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  • Tim Burns

Keep Initiatives in Mind when Practicing Agile

Building Solutions with Agile

I practice Scrum in my current role, every day. It is a very good Scrum/Agile team structure and we release a lot of code.


When I allocate work in an agile way, here is the breakdown:


Epics

* X-Large - 100 Story Points

* Large - 40 Story Points

* Medium - 20 Story Points

* Small - 10 Story Points


Stories

* 8 Story Points - A stretch story to complete in a sprint

* 5 Story Points - A story to complete in the sprint with high confidence

* 3 Story Points - Can complete two of these in a sprint with high confidence

* 2 Story Points - Can complete three of these in a sprint with high confidence

* 1 Story point - Can complete 5 of these in a sprint


I work on a team of product owners and software engineers that has a very high level of skill and they and they perform the work in this method. We freeze the code monthly and release the code monthly. We use automated linting, testing, continuous integration, and continuous delivery pipelines. It is all very organized.


Where Does Agile Fall Short

When we need a Waterfall Process

Agile falls short when we need a waterfall process. Nobody argues this in a functioning team, we simply rely on the project managers to create SmartSheets with Gant charts and we map our Agile Scrum process to the Milestones of the Gant Chart. A high-functioning Agile team will run their Scrum to fit into the milestones. That way they can satisfy both the waterfall needs of a project plan and the daily development needs of a Scrum team.


I would say that Agile does not fall short when we need a waterfall process. If it does, your Scrum team is probably not functioning well, and you should look at how you are working.


Initiatives and Seeing the Big Picture

Where Agile falls short is in seeing the big picture and comprehending the overall business value of an initiative. Because customer stories are written at the lowest level 1-8 story points, they don't take into account the overall need of the customer. Which often can be summarized for an entire company's product in five overall bullet points.


* Deliver High Quality Data to our Customes to make them more Profitable

* Visualize and Report on Compute and Storage Cost for Each Project

* Streamline Operational Efficiency to Maintain Data Pipelines in a Sustainable Process


I only have three here, and these are great initiatives. Are they ever done? I would day no. Every time you release something, change something, they need to be addressed. Agile won't cover this, and if you are doing agile, you need to be aware that it won't.


So what happens if I'm not aware. Because Agile can let you live in a bubble, your teams can be deliverying Epics and Stories and lose sight of the Initiatives. As a great product owner, you can guide the process by knowing both.

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