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Agile Development

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Agile Development ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD RSFOX_at_ARKBLUECROSS.COM (501) 396-4160 Tuesday 9/25, 8:40 - 9:20 Agile development is about engaging the users in ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Agile Development


1
Agile Development
  • ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD
  • RSFOX_at_ARKBLUECROSS.COM
  • (501) 396-4160
  • Tuesday 9/25, 840 - 920

2
  • Robert Fox - Data Architect, Arkansas Blue Cross
    Blue Shield
  • 17 years of data architecture and warehousing
    experience in the finance, telecom, and health
    insurance industries.
  • Installed over 50 data warehouses worldwide, some
    loading more than 4.5 terabytes of new
    transactional data per day.
  • Guest lecturer in information management masters
    degree programs at 3 universities.
  • Speaker at national conferences for Oracle,
    Fidelity, and MDM-CDI.

3
Abstract - Agile IT is about finding balance
  • The term Agile Development is used in several
    ways. Most commonly, the phrase is used in a
    narrow sense to refer strictly to the development
    phase of a software development project. In this
    presentation, I will be using the phrase in a
    much larger sense creating an IT organization
    that is agile in ALL of its parts.
  • I think the term Agile itself is misleading.
    According to the dictionary, agile means
    nimble, quick, and flexible. This definition
    makes it appear that this agile thing we are
    seeking is an extreme, the opposite of rigid.
    Many of the proponents of agile development take
    this view. I believe, however, that agility is
    not an extreme, but a balancing act between
    extremes
  • balancing the desire for continual user feedback
    with the need to let developers remain focused
  • balancing the need for predictability with the
    need for flexibility
  • balance the development of strategic, technical
    infrastructure with the need to respond to
    immediate business requests
  • balancing the need to provide self-service
    interfaces with the need for controlling the
    quality of data and processes
  • All too often, organizations adopting agile
    development completely abandon their existing
    processes (which were unbalanced in one
    direction) in order to adopt an unbalanced polar
    opposite process.
  • Ideally, mature agile development is about
    finding the correct balance across the entire
    organization.

4
AgendaBalancing the Building Blocks of an Agile
IT Organization
Organization Structure
Project Management Methodology
Architecture
Development Methodology
Self Service
5
Agile Development MethodologyBalancing the need
for continuous feedback with the need to keep
developers focused
Organization Structure
Project Management Methodology
Architecture
Development Methodology
Self Service
6
Traditional Developmenta.k.a. waterfall, or
release
  • PROs
  • Supported by most project management software
  • Very clear, up-front understanding of entire
    timeline
  • Clear lines of responsibility

Analysis
Design
Develop
Test
  • CONs
  • Sequential
  • Not iterative
  • Requestor not involved in most of the process
  • Long time between request and delivery

Implement
  • Works well for
  • Large, complex projects involving many
    inter-related components or departments
  • Projects which are foundational to future projects

7
Agile Development
  • PROs
  • Very rapid response to changing needs
  • Requestor involved throughout process

Time-boxed scope
Cross-functional development
  • CONs
  • No clear insight into long-term timeline,
    resource needs, cost, etc.
  • Not well suited to most project management tools
  • Difficult to coordinate strategy and architecture
    across sprints and projects
  • Responsibilities less clear
  • Works well for
  • Small projects which can be completed in
    isolation from other resources and projects
  • Projects which, while perhaps critical on their
    own, are not critical to future projects
  • Small development shops where everyone is working
    on the same project

8
This Is Really Two Issues
  • Finding the right balance of interaction between
    requestor and developer
  • Finding the right balance of administrative
    effort necessary for management insight

Lets think about them separately
9
Balancing Levels of Interaction During Software
Development
  • Working in teams
  • Can keep work from being done wrong, but can also
    keep any work from being done at all.
  • Working in isolation
  • Can keep people focused, but they can be focused
    on the wrong things

10
Finding the Balance
  • We need isolation to focus, but we need to come
    together for vision.
  • We need to get together as soon as there is a
    question, not at the next weekly meeting.
  • We need to develop an environment where people
    are not reluctant to get out of their cubes and
    go sit down with someone else to work things out.
  • Identify your best communicators
  • Give them a title that recognizes and encourages
    this skill
  • Make sure they are assigned to critical projects
  • Use them to mentor other members of the team

11
Agile Project ManagementBalancing the need for
management insight with the need to minimize
project overhead
Organization Structure
Project Management Methodology
Architecture
Development Methodology
Self Service
12
Why do YOU need PM?
  • The questions isnt as simple as you might think.
  • PM is absolutely necessary for management
    insight, but in many cases it has become a tool
    for looking over peoples shoulders because you
    dont trust them to do their jobs.
  • Ask yourself, If we backed off on project
    management, whats the worst that could happen?

13
Is Oversight Needed Because of Cowboy Developers?
  • Will the developers play with technical toys if
    you dont have PM oversight?
  • Ask yourself it they are they willfully violating
    standards, or is the problem that there are no
    standards?

