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Lifecycles: How to Organize Your Program to Reduce Risk, Release Often, and Build Trust

Lifecycles: How to Organize Your Program to Reduce Risk, Release Often, and Build Trust

Your product requires several teams working together to create the final deliverable—a program. If you’ve ever worked on a program, you probably experienced times when one team needed to access work that another team had not yet completed. And if you tried to contort a waterfall approach, you might have wondered if you could ever ship this product. You can avoid those problems when you consider which lifecycle to use and when.

In this talk, Johanna will discuss the various lifecycles: serial, iterative, incremental, combinations, and agile. And she’ll explain how you can create your lifecycle, which will fit your product’s risk profile and release needs. The more often you can release, even internally, the more you can lower your risk. And you’ll build trust within the program and across the organization.

Johanna Rothman

April 20, 2023

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  1. Lifecycles: Organize Your Program to Reduce Risk, Release Often, &

    Build Trust Johanna Rothman @johannarothman www.jrothman.com Lifecycle book coming soon!
  2. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Problem • “Don’t I have

    a choice other than waterfall or agile?” • “We need to de fi ne our version of agile” • “Seems like agile has a lot of meetings and overhead. I just want to ship the product.” 2
  3. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman We can do better when

    we decide the lifecycle(s) we need for our purpose 3
  4. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Agenda • Lifecycle de fi

    nition • Risks (and why there are more than three) • Serial lifecycles • Iterative lifecycles • Incremental lifecycles • Combo lifecycles • Agile approaches (not just a lifecycle, but a cultural change) 4
  5. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman A lifecycle is an idealized

    approach to organizing a speci fi c effort 5
  6. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman All models are wrong, but

    some models are useful — George Box, 1976 6
  7. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Programs (and the projects in

    the programs) use lifecycles to manage risk 7
  8. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman All Programs & Projects Have

    Business Risks • Cost: Can we build this for the cost we anticipate? • Technical: can we build this? • Defects: will our customers take this? • Release: Can we release when we want? 9
  9. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Ask These Questions Before You

    Start the Program • Imagine this scenario • It’s three weeks before we’re supposed to release • We’re not done with all the features • We have too many defects • Ask your stakeholders/partners: What do you want to do? • How does your program balance discovery and delivery? 10
  10. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Use Serial Approach When You

    Have Zero Innovation • Waterfall, as long as the program duration is three months or less (my experience) • Phase-gate allows cancellation • Concurrent engineering gathers the cross-functional team, which can reduce risks 12
  11. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Serial Lifecycles • Examples: •

    Waterfall • Phase-gate • Concurrent Engineering • All focus on one delivery at the end • This image is how my orgs used waterfall back in the 70s 13
  12. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Money Waterfall Misconceptions • Can

    manage the money because we “ fi nish” the work (and capitalize the work as we go. We can’t.) • Capitalization only works when you deliver working product to a user • However, knowledge work is about learning as we proceed 14
  13. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Waterfall Realities • We often

    need feedback • One-delivery approaches work for very short projects 15
  14. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Iterative Approaches Manage Technical Risk

    • Iterative approaches solve one innovation problem at a time • Demos of prototypes • Sometimes offers deliveries (but that makes it an incremental approach, too) • Examples: Spiral, Evolutionary Prototyping 16
  15. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Iterative: Evolutionary Prototyping • Feedback

    for initial concept and each prototype • One delivery at the end 18
  16. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Incremental Approaches Manage Date/Cost Risk

    • Customer-based deliveries • Phase 1, Phase 2… • Release 1, Release 2… • Examples: • Staged Delivery • Design to Schedule 19
  17. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Incremental: Design to Schedule •

    Feedback after each completed feature • Optional releases 20
  18. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Incremental: Staged Delivery • Feedback

    after each completed feature • As many releases as you need 21
  19. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman You can add iterative and

    incremental approaches for a combination 22
  20. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Combo Lifecycles • Use iterative

    approach to create prototypes • Demo the prototypes • Timeboxes to manage other risks • Use incremental delivery to get customer feedback (in the 80s, this was alpha and beta) • We kept the code shippable every day 23
  21. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Agile Approaches Focus on the

    Team 25 “Watch the work, not the people” (More often used in fl ow approaches, but should be used in all agile approaches)
  22. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Agile Approaches • Iterate over

    requirements • Incremental delivery after each increment of work • Require cultural changes for team- based work ( fl ow-ef fi ciency thinking) 26
  23. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Programs require syncing during their

    duration (The more projects, the more frequent the synching) 27
  24. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Integrated System Program • Do

    you release the Platform of Common Services fi rst? • Iterate over features, deliver increments • Release everything as you build, one feature at a time? • Agile approach 28
  25. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Inter-Related Program 29 • Do

    you release the Platform of Common Services fi rst? • Iterate over features, deliver increments • Release everything as you build? • Agile approach
  26. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Program of Concurrent Projects •

    Relatively independent projects • Demo as desired • Any incremental or agile approach • Program requires projects sync for increments of delivery • Sync to deliver • Any incremental or agile approach 30
  27. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Review Your Program’s Risks •

    What matters most to your program for business risks? • Release date? • Finishing features? • Ensuring there are no new defects? • What innovation risks do you have? • Decide and you’re likely to succeed 31
  28. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Let’s Stay in Touch •

    The books: • Manage It!: https://www.jrothman.com/manageit • Create Your Successful Agile Project: https:// www.jrothman.com/cysap • Agile and Lean Program Management: https:// www.jrothman.com/alpm • Blog series: https://www.jrothman.com/lifecycle • Pragmatic Manager newsletter: www.jrothman.com/pragmaticmanager • Please link with me on LinkedIn • Look for the lifecycle book, soon… 32