Tag Archives: agility

Review: An executive’s guide to disciplined agile

DAThe book An executive’s guide to disciplined agile – Winning the race to business agility written by Scott W. Ambler and Mark Lines give a good overview of Disciplined Agile.

Disciplined Agile (DA) provides light-weight guidance to help organizations streamline their Information Technology (IT) and business processes in a context-sensitive manner. DA provides the process foundation for business agility.

There are seven principles to highlight the discipled agile mindset: delight customers, be awesome, pragmatism, context counts, choice is good, optimize flow and enterprise awareness. To stress the ability of being disciplined there are additional principles: master your craft, technical excellence, collaborate, measure wisely, transparency, lean continuously, purposeful experiments, deliver continuously, visualize workflow, whole team, stable team and trust and respect.

DA (QRC, 190407) v1.0DA consists of four parts (and are covered in chapters 3-6, the main part of the book):

  • Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD). DAD addresses all aspects of solution delivery
  • Disciplined DevOps. This is the streamlining of IT solution development and IT operations
  • Disciplined Agile IT (DAIT). DAIT addresses how to apply agile and lean strategies to all aspects of IT
  • Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE). DAE is able to anticipate and respond swiftly to changes in the marketplace.

Within DAD we see the following roles:

  • Primary roles: Stakeholder and Team roles (Team lead, Product Owner, Team Member and Architecture Owner)
  • Secondary roles: Specialist, Independent Tester, Domain Expert, Technical Expert and Integrator.

The non-prescriptive DAD lifecycle consists of three phases inception, construction and transition. There are several versions of this lifecycle:

  • Agile/Basis lifecycle based on scrum. This lifecycle starts with the inception phase where modelling, planning and organization takes place and the initial backlog and release plan will be created. The other phases are similar with the Agile continuous delivery lifecycle (see below)
  • Lean/advanced lifecycle based on Kanban. This lifecycle starts with the inception phase where modelling, planning and organization takes place and the initial backlog will be created. The other phases are similar with the Lean continuous delivery lifecycle (see below)
  • Agile continuous delivery lifecycle: a single permanent agile team using Scrum giving a continuous stream of development (construction phase), released at the end of each iteration (short transition phase) and no need for an inception phase
  • Lean continuous delivery lifecycle: a single permanent agile team using Kanban giving a continuous stream of development (construction phase), and short transition phases and no need for an inception phase
  • Exploratory lifecycle based on Lean Start-up. This lifecycle starts with Envision, followed by Build a little, Deploy, Observe and Measure and Cancel or Productize the idea. I would say this is not a complete delivery lifecycle. To productize you have to use one of the other lifecycles
  • When you need more teams to build the service or product you need to coordinate the effort of the different teams to ensure they work together effectively towards the common goal. This is called in DA program management for large agile teams with the corresponding leadership team roles like a Program Manager/Coordinator, Product Delivery, Product Ownership and Architecture Ownership. The book doesn’t describe that much but, on the website, you can find much more information about program management.

The non-prescriptive set-up is emphasised by goal diagrams. Mindmaps to summarize the goals of a specific activity, e.g. addressing changing stakeholder needs, explore the initial scope or continuous improvement to mention a few.

Real life examples are missing in this book but can be found in their book Introduction to disciplined agile delivery

Disciplined DevOps explains what it means to bridge the gap between the agile teams and IT operations. In the book the workflow between Solution Delivery and IT Operations and other departments like Business Operations (BizDevOps), Security (DevSecOps), Data Management (DevDataOps) and Release Management and IT Support are explained. Reasons to adopt a Disciplined DevOps approach are faster time to market, improved market competitiveness, improved customer service, increased dependability, increased staff retention, improved governance and lower cost.

Disciplined Agile IT addresses how to apply agile and lean strategies to all aspects of IT. The workflow of Disciplined Agile IT is explained with a focus Disciplined DevOps, IT Operations, Release Management, Support, Security, Data Management and IT Governance, Reuse Engineering, Enterprise Architecture, People Management, Product Management, Continuous Improvement and Portfolio Management. On several place you get goal diagrams.

Portfolio Management addresses the following issues: spend IT investment wisely, balance exploring new business with exploiting existing value streams, monitor and guide ongoing activities, rolling-wave budgeting and planning, prefer small initiatives over large initiatives, cull “failures” quickly, invest in quality and enable team effectiveness.

To become a Disciplined Agile Enterprise, you have to embrace the following fundamental ideas:

  • Your organization and your people must be agile
  • It’s all about value streams
  • There is no one right answer
  • You need to sense and respond
  • You must be a learning organization
  • Self-organizing teams need fast access to resources.

In the workflow for Disciplined Agile Enterprise we see besides the ones mentioned in the Disciplined Agile IT workflow, Marketing, Sales, Control, Finance, Procurement and Legal. The authors explain the Disciplined Agile approaches in the different functions.

