So you think you know what Agile and DevOps is? Last Friday, we had an incredibly engaging discussion surrounding this topic. A huge thank you to Sayeed Reza, Senior Director, Product Engineering, Data Analytics and Solution at Optum for leading this intriguing roundtable. Also, thank you to RBC Wealth Management for hosting our group. Here we have laid out the main questions that we’re discussed. 

What many people may not know, is that Agile has been around for over 20 years. In 1986 the “Rugby Approach” was introduced to the world. The sport of Rugby has many similarities when it comes to Scrum and Agile. Our group speculated that these concepts we’re built and possibly originated from the sport itself. A few similarities between the two include the number of members on a team, each person having a specific role, flexibility, and willingness to change. 

If Agile has been around for so long, then why are organizations having such a difficult time getting it right? One challenge that leaders may face is getting the right people that know how to do Agile properly, which leads to further understanding the Agile Manifesto and having an Agile Mindset (slide 12). 

Sayeed shared with the group the 12 principles behind the Agile Manifesto. What seemed to strike a chord with the group, was slide 11. Thank you to Sayeed for highlighting the words that truly stood out. It gave everyone a chance to step back and realize how important concepts like trust, simplicity, and frequency truly matter when implementing an Agile approach.  

As leaders and managers, how can we help our scrum teams be successful? First things first, if a leader is too involved, they can end up being more of a distraction instead of helping. This can be extremely difficult for leaders to be more hands off. They have to build an exponential level of trust within their team. For trust and credibility to be built, the team and their manager must be transparent.  

What is the perfect size scrum team? For Sayeed, its four DevOps, one Scrum, and one Product Owner. Dan Abdul, VP Data Strategic Platforms and Initiatives at Optum compared a Scum team to a team to a military team. Stating that all the best teams in the military have no more than eight people. The reason being that if you get more individuals than that, communication will get lost. As a group, it was determined that six to eight team members is the sweet spot.  

With the short amount of time we had left, we touched on DevOps. Our two key takeaways for this included that DevOps is a practice, not a process whereas Agile is an enabler.  If you were unable to attend this meeting, you can find the slide deck, here. Please be on the lookout for our next Think IT Roundtable surrounding the hot topic of Agile and DevOps!