Traditional duties of IT governance and oversight include auditing timely completion of milestones and phase gates and tracking progress versus spend. They place heavy emphasis on correctness and completeness of documentation, managing risks and tracking metrics such as earned value and escaped defect counts. With the adoption of agile methods comes the need to adjust governance and oversight accordingly. But what does agile governance look like? How does it differ from traditional governance? We will show that, in fact, agile methods offer governance and oversight a wealth of new tools and capabilities, enabling a more proactive and collaborative approach—which could ultimately lead to improved outcomes.
We will briefly cover some recommendations for governance and oversight in each of the following key areas: scoping and planning, risk and stakeholder management, staffing, progress tracking, product design and build quality. Agile projects perform “rolling wave” planning, where business needs are fully elaborated just in time before they are implemented to minimize waste. On the other hand, agile projects must provide roadmaps and forecasts that enable their organizations to schedule and budget efforts, sometimes years in advance. Oversight bodies should ensure that such forecasts are based on sound statistical techniques (i.e. Monte Carlo simulations) and are updated regularly with the arrival of new data. Instead of synthetic quantities like story points, oversight groups should focus on real-world metrics like throughput, cycle time, and work in progress across the entire project, as well as on a per-team level. Oversight should look for early warning signs like working on too many items in parallel, assigning “stretch goals” for product releases, or lack of any formal mechanism to manage cross-team dependencies. We will cover examples that illustrate how agile methods enable a more proactive, collaborative, and ultimately more effective approach to governance and oversight.
Location: 650 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC, Conference Room 3212.