Next the authors give some insights what it means if you want to transform your organisation from a traditional structure and culture to one exhibiting true business agility. This will be very hard and will take a long time. Focus will vary over time in the following areas: executive education, executive coaching, middle-management coaching, agile training, agile/lean pilot teams, delivery team coaching, IT coaching, business coaching, skils training, agile centre of excellence, communication, experiments and communities of practice. The chapter ends with an example of a transformation and adoption roadmap anf how to measure your way to success. A separate chapter focusses on the final step in the transition, your organization has to become a learning organization (continuous improvement) and this will never end.

Conclusion: If you are not familiar with disciplined Agile and you want to get a clear overview of this framework, this book is a very good start. Looking at the different delivery cycles, there must be ones that have the right fit for your projects. If you want to implement disciplined Agile you probable need more information (as explained in the book too), and training and coaching too.

To order: An executive’s guide to disciplined agile – Winning the race to business agility

Positionering of Disciplined Agile in my birds eye view on the agile frameworks forest:Agile (50 shades of gray NTTP, 190415) v0.1

 

 

 

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AGILE NXT FUTURE FRIDAY 2019

Schermafdruk 2019-04-08 15.16.29I give a lot of workshops and presentations and in many cases, attendees ask for the ‘silver bullet’ to become agile. It is far too short-sighted to think that you have to implement one agile framework and you achieve agility. First it is not about frameworks (despite my search which already resulted in 50 different agile frameworks. See my blog: A birds eye view on the agile frameworks forest). Also copying a successful way of working will not do (how many organizations copied Spotify’s tribes and squads’ organization model, bypassing Spotify’s own remark “if you want to use Spotify’s way of working, you have to become a Spotify”)? Achieving agility is all about the mindset of you as an individual or your organization and it’s the culture clash between the agile and traditional mindset that makes agile transitions difficult (reminder the picture I often use showing two rhinos looking at each other, as a metaphor for this clash). I have seen organisations firing project and program managers because they choose for the agile way of working and created a lot of agile teams because their competitor did the same and are now regretting that move. They have to hire much more expensive external program managers who lack the added value of the needed informal networks in the organisation to make transformational changes happen. Having only agile teams is not enough.

I got across the AGILE NXT FUTURE FRIDAY 2019 conference organized by Xebia. Last year I read the magazine AGILE NXT – Insights and foresights for your next step in agile so I was triggered, and the program looks awesome.

If I look at the program, I hope to get some answers or at least directions to my own thoughts. The conference offers seven thought leaders to sharpen my and your own mind and will help to improve your own organization’s performance.

  • How Agile is Our Human Brain? (Keynote, Margriet Sitskoorn): Take a trip through the plasticity of your mind and gain insight into how you can express your talents and best accomplish your goals in the age of agility.
  • Stop Copy-Past Agility, Start Agile Problem Solving (Daniel Burm): Is your agile “copy-paste” or “problem-solving-specific? If you only imitate, you’ll never innovate. Learn what it takes to solve your own companies’ problems, your way—the agile way.
  • Structure Your Organization For Tomorrow (Roel Trienekens & Just Meddens):Learn how to confront the real challenges of current work-impacting trends. Gain practical knowledge for your organization’s future-fit toolkit.
  • When Agile Meets Culture … And Clashes (Ellen Barree): Open your eyes to the “invisible elements” that often undermine transformations. Learn how to make culture change more tangible and sustainable.
  • Why the Agile “Fixed-Team” Dogma is Wrong (Laïla Noujeh & Laurens Bonnema): Solve poor performance with a shift in perspective on the fixed-team dogma. Discover how to implement dynamic reteaming experiments in your organization.

I will definitely attend AGILE NXT FUTURE FRIDAY 2019 and I look forward to the insights the speakers will offer. Afterwards I will write a blog with the highlights of this conference. Interested too, get your ticket at: https://www.agilenxt.com/

Recensie Agile focus in besturing

9789401803878-480x600Agile focus in besturing – pocket guide voor executives in transformaties is geschreven door Marjolijn Feringa en Jeroen Venneman en biedt een praktische methode om als managementteam de focus te houden op de belangrijkste initiatieven en kwartaal voor kwartaal nieuwe focus aan te brengen zodat je als organisatie wendbaarder wordt.

Door het boek loopt een casus van een fictief bedrijf waarin het managementteam, onder begeleiding van een coach, het FOCUS-bord leert toe te passen. Dit visuele bord staat centraal in dit boek.

