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Scrum/Agile for Operations

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  • jayhaldors
    I am interested in hearing about other folks experiences who have or are applying scrum/agile techniques with their operations team(s). I have experienced and
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 24 9:28 AM
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      I am interested in hearing about other folks experiences who have or are applying scrum/agile techniques with their operations team(s).

      I have experienced and managed the value in software development projects, however, because of more stability needs (requests, issues support. etc), the agile/scrum values are not as clear cut for an infrastructure operations based team. That does not mean these values/concepts in spirit cannot be applied well.

      I am trying to see if others can share their success/failure stories and perhaps any references as well that they have found. Selfishly this will help me strategize as work to apply this with our team.

      Feel free to share! Perhaps I can share some success/failure and struggles along the way.


      Thank you!

      Jay Haldors
    • Johanna Rothman
      I have used lean--a kanban board--for operations kinds of work. Johanna ... -- Rothman Consulting Group, Inc. 781-641-4046 Speaker, Author, Consultant -
      Message 2 of 12 , Sep 24 11:21 AM
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        I have used lean--a kanban board--for operations kinds of work.

        Johanna

        On Sep 24, 2010, at 12:28 PM, jayhaldors wrote:

         

        I am interested in hearing about other folks experiences who have or are applying scrum/agile techniques with their operations team(s).

        I have experienced and managed the value in software development projects, however, because of more stability needs (requests, issues support. etc), the agile/scrum values are not as clear cut for an infrastructure operations based team. That does not mean these values/concepts in spirit cannot be applied well.

        I am trying to see if others can share their success/failure stories and perhaps any references as well that they have found. Selfishly this will help me strategize as work to apply this with our team.

        Feel free to share! Perhaps I can share some success/failure and struggles along the way.

        Thank you!

        Jay Haldors


        --

        Rothman Consulting Group, Inc.     781-641-4046

        Speaker, Author, Consultant - Managing Product Development

        ==========================================

        http://www.ayeconference.com, Nov 7-11, 2010

        New: Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects




      • Gary Brown
        Hello, Jay! If you can send me your email address off list, I can put you in touch with one of our infrastructure teams that has gotten a good result using an
        Message 3 of 12 , Sep 24 2:56 PM
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          Hello, Jay!

          If you can send me your email address off list, I can put you in touch with
          one of our infrastructure teams that has gotten a good result using an Agile
          approach over the last couple of years.

          garybrown at carfax dot com

          Gary Brown
          XP Coach
          CARFAX, Inc.


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "jayhaldors" <jhaldors@...>
          To: <scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Friday, September 24, 2010 11:28 AM
          Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Scrum/Agile for Operations


          >I am interested in hearing about other folks experiences who have or are
          >applying scrum/agile techniques with their operations team(s).
          >
          > I have experienced and managed the value in software development projects,
          > however, because of more stability needs (requests, issues support. etc),
          > the agile/scrum values are not as clear cut for an infrastructure
          > operations based team. That does not mean these values/concepts in spirit
          > cannot be applied well.
          >
          > I am trying to see if others can share their success/failure stories and
          > perhaps any references as well that they have found. Selfishly this will
          > help me strategize as work to apply this with our team.
          >
          > Feel free to share! Perhaps I can share some success/failure and struggles
          > along the way.
          >
          >
          > Thank you!
          >
          > Jay Haldors
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
          > scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
        • Augusto Rodriguez
          Hi Jay, A few days ago, InfoQ published an article describing how the Operations Team at Spotify is using Kanban. I found the article very interesting, as it
          Message 4 of 12 , Sep 25 1:52 AM
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            Hi Jay,

            A few days ago, InfoQ published an article describing how the Operations Team at Spotify is using Kanban. I found the article very interesting, as it explained how the team had to tailor Kanban to its own needs.

            link: http://www.infoq.com/articles/kanban-operations-spotify


            Cheers,
            Augusto

            On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 5:28 PM, jayhaldors <jhaldors@...> wrote:
             

            I am interested in hearing about other folks experiences who have or are applying scrum/agile techniques with their operations team(s).

