I bet many of you are working to use agile in your organization. Is your agile approach working for you?
If you think you could use agile better, maybe it’s time to define what agile success means to you. Consider these three questions:
- What is valuable to us?
- How will we measure what is valuable?
- What is the first deliverable we can achieve to provide value?
There’s nothing on this list about the length of the iteration, or seeing work in progress. Those are tactics, helping you towards success.
If you don’t know what success looks like for you, you might never achieve it.
Dave, a senior manager at an organization, told me he thought agile might work, but maybe not for his organization. I asked him if he had considered what success looked like. He looked puzzled, so I asked him what was valuable to the organization and to him.
He said, “We want to provide better software for our customers. We don’t need to be faster, per se, but we can’t keep producing visible defects. We would be faster if we didn’t have to fix things all the time. I would like it if we could release faster, but I’m not sure our customers will take more small features faster. I know that we need to find problems before our customers do.
I asked Dave what he wanted to measure. He grinned, and explained:
“There’s a way to measure escaped problems, right? I want that at every level: the feature, the iteration, the acceptance tests, the release. I want that number to get as close to zero as possible.”
We discussed defect escape rates for all the stories and internal releases. They released every two weeks internally, and about once every two months to their customer base.
“I also want to know when people get stuck. I think but don’t know that people make expedient decisions when they get stuck.”
We discussed the fault feedback ratio to know if developers and testers were ping-ponging defects. We also discussed how teams could use their internal velocity burnup charts to see if they make progress on stories.
What was the first deliverable that could show value? Dave thought for a few seconds.
“I would love to see an internal release where we can’t find any defects. We don’t have that now. Partially, it’s because the developers and testers were separate. With agile, they’ll be together. I’m pretty sure we don’t have enough testing, either. But I somehow want to see something that shows that the teams work together.”
We discussed internal releases and how people outside the teams could see features or use the internal releases.
When you define what success means to you, you can decide how to use agile (or any other change) to your benefit.
(Update: Courtesy of the lovely folks at Agile Translators, you can read the French translation of this article here: http://www.les-traducteurs-agiles.org/2018/03/27/definissez-vos-criteres-de-reussite-agiles.html
If you are involved in helping in making agile a success for your organization, please join us at the Influential Agile Leader. Gil Broza and I are leading the event April 6-7, 2016 in Boston and May 4-5, 2016 in London.
Early bird registration ends Feb 29, 2016.
In addition, I am offering these online workshops in March:
* Practical Product Ownership: Deliver What Your Customers Need
* Writing Non-Fiction Workshop to Enhance Your Business and Reputation
Early bird registration ends February 12, 2016.
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© 2016 Johanna Rothman
Tags: agile, fault feedback ratio, lean, problem solving, project management, servant leadership, value