Het boek begint met een korte introductie op het Agile Manifesto en de vertaling van dit Manifesto voor directieteams in het Agile Executive Manifesto:

  1. Samenwerken aan teamdoelen boven gaan voor individuele mijlpalen
  2. Prioriteren van onderwerpen boven volgen van de agenda
  3. Wegnemen van belemmeringen boven stimuleren van resultaten
  4. Bijsturen op actuele inzichten boven analyseren van rapportages
  5. Visueel overzicht boven spreadsheet rapportages
  6. Verdeling van voorbereiding boven iedereen bereid alles voor
  7. Experimenteren binnen kaders boven plannen maken
  8. Elke kans om te verbeteren benutten boven tijd plannen voor verbeteren
  9. Stellen van vragen op de werkvloer boven accorderen van voorstellen in de vergaderzaal

Daarnaast wordt het belang van het hebben van een visie toegelicht en wat een verandering naar een meer wendbare organisatie betekent.

Het FOCUS-bord heeft drie doelen namelijk visuele ondersteuning, bevorderen van de samenwerking en het aanbrengen van focus. Het verbindt de strategie met de belangrijkste initiatieven, vertaalt de strategie (thema’s) in doelen op de lange termijn, het lopende jaar en het lopende/komende kwartaal (en uitgesplitst per maand). Er worden KPI’s gebruikt om eenduidig meetbare punten te creëren (status). Doelen worden middels initiatieven gerealiseerd. Initiatieven zijn verzamelingen van mijlpalen om een doel te bereiken. Mijlpalen worden als deliverables beschreven. Ieder initiatief heeft haar eigen facilitator die in de stand-up een update geeft over dit initiatief.

Het is de bedoeling dat wekelijks dit bord wordt bijgewerkt en besproken. Waarbij de voorkeur voor staand vergaderen wordt benadrukt. Voor deze stand-up hebben de auteurs een standaard agenda en grondregels opgesteld (Noot recensent: hoe verhoudt zich dit tot het tweede punt uit het Agile Executive Manifesto (Prioriteren van onderwerpen boven volgen van de agenda?). De agenda bestaat uit de volgende punten: check-in, status impediments, doorlopen initiatieven, hulpvragen/impediments/mededelingen, parkeerplaats-punten, fist of five (mini retro: vuist: kon niet slechter, 5 vingers: kon niet beter).

Iedere drie maanden moet het FOCUS-bord ververst worden, de zogenaamde kwartaalwissel. Hier vinden de volgende gebeurtenissen plaats: review resultaat afgelopen kwartaal en aanpassen/aanscherpen doelen, retrospective, planning komend kwartaal.

Het FOCUS-bord staat niet op zichzelf. Strategie verbindt alle teams en middels het cascaderen van strategische doelen naar onderliggende managementteams bereik je dat iedereen op dezelfde golflengte zit. Een mooie manier hiervoor is dat individuele directieleden op eenzelfde manier met een FOCUS-bord aan de slag gaan voor hun eigen MT.

Om in lijn met ontwikkelteams te blijven en hun werkwijze te begrijpen, wordt aanbevolen dat directie of MTs ook, een maar dan op maat gemaakte, Scrum werkwijze gaan hanteren. Verder beschrijven de auteurs een aantal technieken (FOCUS toolbox) zoals de manifesto workshop, strategy deployment (X-matrix) of Hoshin Kanri, veranderkompas, kanban-bord, focus radar, BCP-methode, feature mapping, de retrospective, delegation poker en de anticipate workshop.

Het boek eindigt met een drietal tips om te starten met agile focus in besturing, een agile leiderschap maturity niveau checklist en een beschrijving van de Rabobank case, de FOCUS way of working.

Conclusie: Vlot leesbaar boek met een praktische aanpak en voorbeelden waarmee je als managementteam direct aan de gang kan gaan om een meer agile focus in de besturing aan te brengen.

Jammer dat de voorbeeld FOCUS-borden zo klein gedrukt zijn (zal wel aan mijn ogen liggen maar ik kon de bovenste regel niet lezen). Daarnaast heb ik persoonlijk moeite met het gebruik van het woord facilitator van het initiatief. Deze facilitator kan volgens de auteurs periodiek wisselen. Ik zou liever geen wisselingen willen zien en dat het de eigenaar/sponsor van een initiatief is die toelicht als er problemen zijn. Daarnaast wordt eigenaar initiatief en facilitator door elkaar gebruikt in de tekst. Verderop in het boek wordt vervolgens het begrip facilitator gebruikt als iemand buiten het team die optreedt als procesbewaker.

Bestellen: Agile focus in besturing

via de auteurs heb ik een voorbeeld van een FOCUS-bord gekregen.

FOCUS-Bord

Downloaden van de drie in het boek genoemde voorbeeldborden: FOCUS bord

In de kop vind je de omschrijvingen van de kolommen, respectievelijk: Thema, Over een jaar doelen, Dit kwartaal doelen, Status van doelen, Belangrijke initiatieven mijlpalen afgelopen kwartaal, mijlpalen maand 1, mijlpalen maand 2, mijlpalen maand 3, mijlpalen komende kwartaal en mijlpalen later, Impediments / Acties (To do, Doing, done) en rechtsonder de Parkeerplek.

