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The Case for Agile Development. Creative Disruption: A Core Systems Strategy Workshop November 3, 2011. Project Results. Source: Standish Group Chaos Manifesto. Risk Potential. Average Project Cost Overrun 27% But one in six exceeded 200%. “ The number one reason projects fail

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the case for agile development

The Case for Agile Development

Creative Disruption:

A Core Systems Strategy Workshop

November 3, 2011

project results
Project Results

Source: Standish Group Chaos Manifesto

risk potential
Risk Potential

Average Project Cost Overrun


But one in six exceeded



“The number one reason projects fail

is due to absent or inadequate

executive sponsorship.”

factors of success
Factors of Success
  • User Involvement
  • Executive Support
  • Clear Business Objectives
  • Emotional Maturity
  • Optimizing Scope
  • Agile Process
  • Project Management Expertise
  • Skilled Resources
  • Execution
  • Tools and Infrastructure

Source: Standish Group Chaos Manifesto

agile process
Agile Process

Game-changing Benefits

Nerve-wracking Risks


key principles
Key Principles
  • Collaboration
  • Embracing Change
  • High Performance Teams
  • Working Software Often
key principles1
Key Principles
  • Set of Tools
  • Dodging Documentation
  • Design Methodology
scaling scrum
Scaling Scrum
  • Feature Teams
  • Continuous Integration
  • User Centered Design
  • Scrum of Scrums
  • Program Backlog
  • And More
  • Not Empowering the Team
  • Different World View of Cross-Functional Teams
  • Discomfort with Identifying Impediments
  • Limited Business Involvement
  • Defining Done
  • “Agilefall”
case study
Case Study

Generally successful but still not a silver bullet.

inception sprint zero
Inception – Sprint Zero
  • Define the program backlog
  • Organize by major features
  • Prioritize features
  • Plan work by team
  • Plan cross-team interactions
  • Visual layout of the program
  • Define a conceptual vision to start
  • Evolve and change as conditions dictate

Testing Phase

Multiple test sprints

End to end testing

Regression Testing

User Acceptance Testing


Supporting Factors

  • Business Case Objectives
  • Governance Model
  • Dedicated Team
  • Collocated Team
  • handful of parameters guiding independent decision making
  • rules of the road defining decision making expectations
  • develop confidence in teammates and expectations to deliver
  • timely responsive

The right people and the right partners given the commitment they needed to succeed!

  • Internal participants 100% committed for the duration of the program
  • Team collocated at off-site office space
  • Multi-disciplined teams consisting of internal business SMEs, internal IT analysts, vendor experts and system integrator analysts

Lessons Learned

  • Educate
    • Product owner
    • ScrumMaster
    • Team members
    • Others interacting with the agile team
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate
    • Delivery
    • Daily scrums
    • Sprint reviews
  • Incrementally improve
    • Sprint, assess, sprint again
    • Improve the process as well as delivery
  • Empower the team

Lasting Effects

  • Scrum is now the default for all strategic projects
  • Application maintenance releases follow an agile approach
  • Adopted for numerous non-project efforts – scrum meeting format, etc.
  • IT planning follows a conceptual plan with quarterly reviews for the maintenance of projects in the “product backlog”

More dynamic, more transparent, shorter timeframes and focused on functional deliverables.


Final Note:

Invest in lots of

colored Post-It Notes


Michael Foerst

    • VP of IS / CIO - Missouri Employers Mutual
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