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ARKANSAS BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD RSFOX@ARKBLUECROSS.COM
(501) 396-4160 Tuesday 9/25, 8:40 - 9:20
Robert Fox - Data Architect, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield
•17 years of data architecture and warehousing experience in the finance, telecom, and health insurance industries. •Installed over 50 data warehouses worldwide, some loading more than 4.5 terabytes of new transactional data per day. •Guest lecturer in information management masters degree programs at 3 universities. •Speaker at national conferences for Oracle, Fidelity, and MDM-CDI.
but a balancing act between extremes: balancing the desire for continual user feedback with the need to let developers remain focused balancing the need for predictability with the need for flexibility balance the development of strategic. however. I will be using the phrase in a much larger sense: creating an IT organization that is agile in ALL of its parts. I think the term “Agile” itself is misleading.Agile IT is about finding balance The term “Agile Development” is used in several ways. “agile” means “nimble. technical infrastructure with the need to respond to immediate business requests balancing the need to provide self-service interfaces with the need for controlling the quality of data and processes All too often. quick. This definition makes it appear that this “agile” thing we are seeking is an extreme.” Many of the proponents of agile development take this view. that agility is not an extreme. . I believe. mature agile development is about finding the correct balance across the entire organization. In this presentation. the phrase is used in a narrow sense to refer strictly to the development phase of a software development project. organizations adopting “agile development” completely abandon their existing processes (which were unbalanced in one direction) in order to adopt an unbalanced polar opposite process. and flexible”. Ideally.Abstract . Most commonly. According to the dictionary. the opposite of “rigid.
Agenda Balancing the Building Blocks of an Agile IT Organization Organization Structure .
Agile Development Methodology Balancing the need for continuous feedback with the need to keep developers focused Organization Structure .
“waterfall. complex projects involving many inter-related components or departments • Projects which are foundational to future projects PRO‟s • • • Supported by most project management software Very clear.k.Traditional Development a.” or “release” Analysis Design Develop Test Implement Works well for: • Large.a. up-front understanding of entire timeline Clear lines of responsibility CON‟s • • • Sequential Not iterative Requestor not involved in most of the process Long time between request and delivery • .
Not well suited to most project management tools Difficult to coordinate strategy and architecture across sprints and projects Responsibilities less clear • . are not critical to future projects • Small development shops where everyone is working on the same project Very rapid response to changing needs Requestor involved throughout process CON‟s • • • No clear insight into long-term timeline. resource needs. etc.“Agile” Development Time-boxed scope PRO‟s • • Cross-functional development Works well for: • Small projects which can be completed in isolation from other resources and projects • Projects which. cost. while perhaps critical on their own.
This Is Really Two Issues • Finding the right balance of interaction between requestor and developer • Finding the right balance of administrative effort necessary for management insight Lets think about them separately… .
but can also keep any work from being done at all. Working in isolation • Can keep people focused. but they can be focused on the wrong things .Balancing Levels of Interaction During Software Development Working in teams • Can keep work from being done wrong.
Finding the Balance • We need isolation to focus. Identify your best communicators Give them a title that recognizes and encourages this skill Make sure they are assigned to critical projects Use them to mentor other members of the team • • • • • • . We need to get together as soon as there is a question. not at the next weekly meeting. but we need to come together for vision. We need to develop an environment where people are not reluctant to get out of their cubes and go sit down with someone else to work things out.
Agile Project Management Balancing the need for management insight with the need to minimize project overhead Organization Structure .
Ask yourself.Why do YOU need PM? The questions isn’t as simple as you might think. but in many cases it has become a tool for looking over peoples shoulders because you don’t trust them to do their jobs. what’s the worst that could happen?” . PM is absolutely necessary for management insight. “If we backed off on project management.
or is the problem that there are no standards? Maybe you told them “what” the standards are. and agree that it’s right in the long run.Is Oversight Needed Because of Cowboy Developers? Will the developers play with technical toys if you don’t have PM oversight? Ask yourself it they are they willfully violating standards. and it’s not too much harder in the short term. . but never told them “why” these standards are needed Most people will do the right thing if they know what it is.
