Transformation to an Agile / DevOps model is not a simple as it might seem. While there are plenty of prescriptive agile methodologies and frameworks for implementing and scaling agile, 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 skill issues to be successful.
Coveros has helped organizations of all sizes transition to agile for more than a decade. Our certified agile 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:
- Assess your current agility by comparing your capabilities with others using a formalized model
- 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 re-assess your agility
Our Agile Transformation Model
In addition to guiding a comprehensive agile transformation, our model has been used to assess and improve aspects of agility that organizations often struggle with: Agile Testing & Testing Automation, DevOps Capabilities & Tooling, and Integrating Security into Agile & DevOps.
Key transformation services we provide include:
The Coveros Agility Assessment ModelTM is a rigorous, proven approach for assessing the agility of an organization. Unlike informal or self-assessments you may be considering, Coveros takes a ‘trust but verify’ approach to our assessments that makes them unique and more valuable. While we spend a significant time interviewing and understanding your existing processes, tooling, and staff capabilities, we also participate in existing team meetings and review artifacts produced by your teams. This added interaction results in understanding what process your teams actually follow instead of what management is told. In addition, by following a formal model, Coveros can benchmark you existing agility against others in your industry, providing you with an idea of where your gaps are against the competition.
The results of an agility assessment include:
- Gap analysis of your agility vs. industry best practices
- High level and detailed recommendations for incremental improvement
- Incremental transformation roadmap
- Backlog of transformation activities
- Suggestions for appropriate Pilot Projects
Build and Pilot Agile Capabilities
Based upon the recommendations, roadmap, and identified pilot projects developed during an Agility Assessment, the second step in our transformation process is the establishment of a transformation team (comprising of an organizational sponsor, other key stakeholders, and Coveros agile coaches) that will incrementally improve your people, process, tooling, and culture from top to bottom. Agile 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 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 as needed
- Enterprise workshops to align organization top to bottom
- Establishment of ‘paved paths’ for processes and tooling
- Pilot project(s)
- Role-based coaching and training of pilot teams
- Organizational wide Introduction to Agile
- Agile Executive Brief to introduce senior leadership to agile concepts
A Typical Transformation Team Structure
Coveros has significant expertise putting 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.
Rollout and Scale Agile
After successfully completing one or more agile 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 Agility 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 models 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.
While coaching is part of every agile transformation we perform, some organizations choose to focus their improvement efforts on bringing on board coaches in lieu of a more formal assessment, 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 agile process irrespective of whether you are using Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean, or any other agile process
- Technical coaches – coaches focused on agile engineering techniques such as test-driven development, team-based design, test automation, continuous integration, continuous delivery, and integrating security into DevOps
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.