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Topics: Agile, Organizational Project Management, Scrum
Agile for IT infrastructure projects
Network:1039



Anyone used Agile/Scrum to deliver IT infrastructure projects?
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Yes, we are currently delivering IT infrastructure projects in Agile. But they are purely infrastructure projects, not business projects with infrastructure stream/component. What exactly is your area of interest related to this?
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2 replies by Stelian ROMAN and anca stefanescu
Apr 13, 2019 2:16 AM
Stelian ROMAN
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Thank you Anca. I am interested what is classified as 'infrastructure project' and how Agile practices are used. And of course what is the benefit for the users.
Apr 15, 2019 2:46 AM
anca stefanescu
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Projects like the network equipments replacement, data encryption for critical apps, data back up center are considered by us infra projects. The inception sprints are used to form the team, identify the project vision, define technical strategy (including testing). Then we follow the sprint planning process. We do have a pre-release sprint to document the product, final assemblies etc. The main benefit was that the projects delivered at least partially usable products/results which helped us to improve overall activity. People started to communicate directly instead of using emails and assume decisions. The delivery terms also improved, not dramatically, but this is an ongoing objective.
Network:1438



Stelian -

Yes, but it depends on the scope of the project. If you are doing an infrastructure project which has to be delivered in a single "big bang" release, then you can certainly leverage agile values & principles and certain practices, but you won't be realizing business value early and regularly.

On the other hand, if you can phase in the deliverables, then sure!

Sprint duration may need to be adjusted from the common default of 2 weeks as certain activities may require longer. In some cases, a lean Kanban approach might be a better fit than a sprint-based one.

Kiron
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2 replies by Adrian Carlogea and Stelian ROMAN
Apr 13, 2019 2:18 AM
Stelian ROMAN
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Thank you Kiron. I personally don't classify phased delivery as Agile. Agile needs changes in scope and direct interaction with end users.
Apr 14, 2019 8:32 AM
Adrian Carlogea
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"[...] If you are doing an infrastructure project which has to be delivered in a single "big bang" release, then you can certainly leverage agile values & principles and certain practices, but you won't be realizing business value early and regularly. [...]"

It is not just IT infrastructure probably all software implementation projects deliver in a single "big bang" release and that's why agile is failing in most big projects.

When I am saying agile is failing I am not saying that the projects fail I am saying that those that are delivering pretend they are doing agile but in reality they are not. Many projects no matter the domain simply don't allow you to build in small iterations.

Usually what's left from agile is the managements of the user stories in a software. Sprints usually are kept too but they make no sense as they don't deliver anything to the customer.
Network:2251



Good question. I’d suspect there would be varying factors that would help determine the best approach for a given project/effort.
Network:231



I took over for a PM once who was going to be out of work for over a month. The only thing from Scrum they had were the daily Scrums. No Sprints, no retros, no planning meetings.

When she got back I asked about it because the project seemed perfect for an iterative approach and could have certainly benefited from retrospectives and structured planning. She apparently intended to bring Scrum in and use it but got no business support. No one wanted to try and look at it iteratively, they just wanted the work done and not think about it. So she had no business support and they just dumped new requirements on her all the time. In her words, it was a mess. A mess that probably could have been helped by a more formal and rigid Agile approach.
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1 reply by Stelian ROMAN
Apr 13, 2019 2:21 AM
Stelian ROMAN
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Thank you Joshua. Out of interest can you share the scope of the project? I am really interested to find out how the iterative approach is used in infrastructure projects.
Unlike in software, in hardware iterative means pure waste from the delivery point of view. Simple things like moving a blade in the chassis is waste, it doesn't add any value to the end user.
Network:1039



Apr 12, 2019 5:54 AM
Replying to anca stefanescu
...
Yes, we are currently delivering IT infrastructure projects in Agile. But they are purely infrastructure projects, not business projects with infrastructure stream/component. What exactly is your area of interest related to this?
Thank you Anca. I am interested what is classified as 'infrastructure project' and how Agile practices are used. And of course what is the benefit for the users.
Network:1039



Apr 12, 2019 8:04 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Stelian -

Yes, but it depends on the scope of the project. If you are doing an infrastructure project which has to be delivered in a single "big bang" release, then you can certainly leverage agile values & principles and certain practices, but you won't be realizing business value early and regularly.

On the other hand, if you can phase in the deliverables, then sure!

Sprint duration may need to be adjusted from the common default of 2 weeks as certain activities may require longer. In some cases, a lean Kanban approach might be a better fit than a sprint-based one.

Kiron
Thank you Kiron. I personally don't classify phased delivery as Agile. Agile needs changes in scope and direct interaction with end users.
Network:1039



Apr 12, 2019 12:07 PM
Replying to Joshua Render
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I took over for a PM once who was going to be out of work for over a month. The only thing from Scrum they had were the daily Scrums. No Sprints, no retros, no planning meetings.

