Agile Delivery Principles

4 delivery principles

VALUE - Are we building the right thing?

  • we test ideas cheaply, early and frequently with users
  • we design solutions collaboratively with stakeholders
  • we engage all users i.e. customers, staff, back office, finance, tech architecture
  • we relatively size work and split large work items down, with the ultimate aim of making all work items a similar size
  • demand always outstrips supply so we use value/size matrix or wsjf to support selection policies
  • we ensure costs and time constraints are understood and in place
  • we identify the correct stakeholders to work with and engage them regularly
  • we ensure a clear vision is understood by the team and stakeholders
  • we ensure robust and transparent selection policies are in place to simplify prioritisation
  • we ensure the business case is clear and the Why? of the work is understood
  • we showcase our work frequently to stakeholders to seek feedback
  • we roadmap our delivery plan to understand, dependencies, past deliverables, in progress work items, planning horizon and future

QUALITY - Are we building it right?

  • we seek feedback from multiple stakeholders frequently to ensure it is built right
  • we capture requirements at the appropriate level of detail in order to not commit too early
  • we automate deployment and deploy frequently
  • we defer decisions to the last responsible moment
  • we develop, test and merge code frequently
  • we use a test driven approach
  • we build and evolve an automated test framework / verification stack
  • we ensure a clear and pragmatic test strategy is in place and evolved
  • we use Continuous Integration & Continuous Deployment
  • we evolve our architecture and refactor where necessary
  • we do a small amount of discovery up front to reduce delivery and technical risk
  • we manage technical debt
  • we capture and track trade off decisions
  • we operate a zero defect release process

FLOW - Are we building it fast enough?

  • we use an empirical approach to planning
  • we ensure goals are clearly defined, articulated and understood
  • we keep a clean backlog and take care of regular housekeeping
  • we ensure good quality planning data is available and used
  • we automate everything where possible
  • flow efficiency – we look for work waiting in queues and ensure good flow is maintained
  • we identify, visualise and focus on unblocking blocked work
  • we establish real-time progress reporting
  • we report on progress frequently ensuring our stakeholders have an early opportunity to adapt if necessary
  • we use cycle time analysis to look for sources of variation
  • we monitor work item ‘mileage’ and use this insight to avoid future delays
  • we look at cycle time to date for all work items to increase flow efficiency

PEOPLE - Are we building it safely?

  • we limit work at the portfolio level
  • we reflect and adapt frequently
  • we show our respect for others with a bi-weekly team appreciation game
  • we limit the amount of work we have in progress
  • we ask “what can we finish next?”, not “what can we start next?”
  • we visualise all blockers, impediments and drag factors
  • we aim to build team capabilities, not stick to job roles – swarm!
  • we visualise all work on the office walls to promote transparency
  • we avoid decisions based on emotion, opinion and hearsay
  • we base decisions on evidence, data and fact, backed up by intuition and experience
  • we prefer face to face conversations
  • we ensure priorities are clear and unambiguous using selection columns
  • we track our work in Jira to provide data insights
  • we pragmatically adapt our practices and processes regularly
  • we focus on the work, not each other, during daily stand-ups – walk the wall right to left

About Ian Carroll

Ian consults, coaches, trains and speaks on all topics related to Lean, Kanban and Agile software development.

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