View from the Enterprise


Software development still has a number of stages, steps, tools, platforms and just stuff that needs to be done. This is not getting simpler. In fact as the world of software progresses these things become more complicated through size and scale. We are using a number of tools that did not exist until recently as part of our ecosystems.

The Integration Hub

Along with this we still have a need to understand the state of play for our development and support operations. This state is represented in a number of different tools and processes and can be spread over organisations that number in the hundreds or larger. These projects are scaling and the agile world is also scaling. The questions of how to keep track of events in a way that is manageable and transparent reflects itself in the portfolio layer in the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®), Product Group in LeSS, as well as in DAD. VersionOne acts as an integration hub to bring all these different areas together as shown in the diagram below.









As an integration hub, VersionOne has access to information from tools which truly are across the lifecycle of software development. All of the information from this integration hub can be combined into reports which tell a complete and rich picture of the status of the software development story for any particular value stream or portfolio within the enterprise.

As part of requirements, we can use PPM tools to start programmes and projects with information about a number of main concerns such as:

  • Strategy and Investment Funding
  • Governance
  • Programme Management

And includes subjects such as:

  • Pipeline Management
  • Resource Management
  • Change Control
  • Financial Management
  • Risk Management

PPM often is the starting point for work in an enterprise. Work is at hand to make PPM better aligned to agile values, but that may take time. However starting with the big concerns of PPM and moving across the software development landscape we also see:

  • Enterprise Tools
    • Defect Management
    • Sales Knowledge
  • Requirements
    • NFRs
    • Needs
    • Detailed Acceptance Criteria
  • IDE
    • Checkins
    • TDD Results
  • Source Control
    • Checkins
    • Versions
    • Branches
  • CI (Build)
    • Build Numbers
    • Build Quality
    • Test Results
  • Test
    • BDD
    • Acceptance Tests
    • Test Automation Runs and Coverage
    • Test Pass/Fail (Not to be confused with Quality)
  • CD (Deploy)
    • Where is my build now dude
    • What is the status of my environments
  • Team Tools
    • Team Backlogs
    • Team Velocity
    • Burn Down for Current Sprint

The above is only an example of the information generated by each area of the programme. The challenge to enterprises is to see this at the enterprise level. Each tool provides a view into an aspect of the programme or project and as the diagram show can also share this view with VersionOne, sort of an aspect oriented view of the enterprise.

Analytics and the Data Mart

Information made available through the integrations is placed into the VersionOne data mart. This is available to all of the main tools provided such as:

  • Agile Reporting
  • Agile Analytics
  • Agile Visualisation
  • The Data Mart itself

The data mart is populated by data which can be sourced from VersionOne itself or from any of the connected integrations. Once we have access to all of the information shared through the integration hub, what then!

The agile reporting feature has a large number of standard reports that are all available for customization. The usual advice is to find one that is close to what you are looking for and customise a copy of this report. This allows a degree of access to the data held. But there is more!

The visualisations include the scorecard features that allow a fast and intuitive means for grasping the basic health of a programme with drill down capabilities as needed to explore in more detail. This solution provides a scrolling set of scorecards that allow a continuous monitoring of the portfolio to be presented. These can also be customised somewhat. Then what?

The analytics feature can provide a series of customised dashboards for reporting and situational awareness. These dashboards can be customised and user private dashboards can be maintained as desired. These dashboards access the data mart and are good for providing the awareness needed on a daily basis.

Within the analytics you can construct grid views of the data in that data mart, including data items that have been added through the integrations. These views can be exported as spread sheet data for consumption in other places.

In addition reporting features are available to create reports using data in the data mart. These reports can be shared by email in a number of formats such a PDF or Excel. This means that recipients of these reports do not consume VersionOne license counts. This ability to export using external formats is available throughout the Analytics feature.

If these features do not deliver what is needed then the data mart can be accessed by external tools including Business Objects, Crystal Reports, Actuate, Cognos or LogiXML.


VersionOne integrates a wide range of tools and platforms and creates the data mart from these platforms and data managed directly from VersionOne. This data mart can then be accessed by a wide range of tools provided through the VersionOne data mart.

This approach allows an enterprise to exploit the fact that the most complete set of data for its development organisation is in the VersionOne integration hub. The value in this data is through the information that can be derived and shared from it, while supporting decision making throughout the enterprise from board to team.

About the Author

versionone-coaches-mike-carew-150x150Mike Carew
SAFe Program Consultant, Chartered Engineer, IC Agile Certified Professional

Mike Carew is focused on helping European organizations adopt the VersionOne platform on their agile journeys. Mike has been involved in every aspect of software business including support, development, operations, management and services. At HP he established the EMEA agile practice. Mike has coached teams and corporations from the FTSE 100, non-listed and government. He brings a pragmatic approach to coaching since he sees that there is no such thing as a one size fits all.

Scaled Agile Framework and SAFe are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.

