David Consulting Group Ltd., Trading as DCG Software Value, Accepted as a G-Cloud 8 Supplier

DCG Software Value, a global provider of Function Point Analysis, software estimation, and Agile support services, has officially been accepted as a supplier for the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) G-Cloud framework, G-Cloud 8.

The G-Cloud framework aims to make it easier to procure information technology services via approved public sector organisations. Those interested can use the “Digital Marketplace” to search for services that are covered by the G-Cloud frameworks. Suppliers are carefully evaluated during the tender process and pre-agreed terms and conditions offer customers sound contractual safeguards. The agreement is fully EU compliant, saving customers the time and money associated with conducting their own procurement exercise.

The goal of DCG Software Value is to make software value visible to those both in IT and on the business side of the organisation. They have successfully helped a number of organisations in the UK to achieve such goals. The company will continue to work with public organisations via G-Cloud 8, helping to implement improvements that will make software development deliver value more cost effectively. 

The company’s available services include:

  • Functional Sizing
  • Vendor Estimate Validation and Estimation On Demand
  • Scaled Agile Framework
  • Training – Functional Sizing and/or Estimating
  • AgilityHealth Radar
  • Agile JumpStart

Public sector buyers are can find DCG’s services via the Digital Marketplace. More information about DCG Software Value is available here.

About DCG Software Value
DCG Software Value is a global provider of Function Point Analysis, software estimation, and Agile support services. Since 1994, companies of all sizes who depend on their software have relied on DCG to foster improved decision making and resource management and to quantifiably impact their bottom line. DCG maintains offices in Newcastle (UK), Philadelphia, and Colorado. DCG Software Value is the operating name of Objective Integrity, Inc., a Pennsylvania corporation.

For more information, visit www.softwarevalue.com.

About Crown Commercial Service
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) works with both departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. The CCS goal is to become the “go-to” place for expert commercial and procurement services.

For more information, visit www.gov.uk/ccs.

Written by Default at 05:00
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What Does An Agile Coach Deliver?

Tom CagleyI am an Agile Coach, and I'm often asked about the role that Agile Coaches play in an organization. On the most basic level, Agile Coaches help teams and organizations embrace Agile and help maximize the delivery of business value from development. We use terms like "enable" and "facilitate" to describe how we help organizations and teams transform. But what does an Agile Coach actually do? Well, it's a variable mix of activities that includes: consulting, cajoling, training, arbitration, and mentoring.

Consulting

Coaches sometimes act as consultants. A consultant will actively involve him or herself in the game. Sometimes an Agile Coach will have to actively participate in performing a task or activity so that the team can see the technique in action.

Cajoling

Coaches cajole, with gentle urging or coaxing, the team or organization to change behaviors that don’t live up to Agile principles and values. In many cases, this cajoling is underscored by the war stories a Coach can deliver about the trials and tribulations that will ensue if certain behaviors are not corrected. The experiential base is important for the Coach to be able to hold the moral (metaphorically speaking) high ground needed to persuade the team or organization.

Training

Coaches deliver training. Training comes in many shapes and sizes. Coaches will be able to deliver training on a just-in-time or ad-hoc basis based on their own observations of how work is being done.  The goal of ad-hoc training is to ensure that the team or teams understand how to apply specific techniques as they are applying them. I liken this to a form of just-in-time training, which leverages a principle from adult learning that holds that adults retain knowledge better when it can be immediately applied. This does not exclude leading and organizing training as part of the more formal organizational change program.

Arbitration

Coaches arbitrate conflicts and difficult decisions. Projects, whether to transform whole organizations or to implement a set of simple user reports, always include the need to make decisions. Coaches help organizations make decisions so that they can move forward with a minimal loss of inertia. Facilitation for an Agile organization is a skill that is part art and part science – think emotive negotiation (or as a friend of mine calls it “family counseling for teams”).  The best Coaches teach the team or organizations they are working with these skills.

Mentoring

Coaches mentor. A mentor is a trusted counselor who provides guidance, advice, and training, usually at an intimate (one-on-one) level. A mentor needs to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee, so that the transfer of guidance is safe and efficient.

