Recognized as benchmark for Agile in a giant corporate

Giant corporates, due to its size, have reservations to changes especially when it comes to transformation from waterfall to Agile. Adapting such a big change at company level is almost considered as impossible. Due to this constraint, we had to do a lot of convincing with management, but X-factor was executing proof of concept. Let me list down some of the key challenges we had:

  • Fixed price: Purchasing take place on yearly basis.
  • Fixed scope: All stories are listed in the order and verified after delivery.
  • Current accepted model was waterfall.
  • Language limitation due to local language preference like in European countries.
  • Huge management hierarchy to convince in limited time.
  • Multiple department’s involvement for each order like Purchasing, IT, Maintenance, Multiple departments with private requirements and agenda, etc.
  • Failure was success for some departments due to internal corporate politics.
  • Changing requirements on very frequent basis.
  • Tools to support the agile process was missing.
  • 3rd party involvement for security, performance and functionality verification.
  • Constraint toward latest technologies due to company process delays.
  • Student’s involvement for development support from corporate side.
  • Limitations towards listing a startup in vendor list.
  • High demanding PROD gateway to pass.
  • And many more…

With the above set of challenges it is quite clear that it was not an easy job to even execute a project successfully following the agile model. We stressed on following team rule:

  • Business Success Criteria (Acceptance Criteria) should be defied to address the constraints.
  • Estimate with a clear “Definition of Done”.
  • Estimate with Actual Project Team.
  • Re-Baseline immediately after the planning phase. It will help to keep both client and team on same page.

Visual reporting like the one above may help in better visibility and transparency. With such agreements, the clearance of the project become simpler.

  • Matrix which is fixed towards constraints and flexible towards quality.

The matrix above depicts the connection of flexibility with criteria like scope and quality. It is important to keep the team flexible for better quality but at the same time scope, schedule, etc. should be prepared with precision.

  • Offer the “Dynamic Scope Option” using story size as baseline of order rather than story content. Story content are expected to change but effort can remain fixed.
  • Intelligent use of contract to enforce key risk areas. The contract is important in such scenarios where you can set the expectation at the initial stages and also safeguard your team in future even if the management side from client get changed.
  • Hybrid team to keep the cost factor in control. Main development was addressed offshore while keeping real-time communication with the help of local team members.
  • Fast and innovative support on both functional and technical side. Client team was most of the time astonished with the speed of the deliveries and support.
  • Real-time communication with multiple meetings on daily, weekly, sprint, phase and year basis like standup and retro.
  • Brilliant team: Difficult scenario becomes easy if you have a highly capable and motivated team behind, which makes sure to deliver and deliver sprint goals on time with high quality.
  • Process automation is very important in agile and DevOps was followed to address it.

Sticking to above best practices, the projects managed to pass all the process gateways respecting all the constraints. Phase after phase, the successful deliveries was quite evident that such model can be taken up and has lot of inherent advantages. Once the management understood the true and actual event benefits of using Agile in a project, they demanded more details. After successful clarifications, and executions the majority started supporting agile and since this was the 1st success in all those years so management declared the project as template for agile which was to be followed by all other projects running in the organization to implement Agile.

It was also quite motivating and satisfying for us to become torch bearer on how to run a project using Agile in the organization which other running projects should follow.