In our last blog on this subject, Agile vs. Waterfall: Which Delivery Approach is Right for You?, we focused on two standard project management methodologies – Waterfall and Agile – noting that CTRM projects can be successful with either approach. We tend to manage our CTRM projects using a blend of the two, or what we call the hybrid agile methodology. The hybrid agile approach is fluid so it’s important that the right culture, delivery tools and processes are in place to ensure its success. Some of the tools and processes include daily standups, sprint planning sessions, DevOps built into reports and test tracking. Let’s dive deeper into each one.
A one-team mindset that is focused on delivering value is key to successfully adopting a DevOps approach. Development teams are typically focused on creating improvements and features as quickly as possible while Operations tends to focus on maintaining resiliency and a high-level of performance. The tools and processes that are outlined below will help to encourage the one-team mindsight by encouraging collaboration and rapid communication across various groups in the project.
An agile project relies on daily team standup meetings (broadly referred to as Scrum meetings), in which the team reviews tasks assigned to each team member, including the status of these tasks and any roadblocks hindering progress. This process allows for transparency into the activities of each team member and provides an open environment to foster knowledge sharing and cross-functional collaboration.
For each scrum, the scrum master (often the Project Manager) will present a dashboard containing a list of all team members, activities assigned to them, due dates, status, and space to include notes and commentary. The team will go around the table and answer the following questions:
- What did you accomplish yesterday?
- What do you plan on working on today?
- Are there any roadblocks in your way?
- Are there any other general updates relevant to the team/project?
Sprint Planning Sessions
In an agile project, the start of each sprint would be kicked off with a Sprint Planning Session. These meetings have three core objectives: review, retrospective and planning.
- Sprint Review:
- Discuss what was completed in the most recent Sprint.
- Discuss what was NOT completed in the most recent Sprint.
- Sprint Retrospective:
- Discuss what did or didn’t work well in the previous Sprint.
- Incorporate any lessons learned for the upcoming Sprint.
- Sprint Planning:
- Review current Backlog of tasks.
- Assign Tasks to team member(s).
- Assign completion dates for task items.
- Address any ongoing roadblocks or impediments.
- Identify any risks to completion and discuss mitigation actions.
Effective sprint planning is imperative as it sets the baseline for tasks planned and discussed during daily scrum meetings as well as the project tracking/reporting metrics presented to the project stakeholders.
DevOps Built-in Reports
DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development (dev) and IT operations (ops) and is commonly used in conjunction with agile approaches. Since these two teams can have different styles of working, DevOps helps bridge the gap between development and operation by ensuring collaboration between the two teams. Better visibility into cross-functional activities helps to manage the pace of change and the release of features to the team. One way to implement DevOps practices is to build them into the reports that can be easily shared and accessed. Reports can be organized by tasks and activities. For example,
- User Story
- Customization of fields
This enhanced reporting may benefit by cleverly organizing the data and accessing the data via Excel and Power Query/Power BI.
Testing and Test Tracking
A key focus of DevOps is to responsibly introduce changes into the environment as soon as possible. An obvious and critical element of responsibly introducing changes is testing. Smartly tracking test cases and results can help provide the confidence to roll-out features that meet user requirements and address defects. Automation of test cases can also aid in the tracking of results and the speed of obtaining the results. Whether it be automated or manual, robust testing processes and tracking are key to maintaining a high-level of performance,
Moving to a DevOps mindset for projects and daily operations can create significant value for any organization. However, since no two companies are exactly alike, the key is to find a balanced approach for your team. We wish you good luck on the journey and would love to hear from you.
At Veritas Total Solutions, we specialize in CTRM Systems and believe our strong project management skills make us uniquely positioned to help clients through a successful CTRM implementation. If you are interested in learning more about our specific capabilities, contract us to learn more or subscribe to our blog to stay connected.