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Three Takeaways from the RallyOn 2014 Agile Conference

Three Takeaways from the RallyOn 2014 Agile Conference
Where Are You Today? Where Are You Headed?
Where Are You Today? Where Are You Headed?

Last week at the RallyOn annual user conference I presented Unlocking Business Agility in Multi-Methodology Environments, describing the challenges faced by organizations that rely on a mix of traditional and agile execution, and how Planview’s partnership with Rally can help with those challenges.  On my plane ride to DC, I imagined the response to this thirty minute treatise being somewhere on the scale of crickets to “cool story, bro”.  Fortunately the audience was accommodating and graciously tolerated my crackly voice, shot from coaching my twin 9-year-old sons’ baseball team through the Texas State Championship tournament two days prior.  A few key observations from my session and the conference in general:

  1. Enterprises are very much still mixed-methodology – as expected, no one in the audience admitted to being 100% agile or 100% traditional / waterfall.  Most acknowledged being in the early stages of agile adoption, either piloting the methodology on a small number of projects or within one or two departments, but aspiring to expand over time.
  2. Executive involvement remains an enigma – regaled amongst the expected sessions unveiling new features and functionality were tales of starts, restarts, re-restarts and triumphant Agile success from customers and practitioners alike.  The common theme: calling upon executives to not just embrace agile, but to become advocates and enablers within their organizations.
  3. ELICFO (Explain It Like I’m a CFO) – during my presentation, I shared a story of my own personal experience with Agile at a prior company where our attempts to convey the monthly progress of our development projects using Agile metrics such as burndown charts, velocity and backlog resulted in a thirty-minute re-explanation of what these metrics meant to the C-levels in the room. The short story is that once we broke down and found a way to talk about time, resources, scope and cost, those meetings became significantly less painful and judging from the reaction from several folks in the audience, we were clearly not the only ones struggling with that cultural and vocabulary challenge. The good news is there’s now have a solution to this challenge. The integration between Planview Enterprise and Rally ALM combine information about Agile projects in Rally along with the other non-Agile projects in your organization – and display it all in traditional terms your executives will understand.

I’d like to hear from you. What steps is your organization taking to improve business agility in multi-methodology environments? And what were some of your top takeaways from RallyOn 2014?

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Jason Morio
Written By

In the span of his 20 year career in the technology space, Jason’s experience has run the gamut from roles in Fortune 1000 companies all the way to the “four dudes, a dog and a garage” level of startups. Jason isn’t just a spokesperson for project collaboration and the notion of “virtual teams”, he lived it in true fashion having run a software development group in Romania from his bedroom desk in Austin. He now works with several multi-faceted virtual teams that span between Austin, Stockholm and Bangalore in his current role at Planview, where he helps companies large and small to overcome the challenges they face with the ever-changing nature of collaborative projects. Twitter: @JMProjCollab