by Kevin Tolva
Either at an enterprise level or within just a few application teams, many companies today have gone down the path of adopting agile methodologies into their development lifecycle.
For those new to agile software development, it is best described as an approach under which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customers / end users. It advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continual improvement to deliver software in a rapid and flexible response to change.
Success in agile can often be achieved with smaller sized teams (10 people or less), but many companies are struggling to take agile methodologies to the next level by either scaling to a large single application team or scaling at the enterprise level.
I have observed approaches to scaling agile that introduce new challenges and, ultimately, make a high performing agile team less effective. These approaches (with slight variations) are:
Scaling agile effectively involves adding elements of all team members proportionally to create multiple encapsulated agile teams. These standalone teams are commonly referred to as feature teams. The number of feature teams can increase the overall development capacity by aligning them to logical scope within a single application.
In the following diagram, the feature teams include members from product management, development, architecture, security and the testing teams. Even though all the feature teams are working on a single application, these fully functioning agile teams work independently on separate backlog items with continual integration of the code.
Successful scaling of agile incorporates the following principles:
The benefits of scaling agile by creating multiple feature teams are:
For example, Kenway has guided clients that scaled their agile teams by adding many developers, without increasing their product management capacity accordingly. After correcting the proportions of all agile team roles, we introduced a new feature engagement process that added a monthly pipeline review meeting, feature prioritization meetings, and ensured (well, maybe forced) collaboration between agile teams. Effective communication was significantly increased, and all agile teams felt more connected with the feature roadmap while optimally planning for upcoming features.
Kenway provides IT Strategy services that can help any team trying to scale agile or just wanting to take their effectiveness to the next level. To do this, Kenway can help by conducting an agile assessment to provide an outside perspective with observations and recommendations to make your agile team(s) more effective. We can also provide agile coaching and / or scrum mastering to teach effective agile techniques while performing work as part of the agile team.
If you’re interested in learning more about Kenway Consulting’s approach to agile methodologies, please contact us at email@example.com.
Are you a Business or IT leader accountable for driving change in your organization? Are you a person passionate about helping companies solve business problems by bridging gaps between business and technology? Or just want to say hi?