time, and team collaboration.
Transition Planning and Roll Out
LaPorte understood early on that benefits and impacts would have to be carefully weighed for each enterprise area within his span of influence, and it started with his leadership team. Lean-Agile principles and practices were presented in exploratory sessions, and each of his directs was encouraged to present concerns and specific challenges within their current structure. After several sessions, it was agreed that the roll-out should be owned by the PMO, and the next step was to assess current and future projects to find a good pilot candidate for the Lean-Agile transition within CITS.
The results of the assessment were presented back to the leadership team, and a consensus was reached for the pilot, based on the recommendations of the assessment findings. The approach that came out of the pilot selection was to bring the team and its product managers to a five day boot-camp training session. Current and planned requirements were used to frame the course activities, with the goal to come out with an iteration planned and ready to execute at the end of training. The intense training covered principles, practices, and created a working product road map that had work decomposed into small enough increments to be consumed by the team's first 10-day iteration.
Selecting a major program (referred to here as "Supply Chain Product") to pilot the approach took courage, because this is one of the most critical programs within the CITS portfolio. The payoff was quickly achieved from a transition management perspective, because the organizational reaction to the visibility of the success was that other business units requested moving to Lean-Agile at a much faster pace than originally planned.
With the aggressive demand for Lean-Agile from the business units came the opportunity to pilot and learn standard practices in different fields-of-use within the organization. Examples include different types of development/delivery work flows including application arenas that integrated different skill sets, operational support teams, data teams, and architecture teams. As more pilot teams were staged and trained, focus was given to each group's unique challenges, and different practices were staged and rolled in for focus. For groups that were mostly driven by unplanned work, kanban software delivery techniques were utilized to bring visualization to flow by giving management the ability to see the impact of too much work-in-process. These groups still pulled from business-driven portfolios, to ensure that the limited work queues were filled with the highest valued business opportunity. In total, approximately 90 people were trained and ten Lean-Agile teams were initiated over a 6-month period.
One of the key principles that the PMO focused on was transparency. Visual controls that clearly show the flow of work (from discovered business need to delivery) through the Lean-Agile organization were created and managed with daily discipline. The organization began to look for visual bottlenecks that, in the past, were hidden by the sheer volume of opened work. As queue sizes were limited, impacts from any delays were immediately visible, and the organization had clear view of any waste and began to focus on clearing the bottlenecks. Examples included subject matter experts who were typically kept busy with their specialty, through the expense of opening up future work (and slowing down flow of higher priority solutions). This is where the PMO realized their calling and value to the transition. The organization began to form around the flow of work to a state of validated business-prioritized increments, and impediments were now the focus of process improvement. Boards began to appear with colored cards that showed consistent status of every project