            I have experienced and managed the value in software development projects, however, because of more stability needs (requests, issues support. etc), the agile/scrum values are not as clear cut for an infrastructure operations based team. That does not mean these values/concepts in spirit cannot be applied well.

            I am trying to see if others can share their success/failure stories and perhaps any references as well that they have found. Selfishly this will help me strategize as work to apply this with our team.

            Feel free to share! Perhaps I can share some success/failure and struggles along the way.

            Thank you!

            Jay Haldors




            --
            Augusto Rodríguez
          • Don MacIntyre
            Jay, I was hired by a company a couple of years ago as VP of Software and to help the entire company adopt Scrum. We have data centers coast to coast in the
            Message 5 of 12 , Sep 25 4:11 AM
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              Jay,

              I was hired by a company a couple of years ago as VP of Software and to help the entire company adopt Scrum. We have data centers coast to coast in the US. The ops and infrastructure teams have absolutely embraced and successfully adopted Scrum.

              If you consider the mechanics of Scrum, it can be applied to many things. You make a backlog, plan the work, and iterate. The ops teams initially got hung up on making good stories and how to deliver 'value' at the end of a sprint, but they eventually figured out something that worked for them.

              They actually picked it up pretty quickly after I did some initial training and coaching. Since then I have spent most of my time on the software side of the house, so I no longer track their projects all that closely, but it appears to continue to work very well for them.

              -don

              http://www.scrumalliance.org/profiles/26043-don-macintyre


              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "jayhaldors" <jhaldors@...> wrote:
              >
              > I am interested in hearing about other folks experiences who have or are applying scrum/agile techniques with their operations team(s).
              >
              > I have experienced and managed the value in software development projects, however, because of more stability needs (requests, issues support. etc), the agile/scrum values are not as clear cut for an infrastructure operations based team. That does not mean these values/concepts in spirit cannot be applied well.
              >
              > I am trying to see if others can share their success/failure stories and perhaps any references as well that they have found. Selfishly this will help me strategize as work to apply this with our team.
              >
              > Feel free to share! Perhaps I can share some success/failure and struggles along the way.
              >
              >
              > Thank you!
              >
              > Jay Haldors
              >
            • Mark Levison
              Jay - its very funny I was just talking to a pharmaceutical executive about a similar problem last night. In essence you can boil it down to, a regular cycle.
              Message 6 of 12 , Sep 25 5:55 AM
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                Jay - its very funny I was just talking to a pharmaceutical executive about a similar problem last night. In essence you can boil it down to, a regular cycle. In his case the team already has a one week cadence for drug discovery. We would just add Planning meeting on Monday, Daily Standups and Review/Retrospective at the end of the week. If User Stories don't fit, that's fine oddly enough they're not strictly a requirement for Scrum. 

                Remember as you try to decide what to do go back to the principles behind the Agile Manifesto and see how you can honour them. You may not wind up practicing pure Scrum with the operations group but you can find something that honours the original principles.

                Cheers
                Mark Levison
              • Ron Jeffries
                Hello, Mark. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 8:55:48 AM, you ... Yes ...Backlog items, and getting them done in one Sprint, are requirements however,
                Message 7 of 12 , Sep 25 7:25 AM
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                  Hello, Mark. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 8:55:48 AM, you
                  wrote:

                  > If User Stories don't fit,
                  > that's fine oddly enough they're not strictly a requirement for Scrum.

                  Yes ...Backlog items, and getting them done in one Sprint, are
                  requirements however, afaik.

