Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Release sign-off in Agile?

Should there be a release sign-off when applying agile methods? Sure, perhaps even: of course!
But.. doesn't this taint agile with bit of bureaucracy (gasp!)

Actually, yes. But here's how it happens as lean as possible.

First, of course, we've got the backlog which has emerged in some ways... partly planned (see agile business case), partly consequential (as in technical debt) and partly by epiphany (OMG! that's it; I see it now)

Second, we've assembled the team which includes a product manager or customer/user surrogate to parse the backlog into some number of chunks, commonly called iterations, and we've planned to assemble all the deliverables pertaining thereto into a common release. Note at this point we got ourselves a release plan: Scope, schedule, and resource needs

Now the tricky part: who needs to approve this (aka, sign off)?
It depends...
And, here's where the (value added) bureaucracy comes in:
  • Is it just going into the code base, or going into business production
  • If going into business production, it is just a bug fix or new functionality?
  • If new functionality, is it user facing?
  • And, if user facing, is it intuitive or is training and formal rollout needed?
Now, you might guess that I'm leading you to the sign-off manager.
  • For the first bullet: perhaps only a team leader or section leader or CM person who coordinates all the supporting scripts.
  • For the second, perhaps an IT manager
  • For the third: perhaps a business manager and an IT manager
  • For the fourth: now we get a bigger dose of sign-off: HR for training, business managers for processes and rollout, and IT for code base.
  • And, their might be regulators! -- medical systems come to mind, but so also banking, safety systems, etc.
You ask: is this agile; is this lean? Yes, actually it is. It's the way agile marries up the real organization

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