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BJSS Enterprise Agile

BJSS Enterprise Agile is proven to be successful even in environments dominated by more rigid processes such as Waterfall.

How is BJSS Enterprise Agile Different?

Planning and delivery activities are driven by desire to eradicate risk early in the project. An architecture-centric approach coupled with early and continuous technical testing avoids late-breaking and expensive architectural changes and encourages the appropriate discussions regarding project priorities.
The applicability and scope of many agile methods is limited to software engineering, e.g. XP/Scrum – these methods therefore tend to become developer-led. BJSS Enterprise Agile expands this limited scope by adding a strong focus on sound management practices and providing guidance for the role of management.
Complete visibility of project status and issues is available to all stakeholders at all times. Comprehensive metrics support calibration of the plan and facilitate joint decision making, leading to a ’No surprises end-game’.
Based around a formal project structure to support early risk eradication and increased certainty of delivery and quality, BJSS Enterprise Agile includes sufficient formal business engagement to support incremental acceptance.
The approach has been proven to scale from small engagements, where it adds an appropriate degree of control, risk management and transparency to global enterprise system deliveries of greater than 100 man years with team sizes of 50 .
BJSS Enterprise Agile is built on our real world experience of delivering enterprise software solutions. It acknowledges and complements existing organisational governance structures whilst retaining the flexibility to scale to a wide range of organisation and project types.

Thought Leadership: BJSS Enterprise Agile

Making the Ascent – Programme Delivery Essentials

Six months ago I started climbing, or more accurately, Bouldering (no ropes, not too high and crash mats). I quickly learned that I needed to develop three things to be successful – the same things that are often required in many sporting, personal and business endeavours.

1. Physical strength and fitness
2. Technical ability to solve the problem and create a route
3. Mental stamina and belief

In the last few months I’d like to think I have developed in all these areas and will now quite happily tackle and achieve results to V3 problems. It is fascinating how these factors interplay with each other. Some problems require a little more strength and some benefit from more technical ability, but all factors come into play to some extent. State of mind also makes a huge difference – a fear of falling or a thought that you cannot do it usually means that you aren’t successful.

What does this have to do with Programme Delivery?

Well it struck me that actually Bouldering is the same as programme delivery in many ways. The same 3 ingredients are required for success: 

  1. The strength (resource) to deliver
  2. Technical ability to identify the solution and create a route (plan)
  3. A belief held by the leaders and team that it can be achieved and the stamina to see it though to the end

All too often when I’m reviewing and recovering programmes in crisis I find that some of these basic ingredients are lacking. Frequently, as I did when I began climbing, people assume that additional strength is required to succeed. Whilst you need sufficient strength to complete the problem, applying too much energy can easily cause you to loose grip or balance and fall. The same is true of applying extra resource to a struggling programme.

There is also another element intrinsic to climbing that is required for any successful programme. That component is a clear goal. In Bouldering you have to climb and touch the top hold with both hands. Having a common understanding of the required outcome is also essential for a successful programme.

What happens when you struggle with the ascent?
In climbing you are working against gravity. The same is true of any change programme – if you stop and let go you fall back to the starting position. Organisations and the individuals within it revert to the previous state.

It is often the case that half way up the wall you get stuck. The same is true of many programmes part way through. Generally problems at this stage are due to a shortage of one of the three ingredients mentioned. At this point you can do a number of things. As already discussed more resource is only a solution if that is the genuine cause of the problem. Appropriate interventions in this situation are generally: 

  1. Look around a try and find the solution yourself
  2. Take an independent view from someone on the ground
  3. Climb down and try again

Taking any other course of action or hanging in for too long without acting generally results in a fall. It is much better to make a controlled descent than fall and risk injury. Programme sponsors and stakeholders like to see that things are under control – even if that has to be a controlled change to the outcome.

A further challenge is often when your belief in the ability to succeed comes adrift from actual capability. I see this a lot on programmes when mid-plan challenges hit, stakeholders lose confidence and make personnel changes often based on perception rather than fact.

The power of coaching in sport is well established. It appears to be less so in programmes. Agile coaching is gaining momentum but is still some way from being accepted as commonplace. Help from friends on the ground has been incredibly useful for me while climbing both tactically in pointing out the foothold I haven’t seen, providing encouragement or just generally sharing ideas on problem solving. I believe the same benefit is up for grabs in programme delivery.

So what are the key elements for a successful ascent?

I find this analogy quite useful as a reminder of the key things required for successful programme delivery: 

  1. A clear objective
  2. The right resource
  3. A solution (architecture) and a route (plan)
  4. Mental stamina and a motivated team
  5. An independent view and coaching

This probably seems like a very basic list, but all too often some of these basics are missed. In the menatime, I wish you a successful ascent!

BJSS Enterprise Agile underpins our software delivery engagements. It is a flexible approach that ensures success.

It combines over 20 years of practical experience developing distributed, high performance, high availability software systems with elements of methods such as XP, SCRUM and the Unified Process. It is a practical toolkit that promotes consistent delivery and is successful even in environments dominated by more rigid processes such as Waterfall.

Download the BJSS Enterprise Agile Book:

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