Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
Recently I participated in a steering discussion for one of the large-scale agile marketing implementations I’m consulting. We’re using a marketing variant of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) there – including planning and executing on a quarterly cadence using Program Increments (PIs).
A key struggle that surfaced was: “Planning the quarter just a week or two before it starts is way too late for us since we have so many long-lead-time activities that support us – things like media buys & field event logistics. Can we plan the quarter earlier in the quarter? Should we consider planning the quarter a quarter in advance? “
My take on this is that when we plan the Program Increment we plan whatever work we need to do in that time period. Some of that work will be delivered throughout the quarter & some would be delivered in the next quarter or even later (e.g. when working on the huge annual customer event). The key question to ask is from a Cost of Delay perspective when will we reach the last reponsible moment to start developing the campaign/program and if that moment is in the upcoming quarter it needs to be considered as part of the planning.
Another way to look at some of these activities is as Enablers (Another SAFe concept) – we do them now to enable us to deliver later. At each point in time some of our capacity would be dedicated to the “Runway” which is work that enables later delivery. (This is called Architectural Runway in canonical SAFe but that name is not very appropriate to the Marketing world I guess…).
NOTE – If we find too much of our capacity is dedicated to “Runway” activities it is an indication that our time to market is probably quite long since most deliveries require multiple quarters to mature. We should look at the main reasons we need to use the “Runway” and start to think about ways to minimize the lead time/overheads associated with them.
An example – Purchasing Media for the whole year due to “Economies of Scale”. Does that mean we need to plan media usage for all campaigns almost a year in advance? Or is there an effective way to purchase the media and figure out the most effective use once we actually start to plan out the details for each campaign/activity throughout the year?
This is just one example of the “Lost In Translation” effect when applying Agile in Marketing. What I find helps is remembering the principles/models (That’s part of my role here – making sure people understand lean/agile deeper – beyond the superficial Scrum Master/Sprint/Agile Team level).
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
I’m excited to be heading to Agile 2016. I’ll be in Atlanta all week and will talk about SAFER SAFe implementations on Wednesday (See the full session description below)
This will be my first time attending/speaking at the Agile Alliance annual conference. In the past it was a tough time to travel to the US smack in the middle of the summer vacation in Israel. But now it is both an easier travel coming from Boston and I also get the opportunity to take the family along and visit friends and family in the area.
I’m looking forward to the big agile conference experience. Looking forward to meet long-time friends and make new ones as well as have some interesting bizdev discussions.
Are you coming to Atlanta? If you want to meet/catchup contact me on twitter or leave me a comment here or on the conference scheduling/social app where you can also see the sessions I’m thinking of attending.
Hope to see you there!
The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe(tm)) is a powerful and popular framework for implementing agile at large scale across the enterprise.
In this talk we will examine some dangerous Agile at Scale implementation anti-patterns from real-world cases I’ve been involved in such as:
- Planned/Mandate-based implementation across the enterprise – Pushing implementations onto people regardless of their interest/motivation to change.
- Prescribed-based implementation – Either by the book or as designed by a central committee or an external consultant.
- Total focus on practices starting from training all the way through assessment/metrics and lack of attention to spirit/principles.
- Expecting every group in the organization to work the same way and implement change the same way.
We will then look at some healthier alternatives I used to drive more successful & sustainable change in several organizations. You will learn some concrete techniques that help live up to the Lean/Agile principles of respecting and engaging people.
Using SAFe as the specific backdrop for discussion, we will review field-proven ideas such as pull-based crossing the chasm approach to implementation, use of open space as part of the different SAFe ceremonies, and how Open Space Agility can combine with SAFe.
Note that the ideas and practices have also been tried with other Scaled Agile approaches such as Enterprise Kanban, LeSS.
- Get familiar with some scaled agile implementation anti-patterns related to push/mandate.
- Understand when to choose pull/invitation as a healthier more sustainable and successful alternative.
- Get some concrete techniques to bring pull/invitation into a scaled agile implementation approach – focusing on SAFe 1-2-3 implementation approach specifically.
- Have a high-level understanding of how to implement SAFe using “Open Space Technology”.
- Understand how to apply these ideas to any Scaled Agile approach (not just SAFe)
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
Agile Meets Research / Data Scientists
As agile spreads wider and wider I often get to work with researchers (a.k.a Data Scientists) working closely with product development. When going agile these people struggle to figure out how it fits their unique style of work. One of those researchers I encountered on an Advanced Analytics group in Intel was Shahar. We had a chat recently and I asked him if he would be so kind to write a guest post describing his perspective. And he delivered! If you’re a researcher trying to make agile work or you’re implementing agile and you’re trying to help your researchers figure it out, this should be interesting!
Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes
It’s Agile Marketing Time
One of my interesting engagements these days is with a corporate marketing group in one of the top global enterprise technology companies. They have a very serious agile initiative in product development and their CMO basically said “I think I need Corporate Marketing to become agile as well”. Continue reading
Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes
So you decided that you need some sort of scaled agile approach. (If you’re not sure yet maybe this can help).
Maybe you chose to implement the Scaled Agile Framework. Maybe Large Scale Scrum (LeSS). In any case you have a new construct of a “Team of Agile Teams”.
You also actually listened in training and understood that there’s a strong preference to Feature Teams over Component Teams in SAFe and that in LeSS Component Teams are not even allowed in the door. So out of the 8 teams on your “Team of Agile Teams”/“Program”/“Agile Release Train” 7 are actually almost-feature-teams while the last team is a component team they often depend on.
But now something is troubling you…
Should all those Feature Teams be able to take on every Feature? Or does each team need to have some deeper specialisation/focus on the train? Is it even possible/realistic to expect full flexibility? Is it a good idea from a “Respect People” perspective? Continue reading