So, when we say that an Agile Coach enables and facilitates, what that really means is that they  consult, cajole, train, arbitrate, and mentor. The art of being a good Coach is knowing what mix of these activities is appropriate for any specific situation. And, as many readers probably are aware, a good Agile Coach can make or break an Agile transformation.

Tom Cagley
VP of Consulting & Agile Practice Lead

Written by Tom Cagley at 05:00
Categories :

An Introduction to SAFe 4.0

SAFe 4.0 White PaperThe Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is a proven method for implementing Agile across an enterprise. Many organizations may use Agile for some of their teams, but they don’t know how to scale their implementations without losing the benefits. SAFe enables an organization to efficiently and effectively scale Agile.

DCG Software Value is a Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) certified partner, and we've helped a number of organizations successfully use SAFe. Of course, when introducing any new framework or concept, it's easy to get caught up in and confused by the details. We've all been there. 

Luckily, Scaled Agile, Inc., the governing body for the framework, has published a clear overview all about the latest version: "SAFe 4.0 Introduction: Overview of the Scaled Agile Framework for Lean Software and Systems Engineering." 

This white paper provides a high-level overview of the framework, including its values, principles, practices, and strategy for implementation. Here's how it may be of use to you:

  • Learn how to apply SAFe for enterprise-class Lean-Agile software and systems development.
  • Learn the basics of SAFe prior to taking a course (e.g. Implementing SAFe 4.0 with SPC4 certification, Leading SAFe 4.0, etc.).
  • Understand SAFe 4.0 in greater detail, especially for those who haven’t taken a 4.0 SAFe class.

Whether you're currently using SAFe, you plan to use it soon, or you're just curious about what it is, the white paper is worth your time. Check it out and let us know what you think - and if you have any questions!

Download Now

Written by Default at 05:00
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Agile and Test-Driven Development: A Path to Improved Software Quality

AgileTDD

Agile is growing in popularity - we all know this to be true. And honestly, we're happy about it. When implemented properly, Agile offers great benefits to organizations. However, even with those benefits, there is one major drawback to the framework: it does not offer a strict definition of testing. 

With no definition, it's up to the individual organization to decide how to proceed with testing. The problem with this is that most organizations tend not to prioritize testing the way that they should. Instead of early detection and prevention, they leave testing until the end of a project, or even the end of a sprint, so it's more time consuming and costly to address. 

The answer lies in Test-Driven Development (TDD). TDD naturally complements the Agile framework, and it directly leads to software that is higher in quality. It also increases communication between the developers and testers, and ultimately between IT and the business (who are writing the requirements). 

To learn more about what TDD is and how it can work in tandem with Agile, read our latest publication, "Test-Driven Development and Agile."

Questions? Comments? Let us know!

Download

 

Written by Default at 05:00
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Focused on One Goal: Business Value Delivery

Scrum Alliance

This past week, the Scrum Alliance published an article I wrote, “What is Productivity in Agile?.” Productivity can be a painstaking conversation for Agile teams, who are dedicated to following the principles in the Agile Manifesto, aimed at improving productivity, but they are often pulled in the opposite direction by management to achieve a higher velocity.

In my article, I discuss how everyone (IT and the business units) needs to focus on the same end goal – business value delivery. To do this, they must jointly define value metrics and ensure all team members, both in IT and the business side, understand those metrics and are held accountable for achieving them.

I have seen my clients successfully use metrics for Cost of Delay (CoD) and Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) to help prioritize their projects based on business value. I believe that having the IT team and business unit collaborate to create relative metrics in these two areas is a good starting point, but it is also critical that everyone is held accountable for improving value. 

Organizations need to put standard processes in place to ensure the appropriate parties (this includes the business unit) are involved in the entire software development process and that the metrics are not being decided on by one individual, such as the product owner. The business units may push back on being so involved in the process as they will expect the IT department to simply do what they have asked. However, if they realize that the collaboration with IT is more than just about efficiency, but also about enabling them to justify the expenditure to management, they may be less resistant to being involved in the process.

Check out the complete article on the Scrum Alliance website. I welcome your feedback on how your team prioritizes your projects.


Mike Harris
CEO

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00

"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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