Monday 18 November 2013

NOTE: More Agility at SAS

Last month I featured an article by SAS's Tim Arthur regarding the adoption of agile techniques at SAS. Tim promised to produce another article in November, and he has been good to his word.

In 5 More Ways SAS Scaled Agile Scrum, Tim focuses on coaching options, communication, scale, and closing the loop. All of these topics are focused on increasing the adoption of agile around the organisation. Judging by the speed with which new versions of Visual Analytics are being released, the agile approach is making a positive difference at SAS.

Good tips from Tim. I'd add the following that are specifically related to agile planning:
  • Split the project into short iterations. By working in short iterations of 2 - 4 weeks each, and being sure to deliver working software at the end of each, you get a true measure of your progress

  • Only create detailed plans for imminent tasks. Schedule in detail weeks ahead but not months; use a high-level plan for the months ahead. In practice, this usually means producing a detailed plan for the next couple of iterations

  • Ensure the people doing the work are actively involved in scheduling. They have the skills and knowledge, plus the motivation to get it right. And it ensures they buy in to the plan

  • Allow people to choose their work, don't assign it. Again, this ensures commitment and buy-in

  • Take a requirement-centred approach. Centre your plan around delivering features or user stories rather than the traditional design, build, test activities

  • Remember training. If agile is new to your enterprise, remember to include training for new staff, and refresher sessions for existing staff
Good luck with your agile project.