When she got back I asked about it because the project seemed perfect for an iterative approach and could have certainly benefited from retrospectives and structured planning. She apparently intended to bring Scrum in and use it but got no business support. No one wanted to try and look at it iteratively, they just wanted the work done and not think about it. So she had no business support and they just dumped new requirements on her all the time. In her words, it was a mess. A mess that probably could have been helped by a more formal and rigid Agile approach.
Thank you Joshua. Out of interest can you share the scope of the project? I am really interested to find out how the iterative approach is used in infrastructure projects.
Unlike in software, in hardware iterative means pure waste from the delivery point of view. Simple things like moving a blade in the chassis is waste, it doesn't add any value to the end user.
Network:1821



We are using Scrum and we are using Agile practices with other life cycles.
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1 reply by Stelian ROMAN
Apr 16, 2019 5:45 AM
Stelian ROMAN
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Thank you Sergio. I am interested for what kind of infrastructure projects and if the Agile values/practices are observed.
Is there an increment that is delivered to end users after each Sprint?
Do you change the scope based on feedback from end users?
Do you build with very lite or no documentation?
Network:89



Apr 12, 2019 8:04 AM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
...
Stelian -

Yes, but it depends on the scope of the project. If you are doing an infrastructure project which has to be delivered in a single "big bang" release, then you can certainly leverage agile values & principles and certain practices, but you won't be realizing business value early and regularly.

On the other hand, if you can phase in the deliverables, then sure!

Sprint duration may need to be adjusted from the common default of 2 weeks as certain activities may require longer. In some cases, a lean Kanban approach might be a better fit than a sprint-based one.

Kiron
"[...] If you are doing an infrastructure project which has to be delivered in a single "big bang" release, then you can certainly leverage agile values & principles and certain practices, but you won't be realizing business value early and regularly. [...]"

It is not just IT infrastructure probably all software implementation projects deliver in a single "big bang" release and that's why agile is failing in most big projects.

When I am saying agile is failing I am not saying that the projects fail I am saying that those that are delivering pretend they are doing agile but in reality they are not. Many projects no matter the domain simply don't allow you to build in small iterations.

Usually what's left from agile is the managements of the user stories in a software. Sprints usually are kept too but they make no sense as they don't deliver anything to the customer.
...
2 replies by Sergio Luis Conte and Stelian ROMAN
Apr 14, 2019 9:16 AM
Sergio Luis Conte
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Adrian, please let me some comment. Agile is not about to use a framework (Scrum) or a method. Agile is not about to user user stories. You can use what best fits. Unfortunatelly (and I am not write the following because your comment) people do not know about Scrum, just to take an example. There is no line into Scrum that said people have to use User Stories, Kanban, Story Point, etc. So, when people take the Scrum Guide will find that the frameworkd can be filled with any tool and technique that best fit for the initiative. That is because in my actual work place we are selected to use Scrum for IT and infraestructure projects. In fact, we are in the process to implement SAFe and DevOps.And here is where I am fully aligned with your comment regarding the need to have the organization ready before to use Agile into any initiative. That´s something I can not make people understand when I was part of the group that have decided the strategy in my actual work place. Now, I am in charge of it. God Sava Me....hehehehehe
Apr 16, 2019 5:43 AM
Stelian ROMAN
...
Thank you Adrian. You describe similar situations with the ones that I experienced and why I asked this situation. Forcing the team to have daily stand-ups, planning and retrospectives every couple of weeks when the scope doesn't change and nothing is delivered to the users is a nonsense and an "Agile" transformation to impress a senior executive.
If after 30 'sprints' you run a one month regression testing and then have a single release in production for the project that's not Agile. I managed quarterly releases in 2005 and the process was in place for at least 10 years. We never pretended that we do Agile because it was a standard ITIL Release Management process.
The size of the iteration is not important, although sprints longer than one month is a clear sign that you better use a planned approach. In my opinion if you are really using Agile then each iteration should deliver something to the end users. The famous shippable increment.
Network:1821



Apr 14, 2019 8:32 AM
Replying to Adrian Carlogea
...
"[...] If you are doing an infrastructure project which has to be delivered in a single "big bang" release, then you can certainly leverage agile values & principles and certain practices, but you won't be realizing business value early and regularly. [...]"

It is not just IT infrastructure probably all software implementation projects deliver in a single "big bang" release and that's why agile is failing in most big projects.

When I am saying agile is failing I am not saying that the projects fail I am saying that those that are delivering pretend they are doing agile but in reality they are not. Many projects no matter the domain simply don't allow you to build in small iterations.

Usually what's left from agile is the managements of the user stories in a software. Sprints usually are kept too but they make no sense as they don't deliver anything to the customer.
Adrian, please let me some comment. Agile is not about to use a framework (Scrum) or a method. Agile is not about to user user stories. You can use what best fits. Unfortunatelly (and I am not write the following because your comment) people do not know about Scrum, just to take an example. There is no line into Scrum that said people have to use User Stories, Kanban, Story Point, etc. So, when people take the Scrum Guide will find that the frameworkd can be filled with any tool and technique that best fit for the initiative. That is because in my actual work place we are selected to use Scrum for IT and infraestructure projects. In fact, we are in the process to implement SAFe and DevOps.And here is where I am fully aligned with your comment regarding the need to have the organization ready before to use Agile into any initiative. That´s something I can not make people understand when I was part of the group that have decided the strategy in my actual work place. Now, I am in charge of it. God Sava Me....hehehehehe
...
1 reply by PATANJALI SASTRY ORUGANTI
Apr 16, 2019 11:21 AM
PATANJALI SASTRY ORUGANTI
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Hello Sergio Luis Conte,

I am trying to understand how Scrum fits in for Infrastructure projects. I delivered software development projects using the Scrum framework. But how can we use it for infrastructure projects.

I presume Kanban can still be used for an infrastructure project.


Regards

O.Patanjali Sastry
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