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!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the excellent list of Agile PM resources! There is so much out there when searching it's hard to determine which sites are worth the time. Your posts/lists will definitely help me focus on solid resources.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this excellent compilation of Agile articles/posts.

I have published very recently an article about the Agile Limitations, which is a rare subject... Take a look whenever you have time.

taraleewhitaker said...

Thanks for the list of resources!

Another great agile programme/portfolio management tool is the Agile Epic Board.

Similar to a Task Board, the Epic Board takes things up a level. Instead of working your way through a prioritised list of stories/tasks within a sprint, the Epic Board allows you to plan and prioritise the delivery of Projects/Epics and Stories across a number of sprints/teams. It's a great centrepoint for any Scrum of Scrums and enables you to see bottlenecks/progress/priorities at a glance.

I've written a couple of posts explaining the idea on my blog ( plus have shared a few diagrams/pictures of our board.

It has really helped us, so thought I'd share.

Tara Whitaker

Brad Appleton said...

Hi Tara! I like your post on Introducing the Agile Epic Board a lot.

In fact, it reminds me more than a little bit of the Kanban approach to software development being used to plan and coordinate multiple agile teams.

If you used a work-in-progress limit for each team/swim-lane on your Epic board, you'd pretty much have a Kanban system for program-management of multiple agile teams.

This might also require scaled-up version of Scrum-of-Scrums called "Team of Teams" or "Integrated Product Team" where the Team-of-Teams includes some dedicated people whose primary function is the program/release-level management and coordination (and "cadence"), in addition to the representatives from each team that normally make-up a Scrum-of-Scrums.

taraleewhitaker said...

Thanks, Brad! I'm really glad you found it useful.

It's funny you mention WIP limits as I touch on this in my most recent blog post(!): Agile Programme Management Increases Flexibility.

At the moment we do run a programme-level Scrum of Scrums as well as a programme-level sprint planning session, which takes place prior to the formal sprint planning session.

By having a two-tiered approach to sprint-planning, we're able to prioritise and allocate technical debt/deadline-driven work centrally in advance of our formal planning sessions with the primary stakeholders.

This has helped to simplify the planning/prioritisation process and has allowed us address technical debt and other issues that are essential but often deemed to be lower priority than the 'pick of the sprint'.

Re: resource, I have one Product Manager that owns cross-portfolio initiatives and a Central Product Coordinator ensuring that all programme-level documentation is kept up to date(Epic Board/Release plans/Sharepoint).

The Central Product Team take turns attending daily scrums across the programme to track story-level dependencies between teams and report on the mid-sprint delivery of high-visibility stories/epics. The Central Product Manager may also make guest appearances at a team Requirements Workshop as necessary.

Enough from me - I'm now off to learn all about Kanban!



Project Management Software said...

Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives. It is sometimes conflated with program management, however technically a program is actually a higher level construct: a group of related and somehow interdependent projects.