Saturday, September 30, 2006

Scaling Agility: Agile Program Management

Over the past months I've come across a bunch of good links & papers on the topic of "Going Agile" at the program-level:

Michele Sliger (of Rally Software Development) has several good articles and presentations on Relating PMBOK Practices to Agile Practices
On using Agile methods in organizations with a stage/gate approach to program management, see some of Per Runeson's work in this area:
Murray Cantor has some good papers on Governance and Variance as it applies to Agility:
Some other papers & resources:

Those interested in some advanced agile planning concepts should look at Jeff Sutherland's paper on Scrum II - The Future of Scrum: Parallel Pipelining of Sprints in Complex Projects (and the presentation slides that go with it)

There are several REALLY GOOD whitepapers on Adopting & Scaling Agile at Rally's Agile Knowledge Portal, including the following in particular:

There's gotta be some other good stuff out there and Agile Portfolio, Program and Multi-Project Management! If you know of any - please add a comment and hyperlink or URL!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Scaling Agility: Agile Systems Engineering

Over the past months I've come across a bunch of good links & papers on the topic of "Going Agile" at the program-level for large systems and systems of systems. Some of these relate to Agile program Management and others are more about Agile Systems Engineering (and some relate to both). I'll mention the ones on Agile Systems Engineering in this blog-entry and leave the ones on agile program management for a subsequent entry:

That's the best I came up with. If you know of other good links on this topic, please send me a comment!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Scaling Agility: Adapting Agile to the Organization

Here is a list of resources I've found that I feel are applicable in figuring out how to scale Agility for a large organization and project. (On the subject of metrics and values, I personally find Sam Guckenheimers work to be of greatest interest):

Additions and corrections are welcome!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Scaling Agility: Seamless Agility across the Enterprise

David Anderson writes about the recent Agile2006 conference in his blog-entry Thoughts for Agile2006:

Scaling Agile. The BIG issue for this year is scaling agile across a whole organization. I see this as having three parts - program or multi-project management and the rollup of schedules and resource plans to a Director or VP level; architecture and enterprise level modeling of a domain and data center; and finally configuration management including build, integration, branch and merge strategies, and work-in-progress batching and related communication.

Ive been dealing with this topic a LOT lately in my own organization as part of efforts to spread amd adapt Agile methods across a large distributed enterprise working with large systems and teams. Ive been researching and collecting lots of resources, including some earlier blog-entries on Agile CMMI and Dancing Elephants and Agile Adoption across the industry.

My perceptions of where the "seams" of the enterprise are that are hardest to introduce Agility into are the close collaboration and alignment required across organizational (lifecycle discipline) boundaries and geographic boundaries (and I find the former to be more difficult to surmount than the latter.)

If I try to categorize them as different areas or aspects that each require the ability to be agile, I come up with something like:
  • Process - Adapting Agile to the Organization (making processes responsive to change)

  • Product - Agile Systems Engineering/Architecture (making the requirements & architecture be responsive to change)

  • Project - Agile Program Management & Governance (making the project be responsive to change)

  • People - Distributed Agile Development (collaborating across multiple sites, teams, and timezones)

  • Organization - Agile Metrics/Reporting, Governance, and Organizational Design

  • Environment - Agile CM, deployment, operation/support, etc.

I'll be blogging separately with lists of resources of found for several of the above.

Monday, September 18, 2006

TEA-Time - a metric to elicit TDD behavior?

I've been thinking about a metric that might elicit Test-Driven behaviors in my organization. As a first step to TDD, we definitely want folks to create automated tests as much as feasible and execute them frequently. Once they get that, I've been thinking about what sort of metric might encourage them to actually work in short, test-driven cycles, where requirements are elaborated test-by-test (given a use-case or story, write the first test, write the code to pass the test, refactor, rinse-lather-repeat).

Some of these folks are very much ingrained in a systems engineering V-model lifecycle that does a lot of big-requirements up-front. So ensuring they work to automate tests and execute them frequently isn't enough to enourage them to use an interative approach of fine-grained TDD-style elaboration. An idea I had for what to measure is something I chose to call Test-Execution Availability Time, or TEA-Time (I figure if nothing else, my friends in the U.K will like the name :-).