                  Ron Jeffries
                  www.XProgramming.com
                  www.xprogramming.com/blog
                  But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to
                  truth, whatever it might turn out to be. -- Alan Watts
                • Mark Levison
                  ... Agreed and that part might be difficult for some operations group. My point was that depending on the operations group they might not do Scrum per se, but
                  Message 8 of 12 , Sep 25 7:35 AM
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                    On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 10:25 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                     

                    Hello, Mark. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 8:55:48 AM, you
                    wrote:



                    > If User Stories don't fit,
                    > that's fine oddly enough they're not strictly a requirement for Scrum.

                    Yes ...Backlog items, and getting them done in one Sprint, are
                    requirements however, afaik.

                    Agreed and that part might be difficult for some operations group. My point was that depending on the operations group they might not do Scrum per se, but they might take the ideas and principles in new directions. 

                    Cheers
                    Mark 

                    Ron Jeffries
                    www.XProgramming.com
                    www.xprogramming.com/blog
                    But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to
                    truth, whatever it might turn out to be. -- Alan Watts


                  • Robert Benefield
                    I have been successfully using and teaching Agile techniques within the Operations space for well over a decade. I have used them at small startups as well as
                    Message 9 of 12 , Sep 25 8:23 AM
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                      I have been successfully using and teaching Agile techniques within the Operations space for well over a decade.  I have used them at small startups as well as at Yahoo!, and have written a few papers on the topic.  I am especially fond of Lean, and incorporate continuous improvement, A3 thinking, and many other aspects into organizations.  I prefer a structure that follows Scrum, though typically with a small rotating group of people (i.e. on-call) who field ad-hoc requests and issues during the sprint.

                      Due to the nature of Operations, the cadence is typically one week in length, with a regular kickoff and retrospective.  This seems to work quite well, especially as it neatly intercepts sprints that may be occurring across the rest of the organisation which reduces waste.  I also find that it is critical for a front door/desk to handle quick one-off requests be created and rotated weekly across the team (usually it is the secondary or tertiary on-call person) .  The work that comes in is either handled directly by that person or primary on-call using a Kanban approach for those small or very time sensitive tasks that could not have been foreseen, or otherwise parked in the backlog for a future sprint.  This person also often doubles as a sort of scrum master that will run the daily standups, coordinate with the product owner and other scrum masters, and also uses those interactions to help maintain the backlog.  This minimizes the amount of context switching that otherwise would hit the team, and helps maintain flow and context.

                      One of the biggest challenges of Operations is that they often have to balance production problems, on-call, internal and external projects.  The hybrid structure of Scrum for the team and Kanban for the on-call folks helps keep everything balanced and properly prioritized relative to the overall portfolio.  Various instrumentation and trending techniques form a feedback loop that fosters continuous improvement that heavily influences the backlog and how work is done. If done right, this information also is added to the arsenal of information that becomes heavily used by development, QA, and the business.

                      ~Robert
                    • Ron Jeffries
                      Hello, Mark. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 10:35:41 AM, you ... Yes ... I think the planning and cyclical nature can be of value. As can Kanban,
                      Message 10 of 12 , Sep 25 8:55 AM
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                        Hello, Mark. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 10:35:41 AM, you
                        wrote:

                        > Agreed and that part might be difficult for some operations group. My point
                        > was that depending on the operations group they might not do Scrum per se,
                        > but they might take the ideas and principles in new directions.

                        Yes ... I think the planning and cyclical nature can be of value.
                        As can Kanban, actually.

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming.com
                        www.xprogramming.com/blog
                        If we're not shipping our software when it's ready,
                        it's poor business practice.
                        If we're not sure whether our software is ready,
                        it's poor software practice.
                        http://www.xprogramming.com/blog/Page.aspx?display=FrequentReleases
                      • jayhaldors
                        Great article! I think this maybe the same person I just started following as well that I read on article around Kanban and Operations. I think it does strike
                        Message 11 of 12 , Sep 27 11:18 AM
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                          Great article! I think this maybe the same person I just started following as well that I read on article around Kanban and Operations. I think it does strike the balance that I am looking for since we have a small team that does not have the ability to be only focused on project/development time frames.

