Dec 2014

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Moving from belief to action – implementing WSJF for value based prioritisation in SAFe (Part 2)

In my last post, I described the simulation I use to teach Cost of Delay (CoD) and Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF).  This often provides the impetus to begin, and one of the beauties of the model is that you can adopt it before you’ve even begun to change delivery method.  Beginning your change with a shared definition of value and a rich supporting discussion is a great launch point!

The first step is to make sure you know your vision and overarching strategy.  This need has usually emerged in the debrief on the simulation.  One group will mention how they paused with 10 minutes to go to say “what kind of city are we really building here?”  Every other group will look around and say “aaah, if only we’d started there!”.   Pulling it back to SAFe terminology, we are looking at the workshop(s) to define the strategic themes and portfolio vision.

With a sound strategic vision in place, we look next at adapting the model to the organisational context.  Three key questions need to be answered:

  • Do we use Dean’s components for CoD?
  • Do we weight the components equally or otherwise?
  • What specific factors contribute to each component?

Continue reading...



Oct 2014

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Context Matters at DevOps Enterprise Summit

Context Matters Partner Em Campbell-Pretty was invited by Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project, to speak at the inaugural DevOps Enterprise Summit in San Francisco, 21-23 October 2014.

To hear Em talk about implementing DevOps from a business perspective join her in the Grand Ballroom on Thursday 23rd October at 9:10am.

Em will be at the conference all week, so feel free to come and say G'day.

Aug 2014

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Getting from theory to practice with Cost of Delay and WSJF in SAFe

Recently, I’ve noticed a number of threads on the SAFe linked-in groups indicating people are struggling to get started with the SAFe “Weighted Shortest Job First” (WSJF) prioritisation model.

When I first heard +Dean Leffingwell teach the model I thought “wow, this fantastic.” His use of a proxy model for Cost of Delay (CoD) seemed inspired. +Don Reinertsen had provided compelling arguments for the power of fully quantified CoD. On the other hand, all too many people abandon all attempts to have a value discussion because it’s “just too hard to quantify”. The 3-part proxy in SAFe seemed simple enough to enable people to begin.

The problem, I learned, was one often encountered in people digesting Don’s principles of product development flow. It sounds like fantastic theory but the complexity makes it challenging to find a starting point. My first breakthrough came in early 2013. I was teaching a public Leading SAFe class, and had 5 people from one company on the same table. While most people tackle the WSJF exercise as individuals, this group had a shared list of features and attacked it as a group exercise. They made up planning poker cards from post-its and started voting. As I listened to the conversation, I got inspired. Not only did I hear a great discussion, but I could hear what they had misunderstood from the theory. Continue reading...

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