Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Dealing with Waterfall Change Management

No development team can ever just decide to 'go agile'. They can adopt agile practices into development, but the full benefits of agile are realised when that adoption impacts the whole software development lifecycle.

For us, the main sticking point is change management. To get anything approved to even go to preproduction requires seven different approvers and 2 weeks lead-in time, only for the process to be repeated to get into production.

The way change management works affects the way we make our deliverables. From the end of the sprint to production, we have a 3 week lead time, contingent on everything going right. (The product owner makes the final decision whether we are going to production.)

But it also affects how we handle production issues. One thing that cropped up last sprint was a request to change how a screen behaved. Programmatically it needed to flip a boolean on a read-only field, but because of the time and effort to get that change in, multiple avoidable data fixes will accompany the next production release.

We know that there's no getting around this, so we adjust accordingly. It makes us less effective to respond to minor issues, but it's manageable for the day-to-day.

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