Review: DevOps a business perspective

9789401803724-480x600Oleg Skrynnik wrote the book DevOps a business perspective. It’s the core literature for the EXIN DevOps Foundation certification and gives a good overview of DevOps.

Definition DevOps: “DevOps is an evolution of the ideas of agile software development and lean manufacturing, applied to the end-to-end value chain in IT, which allows businesses to achieve more with modern information technology due to cultural, organizational and technical changes

The book is built around 6 chapters. The first chapter explains DevOps in general. Next, we get key facts and challenges of lean production and agile as the foundation for DevOps. Followed by an explanation of the five DevOps principles.in a next chapter DevOps is compared with traditional practices and 10 DevOps practices are explained and ends with the practical application of DevOps.

The evolution of Agile software development methods created the need for a new approach to IT management. Management of IT infrastructure as a code enabled by virtualization and cloud computing provided the opportunity for the same new approach to IT management. This new approach was the inspired emergence of DevOps.

Why DevOps:

  • reduce time to market (business idea testing, hypothesis evaluation)
  • Reduce technical debt (the debt occurs when a programmer chooses a non-optimal way to solve a problem in order to shorten the development time)
  • Eliminate fragility (fragile systems first and foremost need stability, they need to be changed as little as possible, and changes should be carefully checked both before and after the intervention)

DevOps is based on five principles:

  • Value stream. Creating value in response to a customer’s request
  • Deployment pipeline. The most automated transition of changes through all steps of the value stream, starting from the Development is complete’ point, down to ‘Deployment into operations’ (including continuous integration, delivery and deployment)
  • Everything should be stored in a version control system: source code, tests, scripts, artifacts, libraries, documentation, configuration files, development tools
  • Automated configuration management. Any changes to any environment can be made only by scripts stored in a version control system
  • The Definition of Done. Creation of new functionality is done only when the application is running in the production environment and all the assembly, testing and deployment activities are done automatically.

Ten DevOps key practices:

  • Unusual teams: not a temporary construct, responsible for a small domain, full time, cross-functional, small, versatile professionals, self-organizing, collocated, responsible for the tool in use
  • Work visualization: helps to build a pull system, improves visibility of tasks in progress, remaining amount of work, prioritization, reduces the number of hand-offs and helps to identify inefficiencies
  • Limit the WIP: helps to build a pull system, improves estimating of the lead time, identification, visibility, evaluation and elimination of constraints, decreases specialists’ work interruptions and work re-scheduling
  • Reduce batch size: reduces total amount of work, lead time and number of defects, and improves the rhythm of the flow, the quality of the products
  • Mind the operational requirements: the product owner as interested in the fully operational IT system, including both functional and other (or operational) requirements
  • Early detection and correction of defects: testers develop tests and the test environments correspondent to the production environment as accurately as possible to support fast detection of defects
  • Managed, not controlled improvements and innovations: banning any normal work during the time allocated for improvement, Kaizen Blitz (with a very definite and tangible result), hackathons
  • Funding that enables innovations: funding of products rather than projects would be more appropriate, and this means a completely different way of budgeting and resource planning
  • Task prioritization based on cost of delay divided by duration
  • Continual identification, exploitation and elevation of constraints

The last chapter describes some practical applicability and limitations of DevOps, consequences when using COTS (Commercial Off-The-Shelf), an evolving architecture towards a microservice architecture, DevOps and ITSM, Cargo Cutting (thoughtless copying), start where you are, progress iteratively and use a value stream as the core for DevOps.

Conclusion: If you want to understand what DevOps really means, this is a good book to start your journey and bring it into practice.

To order: DevOps a business perspective

Review EBM Evidence-Based Management Guide

schermafdruk 2019-01-19 17.32.18The Evidence-Based Management Guide was developed by Ken Schwaber, Christina Schwaber, Scrum.org, the professional Scrum Trainer community and the Engagement Manager community.

EBM is an empirical approach that provides organizations with the ability to measure the value they deliver to customers and the means by which they deliver that value, and to use those measures to guide improvements in both.

EBM consists of four Key Value Areas (KVAs):

  • Current Value (CV): Reveals the value that the product delivers to customers, today
  • Time to Market (T2M): Expresses the organization’s ability to quickly deliver new capabilities, services, or products
  • Ability to Innovate (A2I): Expresses the ability of a product development organization to deliver new capabilities that might better meet customer needs
  • Unrealized Value (UV): Suggests the potential future value that could be realized if the organization could perfectly meet the needs of all potential customers

qrc (evidence-based management, 190119) v1.0To download: qrc (evidence-based management, 190119) v1.0

To produce genuine and long-lasting improvements the guide explains a five-step learning loop:

  1. Quantify Value
  2. Measure KVMs (Key Value Measure)
  3. Select KVAs to improve
  4. Conduct practice experiments to improve targeted KVAs
  5. Evaluate results

In the appendix an overview of KVMs, clustered by KVAs, and how to measure them.

