In fast-moving industries, it is crucial to beat longstanding challenges to build on emerging opportunities in an evolving marketplace. Whether it is to be compliant with regulatory requirements, to accelerate market adoption, or to transform your IT landscape with a DX process that will enable you to deliver applications faster with less effort. The reality, however, is that standard approaches sometimes reveal insufficient, preventing companies from achieving their business goals in time.
We are all aware of the different COVID-19 pandemic scenarios. The outbreak has massively driven people, organizations, and governments to embrace digital transformation, while we try to cope with the disruptions it caused to our lives, societies and businesses.
Organizations that were ahead of their digital efforts reaped the benefits of their investment. They already had the experience, capability, processes, and systems in place that potentiated the rapid shift to more digital and remote ways of working, learning, collaborating, and so on.
But what is the price of success? According to Gartner “The transformation journey is taking large enterprises especially at least twice as long and costing twice as much as they originally anticipated”. High-Pace, as an Agile scaled solution for Low-Code, may help transform your IT landscape in months, instead of years. Let’s have a closer look at High-Pace and see if it is the right agile solution for your business.
What is High-Pace?
High-pace is a delivery model where multiple teams work together to deliver a single cohesive solution, parallelizing delivery while having the teams synchronized on the vision and goals for the project.
But what is exactly High-Pace and how does it map with a full-fledged team? In a nutshell, there are some key considerations to have in mind in any Engagement with this set-up:
- It should be seen as a unique project with multiple teams
- The system may be broken down into “Loosely coupled, highly cohesive” modules
- Teams should be split between the different modules (e.g Backbone and Business Logic)
- The stream focusing on the backbone artifacts such as the data Model, integrations, microservices is the Core team, and its functional and technical leads act as a pivot between the different streams
- The teams may share some of the roles, such as UX Designers, front-end developers, or testers
When should you adopt High-Pace?
If you have several applications sharing a common backbone – This approach can reach its full potential when you’re able to re-use services from your core business modules that support your end-user modules. Bring technical expertise to better support you in understanding if this is the right way to go.
If you need to connect multiple teams who need to work together to deliver complex solutions – If your challenge is to have multiple Business Units that need to cooperate to meet a common Business Goal.
Commitments need to be done both ways. Be prepared to respond to this engagement with cross-functional teams, bringing expertise from different business units and availability to respond to a demanding Backlog.
- Engagements must have an explicit leader – Be clear about the communication channels and set them in stone. Someone acting as the primary liaison, as the Product Owner, should be well informed about targets, expectations, and needs to create a productive relationship with the different stakeholders. This will help the multi-stream team to reach its full potential.
- Conducting periodic backlog reviews is needed – In complex scenarios, where the amount of information and decisions to be made grows exponentially, it gets harder to manage and prioritize. The Backlog needs to be constantly monitored and challenged, to avoid capital loss (time and money) by rework or scope creep.
- Be prepared to respond to a high pace approach – Your teams’ availability is crucial. In any type of communication, the round-trip delay or the amount of time it takes for a communication to be sent, plus the amount of time it takes for an acknowledgment or response, has a direct impact on the team’s activities. The lack of information makes them also lose focus on their current activities and spend time in content switching, whereas they should be spending it on creating value for your business.
- Be able to distribute the features to the different owners/stakeholders in a cross-functional context – Avoid being overwhelmed by the amount of information you’re dealing with, know well your decision-makers, and prepare them for the job. Build a vision, know your needs, and set clear business goals that will help you to make better decisions in a shorter time.
Don’t worry, we’ve been there!
We know that everything comes at a cost, we are prepared to face the hurdles and put in place a scaled structure that knows how to respond effectively to the challenges posed by a High-Pace approach:
- Establishing scaled agile routines- Despite the lower number of communication channels towards independent teams, ceremonies need to happen at a different pace and periodicity. Adding to the usual scrum or refinement sessions, sync sessions needs to happen within the sprints to ensure alignment between the streams
- Adapting management roles to a scaled structure – Both technical and functional overseeing roles need to ensure perfect harmony between the different teams, to prevent unnecessary friction resulting from technical or functional misalignments.
- Managing communication pathways – In any context, communication pathways grow exponentially with team sizes. It is vital to prevent the creation of unnecessary communication channels, which may result in ambiguous information that can mislead the teams. Functional and Technical pivot elements from the core team should act as the liaison between the different streams, ensuring that the right people are getting the right communication at the right time.
- Managing dependencies between teams – The fewer dependencies we have, the fewer blockers we find. Solution Architects play an essential role in this process, by clearly separating the several Application Layers, with a clear and well-defined Backbone that will cross-sectionally serve every logical component of the system.
- Balancing skills across the different streams – Backlog needs to be proportional, resources balanced, and the right skills must exist between the different teams. To make that happen, additional effort needs to be made in the capacity planning.
Could High-Pace be achieved with traditional application platforms?
Yes and no. SAFe patterns can be applied to traditional platforms, but modern application platforms leveraging low-code will boost the results.
- With low-code, you will be delivering a lot more in the same amount of time. Notice that you’ll be asking a lot from the business which will have to dedicate a significant amount of time with the project team, mobilizing all the resources required for the project. It is only fair that that extra effort is rewarded with a staggering amount of delivery. That can only be achieved with low code. And that is the way to keep the business engaged: show the amazing amount of delivery that can be achieved
- With traditional platforms a significant portion of the effort will be consumed in infra-structure: things that are absolutely required to achieve the non-functional requirements (scalability, security, …) but that business stakeholders don’t see or understand. That effort is typically consumed upfront, at the beginning of the project. Modern Application Platforms will handle most of that for you, meaning that right from the beginning of the project you’ll have deliverables to show the business and ensure you don’t lose momentum and enthusiasm
During the Digital Transformation process, you need to assess your company’s digital business maturity and readiness for change, understand required critical capabilities and competencies, and be able to sell a compelling story to the organization.
Scale up your expectations and unveil new possibilities through the use of a High-Pace approach, embracing Digital Transformation as an exciting journey, not as a destination, and let us drive you and enable you to do the same by yourself.