Remember healthcare.gov? The Boeing 737Max anti-stall system? Traditional governance methods focusing on heavyweight documentation deliverables and earned value metrics are obviously not working. In this session we will summarize a governance and oversight framework we put together for large-scale agile software development for the US government. The framework is designed to be agnostic as to the choice of Agile scaling framework, and to apply to efforts in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. Oversight groups often do not have the technical skills nor the bandwidth to take a deep dive and truly understand the risks associated with large scale efforts. And all too often the status is consistently reported as green—until it is suddenly revealed that the project is 6 months late. How can we fight our implacable enemies: complexity and entropy? Fortunately, there are some relatively simple principles and techniques we can use to proactively detect the danger signs—before it is too late. We will review key aspects including measuring the right things, avoiding common failure modes, adopting better practices, and keeping track. We will see how DevSecOps enables us to enforce a “broken windows” strategy. We will explore how to use counterbalancing metrics to encourage good technical practices and prevent gaming the system. If you are working at scale, this session is for you.
- Understand qualitative differences between small-team agile and agile at scale: how not just more but different practices are required
- Know how to see warning signs via leading indicators to know when a large effort is getting into trouble, so we don’t wait until it is too late
- Understand which basic metrics, KPIs, and health indicators should be monitored for large-scale agile
- Explore the differences between legacy-heavy and “cold-start” environments such as the federal government and how they require different techniques for forecasting and estimation
- Review the NoEstimates approach, Kanban metrics, and how they can help for large-scale teams—especially scrum teams
Agile Governance at Scale