The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) by Scaled Agile, Inc. helps leading businesses develop and implement a framework for Agile delivery. The SAFe framework has four core values of transparency, alignment, respect for people and relentless improvement. In this article, we will focus on how resource capacity planning helps create a foundation to achieve alignment in Agile delivery. Scaled Agile compares business alignment to vehicles. “Like cars out of alignment, misaligned companies can develop serious problems. They are hard to steer and don’t respond well to changes in direction.” In an Agile delivery environment, decisions are decentralized to deliver value in the shortest amount of time. When decisions create misalignment, there can be delays in work and quality. The solution is to provide clear, consistent alignment from the top of the business through every level.
The challenge with aligning a portfolio occurs when new work is introduced in a meaningful way, whether it be new work added to your portfolio or delaying work already in process. To address the alignment challenge, a business must examine the issue from a resource availability and concurrency limit standpoint – do you have enough people to do the work? Additionally, a business must consider the interrelated tradeoffs for all other lean portfolio management (LPM) guardrails:
- Financials: What will be the financial impact of this new work?
- Strategic Work Mix: How does this new work affect my strategic work mix?
- Delivery Priorities: What did I commit to my governance organization that I would deliver various products over certain planning horizons, and other prior delivery commitments I made?
- Interdependencies: What is going to be pushed that is affecting work already in progress?
When executing a portfolio of work, whether it is strictly Agile, hybrid or waterfall delivery, when you get inside the planning interval (PI) boundary (in Agile) or within 90 days of a project, you should have fixed forecasts, and know which specific resources (actually knowing the name of the individual, not which team) will be helping you deliver your strategy. It’s in that period that you are doing task management. The challenge of alignment, and the need for resource planning, comes in the future work and planning. In future PIs, there is flexibility in your resources and forecasts. Responding to change instead of following a plan does not mean you don’t have a plan. Responding to change means that you have a plan that is flexible and fluid, and that resources are not committed until the PI boundary hits. When you are looking at future PIs, you need to make sure that teams at a program level are aligned with portfolio, project, and epic execution, and with enough lead time and in a way that executives and business leaders can implement the strategy without interruption.
Tempus Resource has several tools to help achieve alignment when executing capacity planning with an Agile methodology. Check out this video to learn more about each of these views in Tempus Resource.
- With Tempus’s advanced allocation user interface, Release Train Engineers can look across portfolio work to see who is over-allocated by individual and by team.
- When using custom views in Tempus, Program Managers can look at work in the backlog state to know what type of work type it is, and whether future projects are aligned and whether assigned teammates may be over-allocated on other future commitments.
- Similarly, Portfolio Managers can tie projects back to strategic business themes and can see which parts of the company are supporting the work and what they cost, especially for portfolio budgeting.
- Using Tempus What-If models, Portfolio Managers can easily update allocations and sizing in a real-time environment. Additionally, they can tweak future portfolio delivery to mitigate delivery risks. This dynamic modeling allows portfolio planners to make a model and experiment with what might need to move to introduce new work or a new product.
ProSymmetry, a global leader in resource portfolio management and makers of the purpose-built resource management solution Tempus Resource, has been named a Scaled Agile Platform Partner by Scaled Agile, Inc. Companies who are Scaled Agile Platform Partners have organizational expertise in delivering the Scaled Agile Framework® products and services to help customers improve business agility. Tempus brings full transparency to how resource capacity aligns with strategic delivery across an entire portfolio. Tempus enables users to leverage the best practices of SAFe® capacity planning to accelerate portfolio value flow.
Resource planners can learn more about how capacity planning creates actionable scaled Agile transparency, and how Tempus can help with Agile delivery at www.youtube.com/prosymmetry. Additional reading on why resource management is important in Agile methodology can be found at https://www.prosymmetry.com/resources/why-resource-management-is-important-in-agile-methodology/.
ProSymmetry, a global leader in resource portfolio management, provides resource management solutions to large enterprises including many Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies with its proprietary platform Tempus Resource. Tempus Resource, recently named in the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Adaptive Project Management and Reporting, is a purpose-built resource forecasting and capacity planning solution for strategic business decisions. With capabilities including bulk resource forecasting, skills and talent management, portfolio and resource capacity reporting and interactive scenario planning and what-if analysis, Tempus gives organizations actionable intelligence and cutting-edge analytics.