The Magic of Tiramisu: How Vertical Slicing Helps Agile Teams Deliver More Value

The success of an Agile transformation stems from three key areas: behaviors driven by an Agile mindset at all levels of an organization, adherence to frameworks, and a relentless pursuit to deliver value to the customer.

One of the more nuanced tactics I use to drive rapid, incremental delivery of value to customers is called vertical slicing.

Think of a development project like a tiramisu. Each vertical slice of tiramisu contains many decadent layers of flavors and varying textures. Each portion is delicious because the combination of layers is better than eating one layer at a time. To do so would reduce the value of the culinary experience.

Similarly, a large item on your product backlog can be sliced up into smaller pieces either horizontally (that is, so the work only relates to a single architectural layer) or vertically (so the work spans multiple architectural components).

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The Cost of Quality

Every organization thinks about the quality of the goods and services they produce. After all, their name is on the line. Not all companies, however, pay attention to the money they’re spending to reach that level of quality. On average, a company’s total cost of quality is equal to about 25% of their sales. Keep in mind this is only an average—some spend as much as 40-50%. These big spenders are the ones who can benefit most from tracking their cost of quality.

IT departments are increasingly responsible for not only the quality of internal IT services and projects, but also for customer-facing deliverables. Digital transformations are sweeping across businesses in all industries, heightening the need for IT leaders to understand, analyze, and track this key metric.

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Change Management: 3 Success Factors for Faster Buy-In

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IT organizations generally pride themselves on their ability to embrace change. Their project execution methodologies are built around an assumed ability to rapidly identify, respond, and adapt to change.

PMOs establish standardized development lifecycles and a comprehensive governance process for change management.

The Agile framework along with its variations and flavors acknowledge change as a fact of life. Rather than seeing change as a nuisance or a risk to be avoided, agile PM and SDLC models offer a specific methodology and tools to be successful in a shifting environment.

Even traditional waterfall approaches acknowledge the need for controlled governance related to change management. Standardized practices such as Lessons Learned, Post-Mortems, Issue Management, Continuous Improvement, or a formal Change Control process all revolve around the basic concepts for dealing with change:

  • know your current state or expected scenario
  • identify the deviation
  • evaluate the impact
  • define the future state or new scenario
  • make the change
  • analyze the results
  • repeat as necessary

These methodologies provide valuable, step-by-step instructions to practitioners.

But simply following the steps or implementing specific processes does not ensure buy-in throughout the organization. Beyond the methodology and processes, there are less tangible aspects which need to be addressed to produce the desired results.

Dissent is natural. Universal, undisputed acceptance is unlikely. Therefore, don’t expect everyone to just fall in line and be their usual, enthusiastic, productive selves in this new reality. There will surely be a few who push back on the change and are vocal about it.

But it’s a mistake to equate this resistance to not being “a team player.” Getting naysayers on your side will allow you to harness their outspokenness, channel their energy, and create a collaborative environment which will ultimately benefit the endeavour.

Fast buy-in for any endeavor, but especially for technology projects, depends on winning the hearts and minds of those most impacted by the change.

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10 ingredients of a successful UAT

10 Ingredients of a Successful User Acceptance Test (UAT)

The User Acceptance Test (UAT) is a critical component of any IT implementation. The goal of a UAT is to validate if a system or solution will meet the needs of business users in their operational environment.

The outcome of this phase sends the project down one of two paths. If all goes well, the project moves on to the Go Live phase. If it’s a flop, the project faces many challenges ahead, the Go Live timeframe is at risk, and the credibility of the project with the business may be tarnished. Obviously, the stakeholders want the UAT to go well. So how do you secure a win?

Let’s explore the 10 key ingredients of a successful UAT. We’ve seen this recipe work across a wide variety of IT projects.

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PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act)

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problems & managing changes. #ITManagement http://ctt.ec/B9nEc+

There are many models of quality improvement used today, from Total Quality Management to Continuous Quality Improvement to Lean Six Sigma. (Each business management consultant has their favorite…) But there’s one trial and error approach to quality improvement that could benefit every management team.

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QC, QA, and Cost of Quality

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@mpapov http://ctt.ec/dq0do+

Quality Is What the Customer Says It Is

All customers, regardless of industry or market, internal or external to an organization, want quality. Quality is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge. But what is quality? The best definition of quality I have seen is “fitness for purpose.” This works everywhere from a business setting to a family meal.

No matter what definition you use, the quality of a product or service is ultimately defined by the customer.

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