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PMO Conference 2022 \\ Teams, Trains, and Traffic-Scaled Resource Planning Fuels Scaled Agile Delivery – Lloyd Norman
In this session Lloyd set an interesting question. “Are you trying to BE agile – or DO agile?” It’s clear that to date, no organisation is pure agile and 56% of projects continue to fail against stated objects, and that tat has not changed in decades!
Lloyd is a SAFe proponent and big fan of agile, with over 2000 now using the scaled agile framework, and this is a great place to read about it. Did you know that Utah is the birthplace of Agile? Some talented programmers got together and came up with manifesto, amazingly the 20 years anniversary took place during covid and conversation evolved into scaled agile, and challenges in taking these notions at team level and pushing up to the c-suite.
For our topic today, let me clarify:
- Teams are groups with common goal and 2 week sprints
- The sprints are rolled up into release trains
- Lean portfolio management (LPM) ties this all together
LPM brings work to people versus people to work, the teams are associated to workstreams, but how does that work in hybrid working? All value streams are unique to a business, but the challenges are about not putting enough time upstream to understand the work flow and resource requirements in the upcoming period of forecasting.
In an article by Harvard Business Review: Beyond Burned Out, there are 6 factors that drove people to leave and all are resource related. This is an organisational problem with staff overworked and feeling overworked with too many concurrent tasks, which leads to lost productivity. Being assigned to 8 simultaneous projects is not good business, we need to build retention guardrails into program guardrails.
With adaptive portfolio management, a pipeline flow can be modelled / simulated so that you can see effectively 6-9 months in advance across all work, which is key to finding skills gaps, help to build talent pipeline as part of your internal supply chain.
You can now consolidate your roadmap and baseline planning, tied to resources across multiple workstreams and consolidate where you do your work, all together in one place, consistent from scaled agile framework and planning horizons. You can share the “Fixed Forecast” for 90 days, a more “Flexible forecast” looking out 3-6 months, or a fluid forecast from 9-12 months
A 90 day discussion doesn’t go down well with the CFO, who needs a full year forecast, but you can put automation on common timeline with teams with unique velocities from different ARTS. Understanding who is available during the timeframe, bringing in the roadmaps with external dependencies (compliance, audit, regulatory), ensuring that you don’t ignore the interdependencies to change digital priorities.
Any product manager or project manager can model the work and size it, to understand resources and see the future. Because this is sized in common tool with a common timeline, you can move around and filter out non-discretionary work, while tracking by cost of delay, you can create data delivered recommendations and options.
Portfolio modelling allows better approval feedback loops, it can reserve capacity and align to PI boundary ready to remove impediments way in advance, enabling 80% accurate on 6-12 months plans. This type for foresight can be valuable to having discussions with c-suite, providing automation to support both scaled agile and waterfall projects.
You can pull a snapshot and model / roadmap while retaining only one version of the truth, mitigate risk far enough up stream to matter, without letting demand override skillset work. Like the quote from Edward Deming “you can’t inspect quality into a process, you have to design it in”. Lloyd shared an example when a regulatory project hit the table and QA pulled 5 resources arbitrarily, this stopped 5 other projects and could have been avoided by utilising the planning events. You can have a true roadmap to resources, using a simple plan and forecasting 9-12 months out: These resources are not committed, but used to feed and inform the process and work on tactical issues. When you implement, look for the quick wins and start with most utilised team.
Don’t lose sight, if you can do this well and create work life balance for your employees, it not only helps the business, it helps the people, and if you are helping families then you are helping communities!