Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Enterprise Agile

Applying agile methodology in your software project? Good!

Working for an organization large enough to be called an 'enterprise'? Probably that's good too.
Why so?
Access to resources is the main reason.
  • You may have heard that agile is all about small self-directing teams -- yes, that's part of the doctrine. But how many small teams are needed for your project? Dozens? Hundreds even?

  • Where do those people, tools, training, facilities, communications, etc come from? And who pays for all that?

  • Answer: the Enterprise.
Ah, yes, the Enterprise!
And where does that money come from? It comes from customers (profit), or taxpayers (if you're a government enterprise), or donors (if you're a charity, church, etc), or owners and/or private investors (if privately held), or owners and public investors (if you're a publicly traded company)

Enterprise expectations
So, here's the thing: if you're doing Agile methods in an enterprise setting, the enterprise will impose expectations .... starting with: value return on resources invested.

It's the ageless problem: Other people's money! OPM comes with strings, to wit: a value return is required.

And here's another thing: the enterprise expects that you can estimate/forecast/predict what the resource requirements are that will get to something valuable (to the enterprise). In other words, it's rare indeed that there's a pot of funds you can dip into at your leisure and convenience. Enterprises don't work that way.

With enterprises comes rules and accountability
What makes an enterprise an enterprise is size and scale. And there is the rub: Sad to say, but size and scale is always more than a handful that a few people can carry around in their head. So, many others have to lend a hand and participate in making and supporting both size and scale. Such then brings rules, procedures, accountability, etc. into the frame.

Invariably, one of the rules is going to be you have to have a viable narrative to get resources committed to your project. The standard three elements of the narrative you've heard before:
  1. Scope: what is it you are going to do, and how does that "doing" add value to the enterprise?
  2. Schedule: when can you likely produce results? (No single point estimates, of course. It takes a range!)urc
  3. Resources: how much do you need, and when do you need it? In other words, the resource ramp (up, but then inevitably down) We're speaking about cash flow, and resource allocations.
I can't do this!
You can't handle the narrative?
You can't describe what you need? (Or you stubbornly cling to the No Estimates paradigm?)
You can't connect the dots: value, resources, scope? 
You're not enterprise-ready!

I almost forgot:
I wrote the book: "Project Management the Agile Way: Making it work in the Enterprise" 2nd Edition. The cover photo is below

Like this blog? You'll like my books also! Buy them at any online book retailer!