Conclusion an easy to read guide to get a better understanding of business value, how to measure and how to improve it.

To download the guide (for free): Evidence-Based Management Guide

Recensie: Wendbare strategie op één A4

9789089654311-480x600Ondertussen zijn al vele canvassen verschenen. In het boek Wendbare strategie op één A4 beschrijft Sjors van Leeuwen het wendbaarheidscanvas.

Het wendbaarheidscanvas is een hulpmiddel, denkmodel en ‘praatplaat’ om het begrip wendbaarheid handen en voeten te geven. De auteur geeft aan dat er geen voorgeschreven volgorde tussen de 11 bouwstenen van het canvas is. Via de bouwstenen externe gerichtheid, rolling strategy, innovatie, merk en klant vindt de afstemming met de continu veranderende omgeving plaats. quote (wendbare strategie op a4)De bouwstenen kompas, scope en leiderschap zorgen voor een heldere koers en slagvaardigheid. De bouwstenen businessmodel, werkorganisatie en technologie vormen de ‘motor’ van de organisatie, die snel en flexibel aangepast moet kunnen worden. Per bouwsteen krijgen we een uitgebreide toelichting, verschillende binnen de bouwsteen passende technieken en voorbeelden uit de praktijk. Ieder bouwsteenhoofdstuk sluit af met een samenvatting en een set canvasvragen die je helpen om de discussie te voeren. Binnen deze 11 bouwstenen krijg je in totaal 43 wendbaarheidsknoppen op basis waarvan je meer of minder wendbaar kan zijn.

Het wendbaarheidscanvas;wendbaarheidscanvas

De 11 bouwstenen:

  • Kompas: Waar gaan we heen en wie gaat mee. Visie, ambitie, waarden en een goed verhaal
  • Scope: Hoe groot is de transformatie-opdracht. Wat betekent wendbaarheid voor onze organisatie. De breedte, diepte en toegevoegde waarde van meer wendbaarheid op organisatie, portfolio en/of operationeel niveau
  • Leiderschap: Goed voorbeeld doet volgen. Van functies naar rollen, sturen op strategische doelen, prioriteiten stellen
  • Externe gerichtheid: Wat gebeurt er om ons heen. Snelheid van signaleren (reactietijd), de snelheid van reageren en beslissen (actietijd) en de vertaling van signalen (ontwikkelingen en trends) naar bruikbare inzichten en initiatieven?
  • Rolling strategy: Flexibel inspelen op veranderingen. Je kijkt vijf tot tien à twintig jaar vooruit (visie en ambities) en redeneert terug naar nu (huidige situatie), vervolgens bepaal je wat je op de korte en langere termijn wilt bereiken
  • Innovatie: gericht verbeteren en vernieuwen. De keuze voor open en klant gedreven innovatie, het omgaan met verbetering (exploitatie) én vernieuwing (exploratie) en de keuze voor first mover of fast follower
  • Businessmodel: Van strategie naar praktijk. Het aanpassingsvermogen van het businessmodel kun je versterken met netwerkstructuren, modulaire processen en continu verbeteren, maar je moet daarbij wel in control blijven
  • Werkorganisatie: Bevlogen teamwork vormt de basis. Om snel te kunnen handelen worden taken, verantwoordelijkheden en bevoegdheden zo laag mogelijk in de organisatie belegd, en gedelegeerd naar resultaatgerichte en zelforganiserende eenheden die op een agile manier werken
  • Technologie: Design for agility. Een flexibele enterprise-architectuur met verschillende soorten businessapplicaties (backoffice-, frontoffice- en innovatieprocessen) en een plug-and-play infrastructuur op basis van standaardisatie, modularisatie en integratie
  • Merk & Klant: Win hart (emotie), hoofd (ratio) en routine (onbewuste). Hoe kan men verbeteren in love to buy, easy to remember en easy to buy)

Conclusie: Het boek maakt op een overzichtelijke wijze helder wat wendbaarheid inhoudt voor een organisatie en hoe je als organisatie meer wendbaar kan worden. De titel suggereert dat we op één A4 een wendbare strategie kunnen vastleggen en hanteert hiervoor het wendbaarheidscanvas. Het boek maakt dat wat mij betreft niet waar. Om het canvas te kunnen gebruiken had wat mij betreft de positionering van verschillende onderdelen op het canvas meer met elkaar in lijn gebracht of geclusterd kunnen worden. Ook had ik graag een paar ingevulde canvassen willen zien. Nu is het beschreven canvas niet meer dan opsomming van de 11 aandachtsgebieden en blijft onduidelijk wat er nu in het canvas ingevuld moet worden. Sterker nog, bij een aantal bouwstenen wordt weer verwezen naar werkwijzen waarbij een canvas, wederom omschreven als een hulpmiddel op één A4, voor die specifieke bouwsteen moet worden ingevuld (b.v. Waarde Propositie Canvas, Business Model Canvas).

