05
May 2014

19

Release Train Engineer – Batman or the Wonder Twins?

A couple of months back I wrote about launching my first Agile Release Train and some of our specific challenges with creating the right organisational structure. In particular I pointed out that : “For us the Release Train Engineer (RTE) role as articulated in SAFe has never really emerged. “ Instead, the responsibilities spelt out in the SAFe Big Picture as belonging to the RTE have in our case ended up being split across the leads of the three service teams - Pipeline Services, Development Services and Deployment Services.Initially we had envisaged the Development Services Manager would be the RTE, ...
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28
Apr 2014

1

You Want to Train Everyone? Don’t Be Ridiculous!

Those familiar with SAFe may have noticed that we did not launch our Agile Release Train with a Quick Start. One reason for this is that we started our train before the first SPC class was held and flying +Dean Leffingwell to Melbourne to launch our train exceeded my non existent consulting budget!  However, it was not just SAFe training that we overlooked. We provided no class room training at all to the newly formed train. We assumed most of the team had been on Agile Fundamentals and used Unity Day as an opportunity for learning through play.Almost a full year ...
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02
Apr 2014

2

Being an Agile Team of Agile Leaders

When introducing agile, it is easy for management to expect their teams to change while not truly understanding what this change means on a day to day practical level. Leaders runs the risk of confusing their understanding of the theory with a true appreciation of what it means to operate as an agile team. I often see this manifested in the traditional project plan, complete with a Gantt chart, that outlines how an organisation will transition to agile.As part of establishing the EDW Release Train, our coach +Mark Richards encouraged my new leadership team to operate as an agile team. At ...
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25
Mar 2014

6

Communication Cadence – The Heartbeat of Scaled Agile

In my life as a business sponsor of software development programs I spent innumerable hours in program meetings - project status meetings, RAID meetings, Steering Committees, Governance meetings, “Come to Jesus meetings”, you name it. When I was appointed to my first role on the delivery side of the fence, I thought running these meetings was essential. After all every IT General Manager I had ever worked with followed this practice.Everybody hated these meetings, particularly the three hour Monday morning Program Review. 25 people and a 100 page status report made for a long start to the week. The morning’s ...
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05
Mar 2014

4

Launching an Agile Release Train While Standing in a Waterfall

Some days I wonder if someone has put the EDW Release Train on a list of "must see" tourist attractions in Melbourne. We have a least two tour groups a month come and visit us to see how we have gone about scaling agile using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Some visitors are from within our company, others are from other IT shops in Melbourne, interstate or even occasionally from the US. Many of our local visitors are at the beginning of their agile journey and they always ask "Where should we start?". The answer, of course, is start where ...
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25
Feb 2014

231

How I Fell in Love With Impact Mapping…

12 months ago my team was engaged to provide a very rough estimate for a large new reporting and analytics program.  Over the next 5 months we cycled back and forth until eventually the sponsor decided to proceed and nominated a “business lead” to work with us. Excited by the problem, I quickly reached out and invited the nominee to visit our site, meet the development team and understand the work in progress.  From this meeting we established that the program had a number of senior stakeholders with competing priorities, so I offered to help facilitate a workshop with the ...
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12
Feb 2014

8

Can You Be SAFe Without PI Planning?

The concept of a PI (Program Increment), is generally considered the corner stone of cadence in SAFe. In simple terms, +Dean recommends that a PI consists of between 4 and 6 two week sprints including a IP sprint (Innovation & Planning.) and each PI commences with a two day "all hands" release planning event during which a high level delivery plan is produced for the PI. As readers of this blog would already be aware, when we launched our first release train, we did not have enough funded development work in the pipeline to justify a full blown release planning event, so ...
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27
Jan 2014

7

Unity Day – Creating a One Team Culture

It recently occurred to me that I have yet to share the history and context of Unity Day, our often referenced iteration kick off event. Given the creation of Unity Day is actually one of the pivotal moments in the history of the EDW Release Train, it is time to close this gap.For me our first Unity Day marked the beginning of our cultural transformation. The idea was the result of a retrospective with my extended leadership team. It was only weeks after we had decided to establish an Agile Release Train and we had been preparing for our first ...
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12
Dec 2013

6

An Agile Christmas Story

Today was the first day of the last iteration for 2013! To celebrate the EDW Release Train had a Christmas theme for Unity Day.Gingerbread Reindeer It all started after our Movember "Ginger-Mo" fund raising event, when one of the team showed me how to turn an upside down gingerbread man into a gingerbread reindeer. The next thing I know we are planning Christmas pudding chocolate crackles, mistletoe cup cakes and meringue Christmas trees. The end result being a Christmas themed Unity Hour with just one condition from from Development Manger, +Wayne Palmer: "As long as I don't have to dress up as an ...
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