Scrum

agile, Investment Management, Leadership, Lean PMO, Product Management, Project Management, Project Office, Scrum, Stakeholder Management, Teams

SAFE: The good, the bad and the ugly


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Why Scaled Agile Framework? SAFe® 4.5*

There are lots of things that recommend SAFe to any organisation looking to Scale agile.

  1. It has some pretty comprehensive open source documentation that helps you work out how to implement it https://www.theknowledgeacademy.com/courses/agile-training/certified-scaled-agile-framework-leading-safe-4-5-training-and-exam/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzvSO_47n2QIV5r3tCh0dGQLLEAAYASAAEgLHo_D_BwE
  2. For organisations where a framework needs to look ‘meaty’ in order to have any weight.  SAFe sure has the look of a meaty method.  There are lots of new words to learn, lots of additional organisational structural changes to be made and it looks and smells like a worthwhile endeavour just because of the sheer time investment needed to understand it.
  3. The Program Increment Planning session is a pretty good tool for any scaled agile team.  It takes a lot of people and it aligns them behind one plan.
  4. When an organisation is used to governance, and quite heavy governance at that, there are items such as the Portfolio layer of SAFe 4.5 that give these organisations some comfort in how to mesh the agile ways of working with the current governance of the organisation.  It doesn’t look too big a jump.  As such, it isn’t a bad middle ground if something like LeSS seems too big a jump.
  5. In terms of the layers needed to scale up SCRUM https://www.scrumalliance.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhoKYs5Dn2QIVTb7tCh3zkQU2EAAYASAAEgIIrPD_BwE  SAFe does truly look at each layer according to the usual project management requirements.  You have the team, project, programme and portfolio layer easily mappable (especially in SAFe 4.5).

So what’s NOT to like…

  1. The documentation while extensive is cleverly written so that only people who can really decipher it are those that have attended the course or who have direct experience of it.  If you are looking to implement SAFe with just this information at your fingertip, beware!  It won’t get you there like the Scrum Guide will.
  2. Just because a method looks meaty doesn’t mean it’s going to work.  Given how hard straight SCRUM is to get people to get behind, a whole new framework is even harder.  It is made harder by the SAFe folk insisting on using Scrum terms such as “Epic” in entirely new ways.
  3. Although the Program Increment Planning session is good.  It isn’t just one ceremony.  Early PIPs need preparation and the guides don’t tell you this.  The first PIP isn’t as easy as the PIP agenda suggests it might be.  As such a few ‘dry runs’ might be required before you attempt the big one!
  4. Although SAFe is fairly comprehensive, the biggest area in which it lets the practitioner down is in the proposed structure of the team.  The roles in SAFe just don’t make a lot of sense.  They are a mesh of an old world meeting a new and the beauty and simplicity of Scrum is lost in the new jargon.  This is further confounded by the assertion that roles such as the Solution Architect can be enacted by more than one individual.  The benefit of Scrum is the clarity of roles and this is lost in the SAFe framework IMHO.
  5. Governance in SAFe is probably the best part area.  It gives the best account of Portfolio level than any other scaled agile method in my opinion.  However, there are still some significant gaps in the ‘how’ of all this.  No doubt these will be ironed out in SAFe version 5.  At Magic Milestones we already have a Lean PMO method that fits nicely into this space and could support SAFe if required but could also support many of the other frameworks too.

Ultimately, organisations should be shuffling off the mortal coil of projects in favour of product structures and processes.  So as an interim between two states SAFe can be a good middle ground.  However, ultimately if you want to get to the punch-line quicker you will choose another method to get there.

*When referring to “SAFe” in this article it is always the trademarked version available to read about here.  https://www.theknowledgeacademy.com/courses/agile-training/certified-scaled-agile-framework-leading-safe-4-5-training-and-exam/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIzvSO_47n2QIV5r3tCh0dGQLLEAAYASAAEgLHo_D_BwE

Magic Milestones is an independent advisor on Scaled Agile methods and is not allied to one method over any another.  We train in all methods in order to choose the best options for our clients.

agile, Consultancy & Training, Lean PMO, Product Management, Scrum, Strategy

Wow! A PMO that are exactly what the world needs right now..


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So we can’t call them out because we are under NDA but wow.

I am currently working with the best PMO I have ever come across.

Forget Magic Milestones.  They don’t need us.  Why?  Because the people that are in the PMO aren’t even “can do” people.  They are “done before you even thought it” people.  So they can learn a little from Lean techniques and methods, yes sure.  But they have something that makes our job way easier and something which catapults a team to huge success.

Enthusiasm

Commitment

Delivery mentality.

I can honestly say that in 10 years I have not found a PMO more awesome than this one.  I guess it helps when the partners we are working with are also pretty awesome too but it is the PMO in particular that has made me wowed out this week.

Here’s to a wild time guys.  It’s going to be a challenge but a blast!

 

agile, Failure, Investment Management, Lean, Project Management, Project Office, Scrum, Strategy, Uncategorized

Why do only 2.5% of companies successfully deliver 100% of their projects?


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PricewaterhouseCoopers reviewed 10,640 projects worldwide and found that only 2.5% of the companies successfully completed 100% of their projects.

Is this because people are incompetent?   It’s a sad look out for man kind if so.  However, the reality is likely more complicated..

  1.  People can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time http://bit.ly/1etgh4B so as organisations are made up of people, that applies collectively to organisations as well.
  2. The more time we have to do something the less we achieve.  Take Kickstarter projects as just one example http://kck.st/1VjLaSi  Kickstarter changed the maximum length of a campaign from 90 days to 60 days in 2011 after realising that campaigns that ran for the full 90 days were successful only 24% of the time much less successful than shorter campaigns (over 44%).
  3. As humans we naturally radically under or over estimate what we can achieve.  Unlike pigeons(!) we use contextual information which can lead to biased judgments of interval duration, thereby reducing the precision of these estimates.  http://bit.ly/1XDbbKU

This is why at Magic Milestones we work on 3 themes:

  1. Creating a stable focused team Agile Experts
  2. Focusing on ‘the next right thing’ Lean PMO
  3. Creating a delivery culture using Lean Start-Up and Agile techniques.  Using hard data as a basis for predictions and planning we baseline performance then improve an organisation through  Consultancy & Training

Read more about why we do what we do via Our Story