As proposed, Test-Execution Availability Time (or TEA-Time) would be defined as the mean time between when a system requirement description is first baselined, and the time at which a "sufficient" number of automated tests for the requirement were implemented and ready (available) to be executed.

I was thinking that if a group was measuring this and wanted to behave in a way that minimized TEA-Time, it might encourage them to elaborate requirements in an iterative and incremental fashion, in smaller and smaller "functional slices". One thing I'm not sure of is what "a sufficient number of automated tests" should be in the above.

Any thoughts or comments?

Friday, September 15, 2006

REVIEW: Practices of an Agile Developer

Are you a developer who wants to improve your personal development habits in a way that helps not just yourself, but also incrementally improves your project and your team? If so, then run, don't walk, and get your hands on Practices of an Agile Developer: Working in the Real World by Venkat Subramaniam & Andy Hunt, from the Pragmatic Programmer's Bookshelf.

Want to know more about why? Then read the complete review in the September issue of The Agile Journal (the theme for September is Collaboration and Reuse).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Agile CM on YahooGroups

As mentioned in an earlier blog-entry, I have created an Agile CM Yahoo Group. The description is:
The agile-cm group is for the discussion of ideas relating to Configuration Management for Agile development and of applying Agile concepts, methods and tools to the practice of Configuration Management itself (and CM "Patterns"). This includes aspects of CM that relate to agile development, refactoring & design patterns, agile project-management, Lean, Theory of Constraints (TOC), even SixSigma and CMMI to the extent that they can help CM and related practices to be more "agile".

As I wrote earlier, I hope this new agile-cm group will have a healthy balance of both SCM folks and Agile development folks so we can have some constructive multi-faceted discussions.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How I Blogged my Summer Vacation

Some of you may have wondered what the heck happened to my blog during August and the first half of September. Well - I lost some write-access to my website for a lot of the summer (while my host was recovering from a denial of service attack) and I couldn't login and update it.

I had several blog-entries "queued up" simply needing some final cleaning-up before I made them live, and that got interrupted, then I couldnt access them, then I had some vacations/travel, then I needed to "catch up" when I got back to work, and so on ...

So over the next week or two I'll be "pushing out" the entries I wrote-up in August, using the date they were originally written. I'll also be making available the talk I gave in July at Architecture & Design World 2006 on the subject of "SCM Patterns for Agile Architectures."

In October/November I may not be blogging much at all as I'll be trying to recover from major surgery (I'm giving one of my kidney's to a family member).

Monday, September 04, 2006

Relating SCM Patterns to SCM Principles

Our August Agile SCM column in the CM Journal is about Relating SCM Patterns to SCM Principles. The article is pretty flimsy, barely a skeleton, and that's pretty much entirely my my fault. I meant to write more "meat" about how certain principles are the underlying forces behind several patterns. I wanted to show how the principles are strongly related, much the same way patterns in a pattern language are related. And I wanted to show how that structure shaped the relationships between the patterns as well. Rob did a really good job trying to put together what I had with what he could come up with, but I didn't really give him enough and couldn't easily convey it in a way that made it easy for him to "run with it!"

It's not that I don't see those relationships, I do. And I'm not lacking for words to describe them either. I'm having trouble describing them clearly and concisely. A big part of that is because I still don't like the names of the SCM Principles as I've described them so far. Their names currently relate to the OOD Principles they were derived from. I think that might speak to programmers, but not to folks trying to do version control (even if they also wear "developer" hats). I really want to go back and rework the names of the principles to be more simple and direct.

This is something Ive been working in my mind on and off for alkmost a decade now. To me, it is of profound important - perhaps even the most significant contribution I'll have made to the field of SCM to date. THe interest level doesn't seem to be so high on the scm-patterns list and the forums (but that hasn't deterred me - yet :). I really do think it's not a coincidence that principles of object-oriented design also manifest themselves as fundamental principles of SCM solution design (because I think both are all about architecture - and minimizing and managing dependencies).

I'd really like feedback. On this stuff so if you've had a chance to read thru the June, July and August Agile CM columns, I'm going to create a new YahooGroup about Agile-CM for discussing these and other Agile CM issues. Hopefully this new agile-cm group will have a healthy balance of both SCM folks and Agile development folks so we can have some constructive multi-faceted discussions.