Monday, November 8, 2010

Janet Bartz and Jane Shellum on Using Agile and Lean Methods

[This article was originally published at You can find them on Twitter at @agilescout]

Janet and Jane come from two different areas of business for the Mayo Clinic. It's the business and IT joining forces!

"When the business and IT partner together value can be derived through collaboration." - Jane Shellum

The Mayo clinic employs several Agile techniques on their projects. They started by focusing on what it took to deliver value, used some (not all) Agile concepts, and built a "dream team" that would fill the Agile roles needed to ensure the project would move smoothly. 

The roles they created included: 
  1. Solution Architect 
  2. Business Architect 
  3. Application Architect 
  4. Data Architect 

"If what I have in the end is a shelf full of documents and no software - I have failed." - Janet Bartz

What is interesting about their experience is that even though their project is Agile, there are still remnants of the old waterfall method that are still necessary. Going Agile doesn't mean drop (all) the old ways of doing things! 

What was also nice was a section on things that they are aware of that need improvement:
  • Technical debt reduction
  • Keeping technical architecture in mind
  • Some Keepers and Kudos from Janet and Jane include:
  • Adherence to fixed iteration schedule
  • Poster-sized schedule of features and sequence
  • Commitment to quality and testing early
  • Inclusion of senior software QA engineer from the beginning

In summary, the business and IT partnership is critical. Don't forget the basics of open, honest and transparent communication with leaders and teams, embrace change but manage it, recognize accomplishment, and finally, be Agile, lean, and in-control.

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