Businesses across the world are undergoing rapid digital transformation journeys to remain competitive in the market.
One of the most important objectives is to achieve business agility and gain a competitive edge in the market. In many organizations, IT programs or portfolios are managed by traditional or agile methodologies. While more and more organizations are adopting to agile frameworks due to the demands of digital transformation, traditional waterfall methodologies are also suitable for managing some of these programs or portfolios. If the organization adopts agile, one or more agile frameworks, such as Scrum, Kanban, Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) etc., may be adopted depending on what works best for the organization. While Scrum and Kanban are adopted by agile teams, scalable agile frameworks like SAFe, Spotify, LeSS, and DAD are required to scale up agile to manage multiple programs and portfolios at all levels of an organization - up to the overall enterprise level. In a multi-vendor scenario, there is a possibility that each vendor may adopt different agile frameworks and customers may face challenges in getting a consolidated picture of all the portfolios. Also, different lines of businesses may adopt different agile or traditional frameworks as the need may be. In such cases, it is difficult to manage multiple portfolios and get a consolidated picture.
Business challenges and requirements
Large and complex organizations pose challenges in managing multiple programs or portfolios, be it traditional or agile.
Portfolio managers do not get a consolidated view of all the products/ or programs that deliver business value. Product and program managers are not able to plan the right work at the right time due to the lack of clarity from the portfolio managers regarding what is priority for the customers. Agile teams who work on development, build, testing, release, and deployment of software do not get full visibility into priority features or user stories that they need to work on. As teams are not able to manage dependencies with other teams, they are unable to deliver in cadence. Managing such challenges requires a strong multi-modal platform.
Portfolio planning product
A multi-modal planning and delivery product or platform should be flexible to support multiple methodologies - be it agile or traditional.
Such a product should also provide transformational capabilities to support transition from traditional to agile framework and also, switching between agile frameworks depending on what really works best and what delivers value to the business. More importantly, capabilities are also needed to transform from the project-mindset to product-mindset.
Portfolio managers are required to collaborate with the business customers to understand requirements. Portfolio managers will need complete visibility of the flow of customer requests throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and ultimately, strive to deliver value to the customers. They need a platform to communicate the high-level requirements to program managers for further planning and implementation. Program managers may be required to adopt traditional methodologies for managing some programs because the requirements are more stable and traditional methodologies are more suitable for such programs, whereas more and more program managers may need to adopt to agile frameworks where the requirements keep changing and there is a continuous need to deliver value incrementally. Different products and programs may follow different scalable agile frameworks like SAFe, DAD, LeSS, Spotify etc. The enterprise agile planning and continuous delivery lifecycle product or platform should provide configurable capabilities so that the customers may configure multiple programs in different modes supporting such scalable agile frameworks. A multi-modal product or program planning platform should help users to configure any workspace to support the required scalable agile framework.
The agile planning and tracking capabilities should help portfolio managers to plan and track high-level value streams and epics. It helps programs managers to break down the epics into features and plan those into releases and iterations. Features are further broken down into user stories. The estimation and prioritization capabilities should help the users in prioritizing features and user stories, and help them to manage dependencies between them. The continuous lifecycle management capability helps various teams to manage their backlog of user stories and implements the same. All stakeholders are required to measure progress against the planned work to understand the progress and issues. KPIs and metrics defined at all levels of the organization help various stakeholders to understand the progress and impact of any issues.
Continuous delivery lifecycle system
The development team needs to know what user stories they need to work on.
The QA team requires a platform for testers to create and execute test cases. There is a need for test case versioning and multi-step test cases. Workflow management is the core of test planning and test execution. Defect management helps QA teams to create and manage defects. Each test case must be traceable to the respective backlog item and each defect must be traceable with the respective test case. The development team and the QA team require to collaborate with each other closely to discuss about the defects and resolutions for the same.
Developers, testers, operations, and support engineers need to closely collaborate with each other to continuously build, test, and deploy software. Continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous delivery and deployment are key to delivering value to customers continuously to ensure customer satisfaction. An end-to-end orchestration of continuous integration, testing, and delivery tools ensures that high-quality software is delivered to the customers.