Sunday, August 21, 2005

Now it is time to deliver!

Over the last four moths or so, we have actively worked on getting support and funding for a new initiative (Olympus). Last week, we finally got the payoff for all the evangelizing and technical marketing we have done: we got funding and strong senior executive support!

This project represents a long, hard road ahead; the first step only gives us the “ticket” to play the game. Now it is time for us to stop selling and begin writing software, and deliver business value. This is a multi-million-dollar initiative with several projects along a 18-month timeline. Over the next few months, I will be posting our progress as we climb the hill (maybe mountain is a more accurate description).

We are assembling the team and have decided to utilize agile methods for the delivery. Here are some of the current challenges we face:

  • This is a big initiative and requires us to have several delivery teams working simultaneously. We will need to introduce “scrum of scrums” and this is something we have not done before. Now you may ask yourself, what is he talking about? Well, the project teams we are looking for are from three-to-seven members. The delivery of this initiative will require a larger effort than what a small team can deliver. Therefore, we will divide this project into several delivery teams. This “Scrum of Scrums” is is an Agile term (see some of my other posts about Agile software development methods) and is a way to scale Scrum to work with large teams. With this approach, each team proceeds as normal but each team also contributes one person who attends Scrum of Scrum meetings to coordinate the work of the multiple Scrum teams. (These meetings are analogous to the daily standup or the Scrum meetings, but will happen weekly rather than daily.)
  • The team is new to the technology and to the agile approach. They are excited about the challenge and opportunity this initiative represents. While this team is both senior and experienced, it is not entirely familiar with the methodology or the technology. We are looking at adding a coach to help with the delivery approach and adding contracting staff and services from the company delivering the technology.
  • The expectations for the project are huge and the need for us to deliver is acute. As we worked through the process of getting support from the senior management team, we told them how this initiative can help them deliver the future business needs and this is the resulting expectation. This is all a good thing, and I know that this team will be successful! The challenge for us is to keep communicating the status of the project, ensure that the current excitement persists, and show value as we climb the mountain (enjoy the view on the way to the peak).
  • As this is a new approach and technology, we do have several naysayers within the company and we need to continue to win them over--or at least ensure that they will not slow us down. I do not think we will get everyone on board until we are completely successful.

I am looking forward to the great journey and the future success of this initiative. On the way, I will let you in on the challenges, opportunities, and successes. I will also share information about other projects within our department. I am fortunate to work with a great team!


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