Friday, May 28, 2010

Agile Adoption in the Banking Industry

I was organizing my email today (large backlog as usual, need to put in a policy where I purge things after 6 mths) and came across a summary I had from an agile adoption survey a few of my colleagues conducted with several large banks. This is by no means a scientific survey, just one that was conducted with senior leaders from several different banks. Thought it was interesting to share. Here are the key findings:

1) Banks are using agile in tactical ways

2) Their usage is largely limited to applying two practices “iterative development” and “co-located teams”

3) Architecture is not interested

4) Business and development are interested with QA on the fence

5) Compelling reason is reduce time to market

6) Main barrier is cultural, looks like there is a strong culture factor against it

7) Key challenge is estimation, they are unable to apply it within their current budgeting model

8) Key success factors are executive sponsorship with appropriate coaching

This aligns with a general observation that I have noticed as well. The movement is largely developer driven with business wanting to get in but challenged by their budgeting model. Architecture and QA are largely not bought in.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Value Stream Mapping Session Gone Awry

During one of our lean client engagements, we conducted half a dozen value stream mapping sessions with various groups and project teams from the client organization and this session was an interesting exercise. The session involved a large cross-functional team responsible for maintaining a very large-scale system and we wanted to get representatives involved from each stream / discipline (PM, BA, Dev, Test, Training, Architecture, Service Management, Infrastructure) to get the holistic picture. We ended up with a group of ~20 people and one of our facilitators (i.e. Jeff Anderson) decided to facilitate using a decentralized approach and handed out stickies to everyone and asked everyone to come to the wall and map out their specific processes in the value stream. This is what we ended up with:

Needless to say, I am having a "fun" time transcribing this into a visio diagram (we promised the client we would capture the value stream and give it back to them as a deliverable). Next time we have such a large group, I think I will use a different approach (lesson learned).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

How-to Conduct a Remote Agile Daily Stand-up

Physical objects tend to help teams perform, communicate and operate more effectively. We've seen this trend with iteration planning boards, kanbans, continuous integration orbs etc. So, we thought how we can make daily stand-ups with a distributed team more effective? Here's our answer.