Posted in Agile Champion, agile development, Developer, Platform, Product Owner, Program Manager, Project Manager, QA Tester, Roles, ScrumMaster, ScrumMaster | Leave a comment

TeamSync: Building a Bridge Between Dev & Product Management










In today’s face-paced environment where time-to-market is critical, portfolio and program managers recognize that they need to evolve – that they need better visibility, greater strategic alignment, and improved high-level planning and progress management. But many enterprises have not successfully provided these capabilities because doing so would require introducing new tools and processes, thereby disrupting their development teams.

So how do you provide executives, program managers, and product managers better visibility, greater strategic alignment, and improved high-level planning and progress management without disrupting the development teams? You adapt and coexist.

Adapt and Coexist

You adapt by accepting that teams often work better when they are empowered to leverage the tools that best meet their needs. As an organization, it may be in your best interest to align with your development teams and let them keep using the tools they are most comfortable using.

That being said, you still need to understand and manage the work that the teams are doing across your organization, and do so in the tools that best meet your needs, so you have to coexist.

You can coexist by building a bridge between leadership and development, letting your development teams use the tools with which they are most efficient, while at the same time using your enterprise agile platform tools to pull in the data from these teams, roll it up, and provide everything you need to effectively manage your enterprise portfolio.

Building the Bridge

Building this bridge between the tools development teams are using and the visibility that portfolio and program managers need doesn’t have to be difficult. VersionOne is introducing a new type of integration tool called TeamSync™. TeamSync provides portfolio and program managers with visibility into the work that their teams are doing without disrupting the teams’ current agile tooling and processes.

TeamSync is designed from the ground up to allow VersionOne to coexist with other agile team tools while providing accurate and near-time roll-up of the features on which the agile teams are working, including their backlog items, estimates, status, and effort. With TeamSync, agile teams can continue to use VersionOne or Atlassian® JIRA® at the team level allowing that information to seamlessly flows up to the Enterprise, Portfolio, and Program levels in the VersionOne Enterprise Agile Platform.

Find out more about how TeamSync can help you gain the visibility and insight you need to make better decisions and understand progress with minimal disruption to your development teams.

VersionOne is a registered trademark and TeamSync is a trademark of VersionOne, Inc.
Atlassian and JIRA are registered trademarks of Atlassian.

Posted in Release Announcements | 1 Comment

Budgeting in an Agile World

Agile Budgeting-01








Agile budgeting can be a blasphemous term. It’s not uncommon when the subject of budgeting is brought up to hear “We’re agile. We don’t need budgets.”

While it may be true that an agile team itself doesn’t need budgets, it is almost certainly true that the company housing that agile team does. Businesses need to understand, project and in many cases contain costs. Budgeting provides the mechanism to do that.

Agile Budgeting

Traditional software development approaches budgeting at the project level. Each project up for consideration must have a defined cost, benefits and the all-important ROI. The projects are approved based on the ROI or some combination of factors (hopefully *not* including “Who has the loudest voice?”) and the projected cost is turned into the approved budget for that project. ‘Resources’ are amassed and the project work begins.

Many organizations have leveraged agile to ease that process. A nice simple agile approach means one does know the ongoing costs of the development team(s). By feeding in a stream of prioritized initiatives or features to stable teams, the overall costs are well-known. It’s just the per-initiative or per-feature cost that may be less well-known (and many an agilist would say that is rightly so).

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) recognizes some of the inherent issues with project-based budgeting and proposes an improved form of budgeting at the Portfolio level (far away from individual agile teams, mind you).The SAFe approach essentially allocates funding to various Agile Release Trains (ART’s) to allow for budgeting at the high level while leaving feature decisions in the hands of those who are most knowledgeable about the value and priority of the options. It also describes the potential for assigning budgets to specific portfolio items that might reach out across ART’s and Programs.

When we interviewed customers about their current and desired budgeting practices with respect to product development, we found one consistent theme: variety abounds. We found those who espouse the approached learned from their SAFe training. We found those who practice old-school project-based budgeting. And we found those who would prefer to utilize strategic themes as a means to budget development capacity. Budgeting clearly remains a practice with quite a bit of inherent variety so a solution for it must be adaptive.

In the Summer 2015 Release, VersionOne takes an initial step towards supporting budgeting within product development with the introduction of Enterprise Budgeting. This new capability is not so much a means to replace the financial people and systems, but as a mechanism to bring the budgets closer to the development organization’s world. This allows quicker cycles in planning and quicker decisions when options must be weighed. As the variety of current market practices indicate, this is an area that is sure to continue its evolution.

Scaled Agile Framework and SAFe are registered trademarks of Scaled Agile, Inc.

Posted in Agile Champion, agile project management, Product Owner, Program Manager, Project Manager, Release Announcements, Reporting & Analytics, Scaled Agile Framework, ScrumMaster | Leave a comment