Maybe you told them what the standards are, but
never told them why these standards are
needed Most people will do the right thing if
they know what it is, and agree that its right
in the long run, and its not too much harder in
the short term.
14
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15
Business Goals versus Natural Desires
Do what I tell you to do, or else
If you do things this way, heres what will
happen
Job Security
Recognition
Strong Commitment
Business Goal
Business Goal
Social/Fun
Weak Commitment
Family
Creativity
It could be that the reason your organization
needs so much PM Oversight is that your people
havent bought into the vision. Most people will
do the right thing, if they understand what and
why in terms that are personally meaningful
16
Finding the Balance
  • Clearly document standards and processes
  • Communicate the vision of the future made
    possible by these standards, and put in terms
    relevant to the target audience
  • Invest in the tools and infrastructure necessary
    to make following the standards easier than
    violating them

17
Oversight Needed Because of Weak Supervisors?
  • Are the supervisors
  • Incapable of adapting to changing conditions, and
    you need PM oversight to steer their projects for
    them?
  • Incapable of locking down scope creep?
  • Incapable of enforcing standards?
  • In many cases, this is due to the same problem of
    communication of standards and vision.
  • In some cases, however, it is not.

18
Agile Organization StructureBalancing the need
for creative thinking with the need for
well-defined, repeatable process
Organization Structure
Project Management Methodology
Architecture
Development Methodology
Self Service
19
Predictabilty vs Flexability
  • Two Approaches to Project Management
  • The Factory Floor
  • Research and Development
  • Balancing Lessons From Jack
  • Understand which processes are cookie-cutter
    and which are not, and manage them differently
  • Put the right people in the right roles

Jack Welch CEO of GEFortune Magazine Manager
of the Century
20
Maybe its not weak supervisors, but a weak
organization chart
  • Are the supervisors incapable of adapting to
    changing conditions, and you need PM oversight to
    steer their projects for them?
  • Perhaps they are in the wrong positions
  • Operations conservative, process oriented
  • Development creative, solution oriented
  • Perhaps they need to be let go
  • Jack Welch fired the bottom 10 of his managers
    for several years
  • Creative Roles
  • Development
  • Strategic Planning
  • User Interface Design
  • Training
  • Documentation
  • Tool Selection
  • Solution Oriented
  • Quality Roles
  • QA/Testing
  • Change Management
  • Security
  • Operations
  • Audit
  • Compliance
  • Process Oriented

21
Agile Development Can Be an Organizational Issue
Project Flow
Often, development is not agile because the same
resources are asked to focus on too many things.
Organization should reflect functional
responsibility. We know better than to let
developers test their own code. But do you know
to separate creative development from rigid
operations? To separate tactical development
from strategic architecture?
22
Know when to hold em, and know when to fold em
  • Was it an issue with communication of standards
    or vision?
  • Was it an example of misplaced skillset?
  • Or was it a case where the person needs to be let
    go?
  • Adding permanent project management overhead
    should be a last resort, not a first.

23
Agile ArchitectureBalancing the need to invest
in tomorrows infrastructure with the need to
meet the demands of the business today
Organization Structure
Project Management Methodology
Architecture
Development Methodology
Self Service
24
Today versus Tomorrow
Strategic Determining long range destination and
planning a path to it
Tactical Keeping the lights on. Meeting day to
day business demands
25
Finding the balance
  • How do you balance the need to get things done
    quickly and cheaply with the need to prepare for
    the future?
  • Dedicate resources to developing and maintaining
    a 3-5 year strategy for ALL the functional areas
    of your organization. Include both what the
    future looks like, and a tentative roadmap to get
    there.
  • During budgeting process each year, make sure to
    ask for funds for any IT-sponsored, strategic
    projects.
  • When tactical business requests come in, analyze
    each to see how it can be implemented in a way
    that aligns with the long term strategy.

26
Agile Business IntelligenceBalancing the need to
remove development bottleneck with the need to
ensure data is used appropriately
Organization Structure
Project Management Methodology
Architecture
Development Methodology
Self Service
27
Agile Means IT is Not a Bottleneck
Enterprises where IT addresses more than 20 of
BI requirements will continue to see the snowball
effect of an ever-growing BI requests
backlog Boris Evelson - Forrester Research
BI requirements change faster than an IT-centric
model can keep up Jim Ericson - Editorial
director of Information Management
Maybe what we should be looking at isnt turning
around IT projects faster, but instead
architecting a managed platform where the
business is able to self-serve their information
needs using safe information.
28
Finding the balance
  • Implement business rules in the database, not in
    business reports
  • Build specialized data marts for specific data
    domains
  • Provide awesome meta data
  • Use tools that can explore prebuilt dimensional
    cubes, and drill through to prebuilt detail
    reports
  • Clean up your data
  • Make it easier for your users to user your vetted
    data than to try to pull it themselves
  • Stamp out private copies of data

29
Summary Agile IT OrganizationsBalancing the
need to remove development bottleneck with the
need to ensure data is used appropriately
Organization Structure
Project Management Methodology
Architecture
Development Methodology
Self Service
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