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Dean Leffingwell is a consultant, entrepreneur, executive and technical author who provides product strategy and enterprise-level agility coaching to large software enterprises. From 2006-2007, Mr. Leffingwell was founder and CEO of consumer marketing identity company ProQuo, Inc. Mr. Leffingwell has also served as chief methodologist to Rally Software. Formerly, Mr. Leffingwell served as Vice President of Rational Software, now IBM’s Rational Division, where he was responsible for the Rational Unified Process. Leffingwell was also co-founder and CEO of Requisite, Inc., makers of RequisitePro for requirements management. Mr. Leffingwell has been a student, coach and author of contemporary software engineering and software development management practices throughout his career. His latest book, Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for the Large Enterprises was published by Addison-Wesley in 2007. He is also the lead author of the text Managing Software Requirements, First and Second Editions, also from Addison-Wesley. Dean has posted 3 posts at DZone. View Full User Profile

Agile Release Train: A Whitepaper

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Recently, I’ve been working with a  software enterprise helping them tune their agile process to better align the agile teams to the broader enterprise objectives. One particular subgroup has twelve agile teams, each of whom has a specific product mission in the marketplace. (Think “point products”). However, they must now also cooperate on building their application so that users of multiple products have additional utility based on integrations and extensions to the point products. (Think enhanced features for users of the new “business suite”). In passing, one executive commented that the teams reminded him a bit of the “Twelve Tribes of Israel, each wandering through the desert in search of their own piece of the promised land.”

This was reminiscent of my time at Rational Software, where after we had acquired a number of products (ex: RequisitePro, ClearCase) and built some new ones from scratch (ex: ClearQuest), our business problem moved from being point product focused to an emphasis on the suite (Rational Suite). Over a year or two, we were able to successfully address this problem by

  1. building a more effective, aggregate product management function, and
  2. implementing our version of an early Agile Release Train, which synchronized delivery of all products to the market under a common schedule and common installer.

When I started working with agile at scale in 2004-5 or so, I used that experience to further develop the principles of the Agile Release Train, which became the topic of Chapter 18: Systems of Systems and the Agile Release Train. I’ve depended on these principles and the adjunct, Release Planning, in virtually all my work at scale. But it also occurred to me that while the Agile Release Train is assumed in the Big Picture series, I hadn’t really called it, or its benefits, out as first class citizens in this blog. To remedy this, I’ve converted Chapter 18 to a free whitepaper in PDF format, which you can download from the link to your left, or from the resource page.

If you recognize the twelve tribes of Israel metaphor, (+/- your number of tribes of course!), you might find the whitepaper to be useful.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Dean Leffingwell. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



David Robs replied on Sun, 2009/04/05 - 8:06am

What kind of idiot uses phraes like:

      "to better align the agile teams to the broader enterprise objectives"

Management speak at its most vile!

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