1. Identify Roles
Making the transition to Agile methodologies requires a lot of adjustment to personnel. Management will no longer operate on a top-down, one-to-many supervisory method. Instead, teams will be self-managed, requiring guidance and communication from other levels of the organization as short sprints and longer epics are completed and reviewed.
Brand new roles will emerge, such as Scrum Masters, Product Owners, Program Managers, and Portfolio Owners. Identifying who is doing what and developing strong communication between these individuals, the customers, and the development teams is paramount.
2. Establish Ceremonies
To keep that communication flowing smoothly and keep everyone’s focus on continual improvement (a core tenet of Agile methodologies), certain ceremonies need to be established at every level of the enterprise.
For example, the daily scrum meeting and retrospectives at the team level provide the team with a quick but powerful method of keeping on task and on schedule and resolving small problems along the way. The release planning meeting and release review offers the same benefits at a larger program level, and portfolio planning meetings incorporate the overarching financial and strategic aspects of the company’s vision into the Agile process.
3. Determine Metrics and Tracking Methods
A main subject of discussion at the brief meetings mentioned above is how the project is progressing in relation to established metrics, or (at program and portfolio levels) how each project is fitting into the budgetary and strategic road maps established by the company.
Metrics provide a “common language” that keeps all parties aware of the progress of projects as well as where adjustments need to be made to arrive at a successful completion. They also offer a means of intelligently planning ahead for future projects and establishing budgets and personnel requirements that will support those plans.
4. Establish Artifacts
Metrics are monitored and tracked by a host of different artifacts, which offer users the means to track work in progress, evolution toward a release goal, movement against a budget, and other factors that play directly into the Agile nature of the framework.
The most common artifacts are backlogs (prioritized lists of work yet to do), the burndown chart (a means of tracking distance-to-done for a project), and a Definition of Done (which gives everyone an agreed upon stopping point for the current iteration.)
5. Determine Governance Points
Hand-in-hand with these artifacts is the established means by which decisions are made within the Agile framework. In Agile terminology, this is called governance. Metrics are an important aspect of these decisions, but they will also rely upon quality assessments, initiative assessments, funding decisions, release handoffs, deployment validation, and a number of other governance points.
While the executives working at the portfolio level of the organization are primarily responsible for establishing governance, every level will need to maintain governance points that pertain to their own levels of activity.
If all of this seems overwhelming, there’s no reason to fear. These five steps make up cPrime’s RAGE frameworkfor Agile transformations. Combined with the industry-accepted SAFe framework for scaling Agile, RAGE brings you painlessly into the Agile world and scales it to include your entire enterprise.
Let us know if we can help you to harness your RAGE!