October 2002 .“Doctor Fun” by David Farley.
or else…” Job Security Recognition “If you do things this way. Most people will do the right thing.Business Goals versus Natural Desires “Do what I tell you to do. here’s what will happen…” Business Goal Social/Fun Weak Commitment Strong Commitment Business Goal Family Creativity It could be that the reason your organization needs so much PM Oversight is that your people haven’t bought into the vision. if they understand what and why in terms that are personally meaningful .
and put in terms relevant to the target audience • Invest in the tools and infrastructure necessary to make following the standards easier than violating them .Finding the Balance • Clearly document standards and processes • Communicate the vision of the future made possible by these standards.
Oversight Needed Because of Weak Supervisors? Are the supervisors: • Incapable of adapting to changing conditions. this is due to the same problem of communication of standards and vision. In some cases. it is not. however. and you need PM oversight to steer their projects for them? • Incapable of locking down scope creep? • Incapable of enforcing standards? In many cases. .
repeatable process Organization Structure .Agile Organization Structure Balancing the need for creative thinking with the need for well-defined.
and manage them differently • Put the right people in the right roles Jack Welch – CEO of GE Fortune Magazine “Manager of the Century” .Predictabilty vs Flexability Two Approaches to Project Management • The Factory Floor • Research and Development Balancing Lessons From Jack • Understand which processes are “cookie-cutter” and which are not.
but a weak organization chart Creative Roles • Development • Strategic Planning • User Interface Design • Training • Documentation • Tool Selection • Solution Oriented Quality Roles • QA/Testing • Change Management • Security • Operations • Audit • Compliance • Process Oriented .Maybe it’s not weak supervisors.
Organization should reflect functional responsibility. We know better than to let developers test their own code. But do you know to separate creative development from rigid operations? To separate tactical development from strategic architecture? .Agile Development Can Be an Organizational Issue Project Flow Often. development is not agile because the same resources are asked to focus on too many things.
not a first. and know when to fold „em… • Was it an issue with communication of standards or vision? • Was it an example of misplaced skillset? • Or was it a case where the person needs to be let go? Adding permanent project management overhead should be a last resort. .Know when to hold „em.
Agile Architecture Balancing the need to invest in tomorrow’s infrastructure with the need to meet the demands of the business today Organization Structure .
Today versus Tomorrow Strategic Determining long range destination and planning a path to it Tactical Keeping the lights on. Meeting day to day business demands These should be different roles Navigating Piloting .
strategic projects. • During budgeting process each year. make sure to ask for funds for any IT-sponsored. and a tentative roadmap to get there. Include both what the future looks like.Finding the balance How do you balance the need to get things done quickly and cheaply with the need to prepare for the future? • Dedicate resources to developing and maintaining a 3-5 year strategy for ALL the functional areas of your organization. • When tactical business requests come in. . analyze each to see how it can be implemented in a way that aligns with the long term strategy.
Agile Business Intelligence Balancing the need to remove development bottleneck with the need to ensure data is used appropriately Organization Structure .
Editorial director of Information Management Maybe what we should be looking at isn’t turning around IT projects faster.Agile Means “IT is Not a Bottleneck” “Enterprises where IT addresses more than 20% of BI requirements will continue to see the snowball effect of an evergrowing BI requests backlog” Boris Evelson . but instead architecting a managed platform where the business is able to self-serve their information needs using “safe” information.Forrester Research “BI requirements change faster than an IT-centric model can keep up” Jim Ericson . .
and drill through to prebuilt detail reports • Clean up your data • Make it easier for your users to user your vetted data than to try to pull it themselves • Stamp out private copies of data . not in business reports • Build specialized data marts for specific data domains • Provide awesome meta data • Use tools that can explore prebuilt dimensional cubes.Finding the balance • Implement business rules in the database.
Summary – Agile IT Organizations Balancing the need to remove development bottleneck with the need to ensure data is used appropriately Organization Structure .
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