To truly succeed in Lean Discovery and Agile Delivery practices and techniques, an organization must adopt an Agile and DevOps mindset. This is more than technical practices to automate our deployments. This requires a culture change aligned with Agile values and principles. This culture change is about focusing on continuously delivering high value working features on a frequent basis in a sustainable way with improved lead time, resilience and quality.
To start, we have to have an accountable product owner that comes from the business and is authorized and empowered to make prioritization decisions about the product or solution. This is a single person and not a committee. This person needs to have the bandwidth to interact with the team on a daily basis and provide the team with direction and guidance. This is the person that is ultimately accountable for the success or failure of the product so this cannot be a person picked at random or doing this on the side of their “real” job.
The team needs to be a small cross disciplined team. We have to break down silos and hand-offs between groups to avoid miscommunication and long feedback loops. The team is composed of team members with various skills such as business analysis, UX design, visual design, development, testing, and infrastructure, all working together as one team with a shared responsibility to deliver a working product or feature. The team is fully dedicated to this one product, works collaboratively helping other team members where appropriate irrespective of their primary skill set and avoiding the “it’s not my job” mentality.
In this fashion, we have the business (product owner) working together with the development team working together with operations all as one team, in constant communication with each other and focused on a single goal of delivering valuable software frequently. The team uses the practices discussed in Lean Discovery and Agile Delivery to work in short 2 week iterations with an incremental deliverable potentially in production at the end of each iteration.
Also check out the Lean Discovery, Agile Delivery, and DevOps Mindset presentation slides here as well as the entire Digital Service Delivery blog series: