Agile Scalability for Enterprise

Challenges and Solutions for LsSS

Agile process model can be scaled across multiple offshore teams with more than 500 peoples working together on enterprise level project. This brings the challenges because Scrum works well when teams are small and located in one geographic area. In this article these challenges are discussed and their solutions are proposed.

Introduction

Agile Approach is different from waterfall, in waterfall we have fixed scope/requirement and do not compromise on quality then requirements and time become variable. Waterfall approach is used currently in large projects which are based on decade of R&D. These R&D projects documentation and backlog gradually developed.

Original waterfall model is modified for backward feedback but as we are aware that if we fixed scope time and cost estimation cannot be done accurately. To cope with this problem a paradigm shift was done and a process model was developed called agile, which says if we fixed time and cost then the requirement becomes variable and these variable requirements can be negotiated with clients and product may be given to client with fewer functionality and with high quality.

This approach has shown great success in software industry and now hardware industry is also adopting this approach. The companies which has implemented scrum or XP has gain double production because of self-organized teams. Scrum is successfully scaled across multiple teams for more than 500 people.

Challenges in Scaling

1.      Contract Negotiation:

Let’s take an example of an organization whose software development department is following Scrum principles but other teams are not aware about the scrum principles, HR, Marketing and Operations etc teams are working with their old style.

Now marketing team sign the contract with client after the development team approval. After starting the project development team realized that some requirement implementations are taking time and project is going late but fixed dead line was given to client earlier, now marketing team is putting pressure to development team to developer it within time and budget. But in reality it is not possible. Contract cannot be negotiated because requirements were frizzed by marketing team.

2.      Configuration Management:            

When teams are large changes are overwritten or someone else changes are taking effect happens. As teams have active development and need to keep the record of old changes also.

3.      Personal Software Process(PSP):

Companies achieve the quality through quality gates and inspection, Software companies focus on achieving the CMMI levels. Often companies do documentation only for certification or audit purposes. Documentation only for certification is useless, it is waste.

4.      Offshoure Teams Collaboration:

Software companies do offshore project for cost saving and often face with communication gap, time zone difference, when in US it is day time in Pakistan it night time. So client’s calls should be attend by offshore teams.

Solutions to Scalibilty problems

A: Scalability Across Multiple Teams:

Agile should be scaled out across multiple teams and contract should be negotiated. Requirements should not be frizzed by

marketing team. There should be a System Analyst who do requirement analysis and do requirement prioritization and development team should only focus on development activities.

B: Configuration Management Tools:

For large teams configuration management tool should be installed and change control board (CCB) should properly approve the changes and keep the record of old and active development changes.

Branching in code should be done in development environment and branching code should be given to QA team for testing and developer should do proper ChecIn and Checkout in TFS server. Branching code should be merged to Staging and production environment after the QA team approval.

C: Personal Software Process(PSP) Focus:

Quality should be built in, Requirement document, design and code should be high quality, we should have built in quality for this purpose an individual software should be trained through PSP process moving toward the TSP and then CMMI.

D: Offshore Teams Collaboration:

Offshore team can do live chat, webinar, Skype calls, offshore team can do daily scrum meeting through Skype.

To Answer the client queries or attend the calls, offshore teams should come online, some teams will be doing night jobs and some will be doing day job for better commination and answer the client’s queries in real time and fix their issues promptly.

Analysis and Conclusion

Agile can be scaled but it is not free, it requires management commit, reducing the politics of middle management, self-organized team can give more productivity. Traditional organization structure and thinking patterns should change as world is moving with the speed which was not anticipated before.

Scrum is successfully scaled which is called (LsSS) in many organizations and faced challenges, these challenges and their solutions are discussed. LsSS organizations are better but not perfect, more investigation and analysis is required regarding their process in place.

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