Bestellen: Wendbare strategie op één A4

A birds eye view on the agile frameworks forest

Some years ago, you could say “Scrum is agile” and ask “is agile Scrum?” Now we know there is more flesh on the bones. At this moment there are more than fifty known and less known agile frameworks available. To get a first impression of the different frameworks, I try to bring some structure in the jungle to methods and frameworks. In Figure 1, I position the best-known agile frameworks in a structure. The frameworks are positioned within the ‘One-time programs / projects’ sections or within ‘Business as usual’ / indefinite, or both.

Grasp session (Scaling Agile T-Mobile, 2019 Q1) v0.1Fig. 1 Overview agile framework[1]

On the other side the frameworks are clustered around team, product or programme and portfolio level. In the dark blue boxes in Figure 1 we see agile frameworks that are only applicable in IT-focused organizations. All other frameworks can be used within IT and non-IT-oriented organizations (light blue coloured). I haven’t mapped all the known frameworks in this figure, and to be honest, I think there is a lot of duplication and probably commercial drivers play a role too to ‘develop’ the next kid on the block without added value in comparison with the existing frameworks.

The team level, including Scrum and Kanban, is applicable in both IT-oriented and non-IT-oriented products and services development and operations. The engineering level focuses specifically on IT-oriented product development. The one-time, temporary projects and programme frameworks are suitable for both IT and non-IT. The permanent umbrella frameworks (both product-targeted and team-targeted) focus specifically on IT and product development and the business-targeted frameworks help organisations to increase their agility.

Teamlevel

If we start at the team level in Figure 1, then we see of course Scrum as described by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in their Scrum Guide. In addition, you will see frameworks such as Kanban (as described in the Kanban Guide for Scrum Teams), Scrumban and DevOps or BusDevOps. The team level can be used both within the IT environment and the non-IT environment. At this team level we can position the following IT frameworks too: Crystal family (developed by Alistair Cockburn with Crystal Clear and Crystal Yellow, Orange, Orange Web, Red, Maroon, Diamond, and Sapphire), Rapid Application Development (RAD developed by James Martin), Adaptive Software Development (ASD by Jim Highsmith, Sam Bayer), Agile Unified Process (AUP) as a simplified version of Rational Unified Process (RUP) which was superseded by Disciplined Agile Development (DAD) which was superseded by Disciplined Agile (DA). If you want to deliver quality as a team within the IT world, only following these frameworks is not enough. To improve quality and minimize technical debt (e.g., inefficient code due to many iterative adjustments), you could make use of eXtreme Programming (XP, developed by Kent Beck, Ward Cunningham, and Rom Jeffries) with Pair Programming, Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD), Test Driven Development (TDD), Behaviour Driven Development (BDD), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Example Driven development (EDD), User Experience (UX) Design, Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. AgileBA delivers the techniques to perform business analysis.

Agile modeling (AM) is a methodology for modeling and documenting software systems based on best practices. It is a collection of values and principles, that can be applied on an (agile) software development project. There are several core practices: documentation, document continuously, document late, executable specifications, single-source information, active stakeholder participation, architecture envisioning, inclusive tools, iteration modeling, just barely good enough (JBGE), look-ahead modeling, model storming, multiple models, prioritized requirements, requirements envisioning.

 Scrum or Kanban?

When teams start working with Agile, Scrum is often chosen. An obvious choice, but the question is whether this is always the right choice. In a Roman Pichler[2] blog the link was made with the life phase of a product. During the first phase of a commercial product lifecycle, in which the commercial product is finally put on the market for the first time, the uncertainty is high, and the focus is on on-time delivery of the first market-ready product. A deadline has been set and that date must be met. During this phase, the focus of the entire team is on delivering a commercially marketable product. This development is perfect for Scrum with its iterative approach, being able to deal with uncertainty and working together on the result (the commercial product). Optionally, a second launch can take place with a next set of important functionalities, so that eventually a mature product is put on the market. During the further course of the product lifecycle, we see the amount of uncertainty and requested changes decrease. At this moment you can make good use of Kanban. In a continuous flow, User Stories can be picked up, developed and deployed one by one by individual team members.

If one looks at the often difficult transfer to production environments, the time-to-market can be shortened by properly arranging the transfer and reducing the number of transfer errors when development and production teams are merged, and the integration testing and deployment are automated (Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment CI/CD). In this way a DevOps team is created.

Scrumban is the combination of Scrum and Kanban. In the first instance it was intended as a transitional model to switch from Scrum to Kanban and let the team experience Lean- and Kanban concepts. Nowadays it is an approach in which the team has chosen to work according to Scrum with Sprints, but to use the Kanban system to continually view and improve its working method to optimize the flow of units of work (e.g. User Stories).

