26
Nov 2013

3

Switch in Action: Business Change Management Applied to Software Engineering

As regular readers of this blog would know, I recently read Chip & Dan Heath's Switch (which I blogged about here). One Saturday evening in July, whilst only a short way though the book, I found myself thinking of the challenges we had rolling out "Trails", our automated deployment tool. Even though Trails was built by our System Team, using agile methods, including fortnightly demonstrations of working software, the roll out was far from smooth. Would we have been more successful if we had used the Switch Framework? Switch argues that for change to be effective you have to Direct the Rider (our ...
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12
Nov 2013

8

Measuring Team Happiness

When I accepted the role leading the EDW delivery team, I knew my biggest challenge was going to be customer engagement. I had been a customer of the team for a number of years and I am sad to say I would not have recommended their services to anyone. Now the tables had turned, I was the head of the organisation and I had to change the business perception of our ability to deliver if we were going to survive.It is a little known fact that I used to work in Market Research. My portfolio included Brand Research, Customer Satisfaction ...
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22
Oct 2013

12

Advice for Agile Coaches on “Dealing With” Middle Management

Over the past few months I have been fortunate to attend a number of Agile Conferences. A theme I observed, particularly in open spaces and social conversations, related to the role of middle management in an Agile Transformation. Questions like: what to do about Middle Management, how to deal with the "frozen middle" and what is the role of an Agile Manager kept coming up.  To be honest the answers given often surprised me. The most common view I heard advocated is "get rid of them".Strangely, I have also found I tend to be the only middle manager in the ...
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13
Oct 2013

1

Book Clubs at Work – Are You Serious?

As mentioned in a prior post, the idea for the EDW Agile Release Train came from reading +Dean Leffingwell's Scaling Software Agility. A couple of months after reading the book, there was a restructure and I found myself leading the technology team that I has previously been a customer of.  I was eager to pitch the idea of forming an Agile Release Train to my new team, so I arranged a series of workshops with the key leaders across the group.From these workshops I hoped to achieve shared understanding and agreement on the shape of our future organisation. We kicked off with +Mark ...
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29
Sep 2013

14

What Happens to Project Managers When You Implement SAFe?

What happens to Project Managers when you implement SAFe? I see this question come up time and again and while I am sure there is more than one answer, in my experience, the role of the Project Manager changes and there are less of them. In the specific case of the EDW Agile Release Train, pre-SAFe there were 18 Project Managers supporting up to 5 projects each. Today there are 4 Portfolio Managers each overseeing around 20 projects. Portfolio Managers are generally aligned to a specific line of business or program of work. They own the relationship with this stakeholder ...
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22
Sep 2013

1

How to Grow an Agile Release Train

The EDW Agile Release Train was established as a fixed capacity model consisting of five permanent feature teams. As our ability to deliver has improved over the last year, the demand for our services has increased. This lead to us to contemplating our options - do nothing, add another team. extend the capacity of the existing teams - and deciding to run an experiment.The train teams were all 8 person feature teams consisting of 1 Scrum Master, 1 Technical Lead, 1 Quality Lead and 5 Developers. Given, the optimal size of an Agile team is considered to be 7 ± ...
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15
Sep 2013

0

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath

Having read and really enjoyed Chip & Dan Heath's first book, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, I bought Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hardwhen it was first released, however it sat on my bookshelf gathering dust until I heard +Jean Tabaka talking about it when she visited Telstra in June. In Switch, the Heath Brothers have done a a great job of making the science of change management simple. The book borrows an analogy from +Jonathan Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis of the Elephant (our emotional side) and the Rider (our rational side). The premise being if the Elephant doesn't want to go ...
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01
Sep 2013

14

A Perspective on the Scaled Agile Framework

I have watched with interest and disappointment over the past month or so as Agile thought leaders have taken to publicly passing judgement on the new kid on the block, the Scaled Agile Framework aka SAFe. In the interests of full disclosure, I am a certified SAFe Program Consultant, I use SAFe with my team and my teams approach to implementing SAFe is featured in the case studies section on scaledagileframework.com.Over two and half years ago, I went on two days of Agile Fundamentals training lead by +Mark Richards. Mark's approach to introducing Agile was to provide us with a ...
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26
Aug 2013

0

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 6 of 6

FridayThe closing keynote for Agile 2013 was "Why Everyone Needs DevOps Now: A Fourteen Year Study Of High Performing IT Organizations " by +Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project. (If you haven't read The Phoenix Project you can download a free 170 page excerpt here.)  This is the second time I have heard Gene give this presentation and I must say I was very pleased to discover that on this occasion it had been video taped and posted to the Agile Alliance website. Just in case you were considering not watching Gene's keynotes, let me give you a small taster of his findings:High performing organizations ...
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23
Aug 2013

0

My Agile 2013 Experience – Day 5 of 6

ThursdayDe-Mystifying Kanban: Understanding Its Many Faces +Al ShallowayAl provided a very thorough and complete explanation of the various flavours of Kanban. He covered:Kanban as a signalKanban as a Team Development ProcessKanban’s Roots in Lean Scrum as a Manifestation of LeanLean Kanban University (LKU) Kanban aka The Kanban MethodKanban Thinking or Lean-KanbanGetting Started with KanbanAl very kindly chose to record his presentation and make it available on his website. He also posted the slide deck here.Gaining Support for a Sustainable Agile Transformation +Dennis Stevens and +Mike Cottmeyer Dennis and Mike believe Agile is about team and if you can't get to teams you fundamentally cannot get agile to work. ...
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