Transformation to an Agile or DevOps model is not a simple as it might seem. While there are plenty of prescriptive methodologies and frameworks for implementing and scaling software agility, what works best is only discovered through an iterative improvement process. Besides instilling agile process discipline and tooling, transformations must tackle cultural, organizational, and people skills issues to be successful.
Coveros has helped organizations of all sizes transition to agile or DevOps for more than a decade. Our certified agile and DevOps consultants have experience with a wide range of methodologies and frameworks including Scrum, Kanban, eXtreme Programming (XP), Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Scrum of Scrums, and many others. Our transformation approach follows an iterative, three-step process:
- Plan the process based upon an assessment of your current agility and delivery capability via benchmarking
- Build and pilot needed process, tooling, and staff capabilities to demonstrate their benefits
- Deploy incremental improvements enterprise-wide, measure progress, and return to step one to continuously improve
Our Transformation Model
Our transformation model is unique in that it can be applied to particular aspects of agile or DevOps too. If you are looking to improve your agile testing, test automation, security assurance, or DevSecOps aspects of an agile or DevOps process, we can focus our model specifically in any of these areas as well.
Key transformation services we provide include:
The Coveros Transformation Planning Process is a rigorous, proven approach to understanding the current state of an organization’s processes and developing a unique, transformation plan that incrementally drives the organization to its goals. Unlike other formal assessment models, we favor a collaborative, ‘trust but verify’ approach that results in a plan tailored specifically to the ways in which the organization actually works, as opposed to what processes may be formally documented or what management might have been told. In order to do this, not only do we spend significant time getting to know your people and understanding your existing processes, tooling, and staff capabilities, we also participate in existing team meetings and review artifacts produced by your teams. By following this process, Coveros can also benchmark your existing agility or DevOps maturity against others in your industry, providing you with an idea of where your gaps are against the competition.
The results of an assessment include:
- Gap analysis of your agility or DevOps maturity vs. industry best practices
- High level and detailed recommendations for incremental improvement
- Incremental transformation roadmap
- Backlog of transformation activities
- Suggestions for appropriate Pilot Projects
As discussed above, our assessments can apply to team agility, enterprise agility, DevOps delivery, test automation, or DevSecOps capability as desired.
Build and Pilot Capabilities
Based upon the recommendations, roadmap, and identified pilot projects developed during an assessment, the second step in our transformation process is the establishment of a transformation team (comprised of an organizational sponsor, other key stakeholders, and Coveros coaches) that will incrementally improve your people, process, tooling, and culture from top to bottom. Coaches will work in sync at the enterprise, program, and project/team levels to put in place our recommendations and measure their effectiveness on pilot projects. Technical, process, and enterprise agile and DevOps leadership training will be provided to staff as necessary to transfer knowledge to the organization. Key activities in this stage include:
- Establishment of an enterprise transformation team
- Incrementally define an approach for scaling agile/DevOps capability as needed
- Enterprise workshops to align organization top to bottom
- Establishment of ‘paved paths’ for processes and tooling
- Pilot or MVP project(s)
- Role-based coaching and training of pilot teams
- Leadership workshops and briefs to understand agile and DevOps from a business perspective
Rollout and Scale Agile and DevOps
Coveros has significant expertise implementing scaled agile frameworks such as SAFe, Scrum of Scrums, etc. in an incremental manner. Part of the initial build and pilot phase will be to begin integrating teams into teams of teams that coordinate to release components, products, and product lines while synchronizing with enterprise level product visions and roadmaps. Our experience scaling agile has shown that agile frameworks work best when incrementally applied as the organization’s agility matures and more and more products/teams are added to the transformation. A common mistake when attempting to scale agile is to get too prescriptive too fast and burden the organization with heavyweight process before even a lightweight process has been successfully applied.
Where necessary, our coaches have appropriate certifications, such as Scaled Agile’s SAFe Program Consultant (SPC), allowing them to leverage resources, training materials, and online communities not available to the general public. These certifications give our coaches the tools they need to provide world-class enterprise transformation services using the approach and/or framework appropriate for your organization.
After successfully completing one or more pilot projects based upon incremental improvement of people, process, tooling, and culture, agility enhancements are rolled out to the entire organization for use. Key deployment and rollout activities include:
- Train the trainer activities to provide internal staff with the capability to provide agile training to its own teams
- Transition of coaching roles to internal personnel
- Codification of ‘paved paths’ for technology & tooling to provide an organizational standard for tools that also gives individual teams the ability to pick and choose their own solutions as needed
- Delivery of all process descriptions and templates
- Coaching on release trains, program management, and executive agile
- Update Assessment results based upon successes / challenges and iterate
Based upon the needs of the enterprise, these activities may be implemented following an existing agile scaling model such as:
- Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
- Scrum of Scrums (SoS)
- Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)
- Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)
Coveros works with you to determine which model (if any) makes the most sense for your organization.
Agile and DevOps Coaching
While coaching is part of every transformation we perform, some organizations choose to focus their improvement efforts on bringing on board coaches in lieu of a more formal plan, build, deploy process. At Coveros, we provide a variety of coaching capabilities to help your organization improve:
- Enterprise coaches – coaches focused on helping your executives and program staff improve their overall agility while incorporating lean/systems thinking within your value streams to maximize your delivery throughput
- Program coaches – coaches who provide large-scale programs with approaches to scaling agile across teams and manage sets of teams to release software effectively
- Team process coaches – coaches who work with business and technical teams to improve their agility irrespective of whether you are using Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean, or any other agile process
- Technical coaches – coaches focused on agile engineering and CI/CD techniques such as test-driven development, team-based design, test automation, continuous integration, continuous delivery, and DevSecOps
Coveros coaches do more than facilitate. We are believers that your staff learns best by doing alongside others who have done it before and can model proper behavior. Our coaches pair and mentor your staff to accelerate their improvement. Our coaches and trainers can also work with you to bring some of the most widely recognized industry agile and DevOps certifications to your entire team if deemed appropriate.