Scaling up towards product- or program level

In order to be able to use an agile way of working in an organization of some size, just having individual agile teams is not enough. The agile way of working needs to be scaled up and where possible the overarching alignment needs to be institutionalized.

To institutionalize coordination, management of dependencies and integration between the different permanent agile teams within ‘the run-the-business’ / ‘business-as-usual’ side there are various frameworks available, including:

  • Nexus, as described in The Nexus Guide, is a framework for developing product or software development initiatives with three to nine Scrum Teams, in Sprints of up to thirty days. Nexus is the answer of Ken Schwaber, one of the founding fathers of Scrum, to the scalability of Scrum. It requires more than just the will and the agile behaviour of the different Scrum Teams to work together to deliver an integrated product. Nexus is based and builds on Scrum and the rules and roles formulated in The Scrum Guide. We can position Nexus over the team and program levels of SAFe, but it does not offer provisions on portfolio level.
  • Scrum at Scale (S@S, developed by Jeff Sutherland and Alex Brown) is a modular framework. The starting point at S@S is that an all-encompassing one-size-fits-all framework is not possible, but that every time we have to look at scaling of the underlying Scrum principles. The framework can be tailored for your own organization by adding the needed S@S modules. S@S builds on the well-known Scrum framework. By analogy with Nexus you could therefore say that S@S is the answer from Jeff Sutherland, next to Ken Schwaber, the other founding father of Scrum, on the scalability of Scrum.
  • Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS, developed by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde) is an agile framework with rules, based on principles and doing experiments. The LeSS Company offers a freely accessible knowledge base (less.works) containing the integrated approach, principles, process descriptions, definitions, roles, examples, et cetera, for large-scale, mainly IT-related, product development. Transparency is also a key concept within LeSS. The first version dates from 2005 and since then, work is constantly being done on the use and further development of LeSS.
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe, developed by Dean Leaffingwell) is a framework to enable scaling up of agile teams in order to create better systems, create higher employee engagement and make use of correct cost considerations. This is the mission of the scaled agile organization and of the founder of SAFe, Dean Leffingwell. The scaled agile organization offers a knowledge base that is freely accessible to everyone (www.scaledagileframework.com) with an integrated approach in the form of process descriptions, definitions, roles, examples, etc. for Lean / Agile product development. SAFe is based on five core competences: Lean-Agile Leadership, Team and Technical Agility, DevOps and Release on Demands, Business Solutions and Lean Systems and Lean Portfolio management.

Figure 1 (see the ‘Business as usual’ / indefinite block), makes use of a division between product and team targets, namely on the basis of cooperation, if necessary, of teams or not. Or with other words, can the individual teams work autonomous (team focus) or do they have to work together to deliver a new or modified product (product focus). The fore mentioned frameworks all relate to examples where multiple teams work on a single complex product or value stream (product targeted frameworks). Not visual in the figure several frameworks make a distinction between products where you are working together in with a maximum of nine teams (in total the team of teams must not exceed the Dunbar number of 125-150 people) and a team of teams of teams (e.g. SAFe large solutions, Nexus+, LeSS Huge).

The other group concerns frameworks to support IT departments that have to maintain dozens or hundreds of applications or services, whereby the dependencies between the teams are minimal (multiple team targeted frameworks). Here the Spotify model (developed by Henrik Kniberg, Anders Ivarsson and Joakim Sundén) can be positioned, but also Scaled Agile Lean Development (ScALeD, developed by Peter Beck, Markus Gartner, Christoph Mathis, Stefan Roock and Andreas Schliep). For both groups, there are essential interfaces between the teams in areas such as data integrity, security and architecture that may not or sometimes will ask for coordination when implementing changes.

In addition, there are many, less known, frameworks that can offer support at the product level, including Agile Integration Framework (AIF), Agile Team Portfolio Management (AgileTPM), AgilePath, Continuous Agile, Disciplined Agile (DA), Enterprise Scrum, Enterprise Agility, FAST Agile, RAGE, Surge, XSCALE, Industrial XP, and AgileDS.

On the left side of figure 1 we see the one-time projects and programs as part of ‘change the business’. Here a distinction is made between projects and programs. Within the project block we see three frameworks and/or methods, all three of which are a further development of the more traditional project management frameworks:

  • Agile Project Management (AgilePM, which is derived from DSDM);
  • PRINCE2 Agile (derived from PRINCE2 from AXELOS)
  • PMI-ACP (in addition to the PMBoK Guide of PMI)
  • Project Half Double (Project Half Double is run by a community of dedicated project management practitioners who are passionate about what they do)
  • Agile Project Management (APM), not mentioned in the figure, can be positioned here too.

