agile best practices and what is scrum - from a certified scrum master and pmp professional

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Agile Best PracticesAkhil Munjal


The Concept of AgileDefinition & Sample SprintAgile helps teams respond to the unpredictability of building software by using iterative and incremental development. Typically, requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between cross functional teams and clients

Agile promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development and delivery, a time-boxed iterative approach, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.2Project InitiationSprint 0Sprint 1Sprint 2ReleaseSprint 1Integration TestSprint 0

High-level project planning

Initial Stakeholder engagement

Define ways of workingProject Initiation

High level requirement gathering

Commit to sprint lengths, team capacity

Delivery team roll-on

Sprint 0

Reprioritise backlog with client

Commit to and deliver stories

Shippable product at the end of each sprint

Sprints 1+

Product BacklogSprint BacklogSprint BacklogProductFig: Sample Sprint Cycle

Agile TerminologyOverview of Agile ApproachProduct Owner Voice of the CustomerEnsures end product delivers value to the business or customerSets and adjusts priorities and product backlogAccepts or rejects work via showcases and pilots (review)

Scrum MasterAccountable for delivering Sprint goalsRemoves obstacles for team and keeps momentumCoaches and provides motivation

Team MembersDevelop and deliver product on a daily basisSelf directed and self organizingCross functional (change, process, design, test)

Design, Build TestInceptionPrioritiseRetrospectivePlanShowcase & Deploy

Iterative deploymentUser StoriesProduct BacklogSprint BacklogBurndown ChartPotentially shippable Product increments

RolesProductsEventsProduct OwnerScrum MasterTeamSprint Planning Daily Scrum (Daily Standup Meeting)Sprint ReviewSprint RetrospectiveBacklog Refinement

Agile ImplementationKey Activities

Advisory and Strategy TeamUnderstand the client drivers and motivation for AgileHelp the leadership and C-suite understand Agile ImpactWork along business divisional leads in rolling out AgileProgram ManagerEstablish and launch Governance Structure & ProcessesIntegrate project work plans and clearly capture milestones and dependenciesConfirm delivery processes each project should useAgile CoachCo-ordinates with Agile Strategy Team to understand vision & roadmapWork with Project Team to define Agile Delivery Model and Setup Agile PracticesParticipates in all Key initiatives and fine tuning it

Agile Best PracticesWhat works wellConduct early and regular ShowcasesProvide early mock ups of the product / change deliverables to put theory into immediate practicePilot the product (including surveys, training or communications) prior to full deploymentInvolve the client/customer and stakeholders in continuous dialogueRun Agile basics and refreshers at the commencement of the projectThe review process should be streamlined: present only the executive summaryBe flexible with hybrid Waterfall/Agile approachesAgree in sprint 0 the Agile methods and ways of working with the client/customerAgile projects commonly incorporate waterfall practices (such as code freezes and CRP), and change must adapt their models accordinglyPlan differentlyChange planning should feature only critical path change activitiesChange planning should be flexible and adaptive to changes, while keeping aligned to the overall journeyChange team in a silo and not immersed in scrum activityChange team members must attend daily scrums and showcasesChange team members should adopt a major and minor role in the teamChange team not focused on critical path activitiesChange activities must always focus on business value and not become top heavyChange activities must be targeted on each sprint release dateChange team not adapting rapidly to changes in product developmentChange team should respond to changes in priorities with flexible planningChange team should maintain and communicate a clear view of the impact of ongoing changesChange team too focused on delivery and not fostering engagementChange team have a vital role to play in team well-being and recognitionChange team should step back each sprint to take an active and driving role in retrospectivesChange team not aligning sprints to the overall journeyEach sprint should align with the journey and business case as expressed in epic user storiesAgile is not an excuse for poor planning a change plan is required to set expectations

What Can go Wrong in Agile

What Works Well

Agile Best PracticesSuccess Factors & MetricsSponsorshipActively engaged senior management sponsors to communication change, strategy and directionA sponsorship strategy that builds and sustains support throughout phasesSponsorshipMeasurable linkage to business objectives with cross-organizational focusAccelerated implementation approach to quickly address known challengesBalanceLeverage of leading practices from the industry and our expertiseFocus on adopting leading practices while keeping in mind our clients realities, priorities, and constraintsTeam CompensationThe right resources at the right time, with pilot projects to insert player-coaches on the groundEffective knowledge transfer throughout the projectMetrics and MeasurementBurndown Chart for tracking Sprint progressAutomatically generated visual chart when electronic tooling is usedRepresents development complete by stage or completed user storiesIncludes Work in ProgressVelocityEstimate of rate at which team can do work (no. of points needed for each story x no. of stories estmated per sprint)