Agile for IT Infrastructure

Last post 08:06 pm September 8, 2021
by Ian Mitchell
4 replies
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01:08 pm September 7, 2021

Hello All,

I would like to understand a bit more detail on how should we scale networking teams in agile?

Should be is small cross functional scrum teams serving a specific consumer group or should it be technology based( I know this is not recommended approach).

I understand that Infra is not the vanilla example of agile and scrum but any help is appreciated.

Please let me know if you need more clarification.

 

Thank you

07:51 pm September 7, 2021

I would like to understand a bit more detail on how should we scale networking teams in agile?

First try not to scale at all. It's better when small, self-managing teams resolve the challenges which face them. Only scale an approach when it is clear that the advantages will likely outweigh the headache of doing so.

Why do you see a need to scale, in your situation? What forces are driving this?

08:39 pm September 7, 2021

There are other choices other than "small, cross-functional team serving a specific consumer group" or "technology-based". I'd even argue that the correct answer is something else: teams based around specific products or services. It doesn't necessarily have to be a product in a traditional sense, but there is something that is designed, built. and maintained that provides value for others. These things are your products or services, and teams can be built up around those.

It's also not clear what "scaling" means. I've seen scaling to mean a few different things. In one sense, scaling is used to increase the number of teams supporting a single product or service. Sometimes, the customer demands for a particular product are too much for one team to keep up with, so it may make sense to add more cross-functional teams that work toward a unified goal for a product. In another sense, scaling may mean to extend lean-agile techniques and methods across a portfolio or business unit, perhaps to make it easier for employees to have mobility or to make the customer experience more consistent when dealing with groups that work under the same banner. You'd have to define what, exactly, scaling means to you.

12:40 pm September 8, 2021

Thanks Guys! To answer your question on what is the driving force for scaling. 

- There are two groups of network engineers serving multiple consumer groups so indeed the need for dedicated small groups. In current situation there is no process streamlined for incoming demands.

- Additionally sometimes we have dependencies on external platform teams which in turn delays the delivery. We would like to bring similar platform teams under same umbrella to give customers seamless experience when it comes to delivery.

 

Please feel free to ask for more clarifications if needed.

Thank you

 

08:06 pm September 8, 2021

The issues you describe don't seem to indicate a need for scaling. Rather, it sounds like certain organizational constraints have become apparent (impeded incoming demands, risk due to external dependencies).

My advice is to descale the challenges so cross-functional teams are better positioned to deliver increments of usable value. For example:

  • rethink the products and services which are actually owned, so incoming demands are handled more effectively in the respective value streams
  • rethink the skills each team needs to create Done work, so the external dependencies are actually resolved