On the program side we see:

  • Managing Successful Programs (MSP from AXELOS) that is very agile in itself with the step-by-step growth (via tranches) towards the intended goal (and connects to PRINCE2 (Agile)) and
  • AgilePgM (Agile Program Management of Agile Business Consortium) that connects with AgilePM on the one hand and is comparable with MSP on the other hand.

Praxis covered the portfolio, programme and team levels. Praxis is a free framework for the management of projects, programmes and portfolios (based on PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, AgilePM and other frameworks). It includes a body of knowledge, methodology, competency framework and capability maturity model. The framework is supported by a knowledgebase of resources and an encyclopaedia.

Disciplined Agile (DA) covers both one-time projects and programs as well as business as usual product development. The DA toolkit is a process decision toolkit that describes how agile software development, DevOps, IT, and business teams work in enterprise-class settings.

Portfolio management level

Traditional portfolio management focuses on ‘change the business’. In the previous chapters it has become clear that more and more changes are being handled by the line organization, that is to say: by the permanent agile teams. This means that portfolio management must now also provide an overview of what takes place in ‘run the business’ / ‘business as usual’ for to be implemented change initiatives. Existing portfolio frameworks such as Management or Portfolios (MoP from AXELOS) and Standard for Portfolio Management (SfPfM from PMI) only cover the change-the-business part. Agile Portfolio Management (AgilePfM from ABC) covers ‘run the business’ / ‘business as usual’ as well as ‘change the business’.

In addition, there are a number of agile frameworks that also include a portfolio management component:

  • SAFe offers a portfolio management layer to control ‘run the business’ / ‘business as usual’ permanent team(s) of teams.
  • Disciplined Agile (DA) offers a portfolio process in which, in addition to projects, a number of ‘run-the-business’ / ‘business-as-usual’ aspects are taken into account, such as the permanent teams and the operational management of existing IT solutions.
  • Scrum @ Scale contains modules Strategic vision and Organizational development to which portfolio management can be related.
  • Spotify also provides its own portfolio management approach with its strategic planning.
  • AgilePfM use some basic concepts of an innovation hub, an agile portfolio process, maturity of the initiatives within the portfolio as well as horizons for an agile portfolio.

At the moment (Jan’ 2019) there are no mature portfolio management frameworks that include ‘change the business’ as well as ‘run the business’ / ‘business as usual’. AgilePfM was launched by the Agile Business Consortium (previously DSDM Consortium) as part of their Agile Business Change Framework. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the overarching agile portfolio management principles are based on frameworks like SAFe, Agile PfM and Disciplined Agile.

Business level

The culture targeted block provides frameworks to increase business agility by changing the mindset of all staff in the organisation. What does it mean to work in an agile way? How can we make sure that the Agile Manifesto values and principles are understand and applied, and the Scrum values (courage, focus, commitment, respect and openness) are part of what we are doing? If the right mindset is in place it makes it much easier to implement an agile framework. In figure 1 the following frameworks are mentioned:

  • Open Space Agility (OSA) is a safe, pragmatic and repeatable technique for getting a rapid and lasting Agile adoption. It works with the framework you are currently using, and OSA can be added at any time. OSA is used to actively engage as many employees as possible in your Agile program.
  • AgileSHIFT (developed byAXELOS) is a framework that prepares people for transformational change by creating a culture of enterprise agility. The AgileSHIFT framework helps organizations to undergo a transformational change, to adopt a ‘survive, compete and thrive’ mindset. It will help to bridge the gap between the current and the target state (the Delta in AgileSHIFT) by embracing a range of agile, structured and hybrid approaches across the organization. The existing severe split between ‘run the business’ and ‘change the business’ will vanish.
  • Agility scales (developed by Jurgen Appelo) helps organizations achieve agility at scale from the bottom up – with measurable evidence of organizational transformation.
  • Lean Startup (developed by Eric Ries) is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, by using a minimum viable product (MVP), iterative product releases, and validated learning.
  • Holacracy (developed by Ternary founder Brian Robertson) is a method of decentralized management and organizational governance, in which authority and decision-making are distributed throughout a holarchy of self-organizing teams rather than being vested in a management hierarchy.

Not mentioned in the figure:

  • Goal Driven Agile (GDA) rests on three main pillars: autonomy, alignment and structured improvement. It’s a very simple framework and consists of only one base structure, the diamond, five roles and ten building blocks.

Already more than 50 agile frameworks and it’s still growing. The figure can help you in your agile framework selection process, but it cannot be said often enough, do not act dogmatically, see a framework not as a panacea that can be implemented out of the box. Common sense helps too to achieve more agility and probably the best route to become more agile is dividing your products and services into smaller autonomous parts and have them supported by an individual team.

To download this article: A birds eye view on the agile frameworks forest v1.3

[1] This picture is based on a simpler version in the book Scaling Agile in organizaties (Portman, 2017)
[2] Pichler, Roman, ‘Is Scrum right for your product?’, 19 september 2016, see: www.romanpichler.com