assumptions?
- How do I quickly setup a platform for people to register their interest?
- What will keep the potential customers engaged, excited until the first release (or beta) is out?
- How do I get feedback from the early adopters?
- And eventually when I have answers to some of these questions, how do I make a decision to persevere or pivot?
If you've faced a challenge while answering any of these questions while building/validating your product idea, this session is for you. We'll look at tools and techniques to validate the product hypothesis early-on without spending months or fortunes. We'll also look at a case study to highlight how some of these tools, techniques helped us validate our product idea.
The case in point is a journey of Agile transformation when the organization was looking to manage releases through shorter iteration cycles. As the journey began, the organization had to leapfrog into 3x growth in terms of both people and business needs due to a round of substantial investor funding.
The agile transformation started with just 6 teams in the organization and due to the nature of the team structure, the 3-member PMO team did not have the luxury for pilot projects and had to simultaniously roll out at one go across the 6+ component teams.
In a span of 6 months, the number of teams grew to 12+ and the number of releases more than doubled. Also, 80% of the releases cut across more than 3 teams and the challenge was to keep the process pretty lean. PMO team worked closely with key stakeholders from Product, Engineering, Architecture and Operations to forumate and roll-out a simple 3 step process that aided the teams to deliver releases better than before. Here is when the organization leaped from project to portfolio of releases cutting across 10+ themes.
Similar to what is quoted in the "Scaled Agile Framework" which the PMO tripped on much later in the process, there were organization wide prioritization done based on the product strategy, infrastructure and technology needs which eventually got translated into multiple programs within the organization, cutting across various teams. A concept of 3-in-a-box (PM, Architect and Engineering Owner) was formulated to bring in the required vigor in to the planning and execution process.The 3 in the box was further extended to Dev +QA + Ops who worked as a team to deliver the various stories across the contributing stacks.
The challenges across value-driven prioritization from 100+ releases across the portfolio, release planning with engineering and product, the execution framework and scalability in engineering infrastructure commensurate with the agile processes, working with operations teams and all the way till adoption was seamlessly scaled using the initial framework that was set for just 15 releases.
The presentation details how agile helped and is helping the product and technology teams in delivering better results than before. This would also detail the necessary Agile and operational metrics across the project teams, the program and the portfolio levels that aid the mid and senior management to take informed decisions. As always, this would not cover the IP and actual data of the organization but provide a clear framework to substantiate the process.
What does productivity mean to the team? What does sponsor want from a team? What happens to Leads and Managers? A ROLE PLAY by JP and Naveen
The topic assumes that the organization is medium or large sized (about 2K+ employees) and has recently migrated or is in the process of transitioning to Agile methodologies. Further, stakeholders are aligned to the idea and they are wholly in understanding of what and why they want to go (gone) Agile.
Do you see a scenario in the corridor where a Manager is talking to another Manager – “What happens to us in future? Where do we go? Are we required in this organization? Agile is killing us.”
Do you see Leads (by designation) saying to his Manager “Hey my career was set to take off – I was to become a Senior Lead, and a Manager in 4 years. Agile has made me an average team member and stalled my growth.”
What about a team member to another saying “Man, there is no point in increasing the velocity – that becomes a bench mark for us and we need to sprint at that pace for the rest of our lives! I also had lot of time for myself in chunks when other functional group was slogging and I could read a book, attend a training, catch-up with my friends, blah, blah, blah. Let us add substantial buffer in estimates to have a comfortable life and commit on minimal ideal hours. Let us rock as a team!!!!”
Or a Manager talking to HR “I’m unable to hit the bell curve as an entire team is involved in successful delivery of the project” and HR saying “Sorry, but you are violating global HR policy by not doing so – there ought to be a superior performer and a poor performer.”
You may hear a team member saying “I was headed to becoming a super DBA and now you are asking me to pick testing tasks, web development task, etc. If I don’t spend 100% of my time in my domain, I will be termed as jack of all trades and master of none. This is not aligning with my career development plans.”
A VP saying to another “Not sure if Agile has increased our productivity, how do I know it is productive? I understand teams are empowered and self-organizing, but are they self-productive? And what is this fuss about Managers’ not happy with “no-role”. Nothing should change for them.”
A workshop where JP and Naveen play various characters to address these challenges in an Indian office context. Welcome to an enthralling way of presenting the core human challenges in Agile adoption and implementation.
Battlefield Agility® is a quest to make our deliveries better, more collaborative, faster and effective. It relies on age old principle from the Army to provide a holistic view of the problem landscape which a project team needs to solve and be able to succeed in this, through small collaborative groups working in coordination to achieve the bigger goals.
Battlefield Agility® derives from the Agile manifesto and principles and adds to it the key ingredient of individual wisdom to create a plan for a team which will help it succeed in successful deliveries . This is a goal based approach to increase MVP and ROI.
The purpose of this method is to make team members more focused about their work, equal distribution of work in the team and increase productivity.
Battlefield Agility enumerates the mechanisms of planning, better field view to all team members, ease of multitasking, reduce task switching.
Key benefits of Battlefield Agility®
Humans are creatures of habit and agile is really challenging that part of our existence everyday. I have seen many teams thinking they now get agile and they take what they learned and just practice it everyday without really reflecting on where they are at or the fact that they are not really moving forward. So in order to say your teams and organisation are really becoming more and more agile everyday you need some metrix to measure against.
The collection of the metrix are 2 fold:
Some of the metrix include:
Are you an Agile Practitioner? Or are you responsible for Agile transformation?
Organizations that have begun their Agile journey welcome the guidance of an experienced Agile Coach. But external guidance cannot continue indefinitely as the only way to scale Agile.
If you are in an Agile team, are you prepared to take on the coaching role for other teams once your Agile Coach moves on?
If you are a manager, are you looking at grooming in-house coaches to scale and self-sustain transformation?
The transitioning of practitioners into coaches can be key to your Agile journey. Individuals get to build on their potential, while the organization becomes more self-reliant.
This session explores my personal journey from practitioner to coach. It should help you too in taking that first jump into the role of a coach. I will share real-world examples of dealing with on-the-fly situations, and of preparing upfront where possible. I will recommend resources, and mention handy techniques that should be in a coach's toolkit. The session essentially provides a kick-start for first-time coaches.