Aligning Methods to Accelerate Delivery
12 May 2009
I'm often asked to intervene in large programmes within corporate governance environments. Typically, these often run for years, are documentation-heavy and find it difficult to deliver on time, or indeed, at all. The idea in these cases is to start delivering business value regularly and while reducing the quantity of non-value-added activities. The key points of intervention are:
- institute a method (or combination thereof) of agile delivery, with the input and agreement of the delivery teams, the senior management and the programme stakeholders;
- align agile delivery points with existing governance milestones;
- obtain agreement with senior management that the low-fidelity documentation produced by the agile process is suitable for governance milestone reporting. (This may be an opportunity to help conduct a review all documentation generated by the programme and challenge all that is not essential);
- map high-level requirements features onto planning elements of the governance framework.
To use a specific example, in most large UK Government projects for example, the project management governance method is usually PRINCE2. So, in the example above, the aim is to:
- align agile delivery points with PRINCE2 stage ends; and
- map the requirements features onto PRINCE2 work packages.
Usually, I find that the PRINCE2 stage ends are already aligned with higher-level corporate governance process, such as MSP. This is an opportunity to make life easier for your PM by asking what sort of information on which he/she has to report. For example, if the organisation uses EVA, you may be able capture the basic elements in your agile method with at without any extra work to you or the team. This could earn you kudos!
The low-level tracking from the agile method is rolled-up to work package level where the Project Manager's formal tracking and reporting upwards occurs. If aligned correctly, this allows the team to focus on delivery while giving the PM the required governance information.
So, by working with existing practises, rather than against them, you are able to:
- obtain buy-in more quickly;
- start regular delivery of business value; and
- re-motivate the delivery team.
In the diagram, the black bars at the top represent PRINCE2 stages. The orange bars underneath represent delivery iterations. Next, the blue bars represent PRINCE2 work package mapping onto system features. The smaller, green bars at the bottom show the system features decomposed into smaller tasks.