                          Thank you Augusto!

                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Augusto Rodriguez <augusto.rodriguez@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi Jay,
                          >
                          > A few days ago, InfoQ published an article describing how the Operations
                          > Team at Spotify is using Kanban. I found the article very interesting, as it
                          > explained how the team had to tailor Kanban to its own needs.
                          >
                          > link: http://www.infoq.com/articles/kanban-operations-spotify
                          >
                          >
                          > Cheers,
                          > Augusto
                          >
                          > On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 5:28 PM, jayhaldors <jhaldors@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > I am interested in hearing about other folks experiences who have or are
                          > > applying scrum/agile techniques with their operations team(s).
                          > >
                          > > I have experienced and managed the value in software development projects,
                          > > however, because of more stability needs (requests, issues support. etc),
                          > > the agile/scrum values are not as clear cut for an infrastructure operations
                          > > based team. That does not mean these values/concepts in spirit cannot be
                          > > applied well.
                          > >
                          > > I am trying to see if others can share their success/failure stories and
                          > > perhaps any references as well that they have found. Selfishly this will
                          > > help me strategize as work to apply this with our team.
                          > >
                          > > Feel free to share! Perhaps I can share some success/failure and struggles
                          > > along the way.
                          > >
                          > > Thank you!
                          > >
                          > > Jay Haldors
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --
                          > Augusto Rodríguez
                          >
                        • jayhaldors
                          Thank you! Yes. Striking that balance is the biggest challenge and keeping the team to a cadence...I am not sure I can keep the team focused on a sprint
                          Message 12 of 12 , Sep 27 11:23 AM
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                            Thank you! Yes. Striking that balance is the biggest challenge and keeping the team to a cadence...I am not sure I can keep the team focused on a sprint schedule...since we have the larger part of the organization looking towards the over portfolio it will be interesting how to work out the conflict of not having dedicated project resources.

                            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Robert Benefield <rbenefield@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I have been successfully using and teaching Agile techniques within the
                            > Operations space for well over a decade. I have used them at small startups
                            > as well as at Yahoo!, and have written a few papers on the topic. I am
                            > especially fond of Lean, and incorporate continuous improvement, A3
                            > thinking, and many other aspects into organizations. I prefer a structure
                            > that follows Scrum, though typically with a small rotating group of people
                            > (i.e. on-call) who field ad-hoc requests and issues during the sprint.
                            >
                            > Due to the nature of Operations, the cadence is typically one week in
                            > length, with a regular kickoff and retrospective. This seems to work quite
                            > well, especially as it neatly intercepts sprints that may be occurring
                            > across the rest of the organisation which reduces waste. I also find that
                            > it is critical for a front door/desk to handle quick one-off requests be
                            > created and rotated weekly across the team (usually it is the secondary or
                            > tertiary on-call person) . The work that comes in is either handled
                            > directly by that person or primary on-call using a Kanban approach for those
                            > small or very time sensitive tasks that could not have been foreseen, or
                            > otherwise parked in the backlog for a future sprint. This person also often
                            > doubles as a sort of scrum master that will run the daily standups,
                            > coordinate with the product owner and other scrum masters, and also uses
                            > those interactions to help maintain the backlog. This minimizes the amount
                            > of context switching that otherwise would hit the team, and helps maintain
                            > flow and context.
                            >
                            > One of the biggest challenges of Operations is that they often have to
                            > balance production problems, on-call, internal and external projects. The
                            > hybrid structure of Scrum for the team and Kanban for the on-call folks
                            > helps keep everything balanced and properly prioritized relative to the
                            > overall portfolio. Various instrumentation and trending techniques form a
                            > feedback loop that fosters continuous improvement that heavily influences
                            > the backlog and how work is done. If done right, this information also is
                            > added to the arsenal of information that becomes heavily used by
                            > development, QA, and the business.
                            >
                            > ~Robert
                            >
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