Happy 2nd Agile Anniversary, Catalina

BabyYodaTwo years ago this month Catalina went full bore, head first into Agile, applying the Scrum methodology, to deliver and execute on the top priorities of the company.  Now, two years later, we continue to embrace and uphold the Agile values and principles.

We’ve made it all the way to Sprint 53, but who’s counting?  In fact, you might think of us as Baby Yoda right now.  In the past two years, Catalina has delivered thousands of valuable stories to our stakeholders including retailers, CPGs, and corporate.  We continue to scale Agile up and across our enterprise.  And, we’ve got our senior leadership team applying Kanban at the portfolio level to manage Portfolio Epics as part of our Agile Portfolio Management process.

While we are at the end of our transformation, we are only at the beginning of our journey.  As we begin to roll (or shall we say sprint) into year 3 of our Agile journey, we continue to work towards being a truly Agile enterprise.  The cultural change to be an Agile enterprise is constantly a work in progress and the journey never really ends.  Each day, we just try to be a little more agile than we were the day before.


Sign the Petition! Save Babies from Hot Car Deaths

899A4334I’ve created a petition to prevent future hot car deaths by asking that child car seat manufacturers include an alert as a standard safety feature.  I need all the help I can get to SIGN and SHARE this petition to create a groundswell of social influence that can not be ignored.  It takes just a moment of your time and could save a life.  Please sign and share the petition here.


An Agile Survey & A Kind Ask

If you haven’t already completed the State of Agile in Tampa Bay survey, please do so here.  It takes less than 8 minutes (for real).  The results will be shared at a 2020 Tampa Bay Agile Meetup.

899A4334And now for a kind ask … I’ve created a petition to prevent future hot car deaths by asking that child car seat manufacturers include an alert as a standard safety feature.  I need all the help I can get to sign and share this petition to create a groundswell of social influence that can not be ignored.  It takes just a moment of your time and could save a life.  Please sign and share the petition here.


PoweredUP Tampa Bay Tech Summit: “Agile Portfolio Management at Catalina”

I have been asked (and somewhat unwittingly and reluctantly agreed) to speak at the upcoming poweredUP Tampa Bay Tech [virtual] Summit on the topic of “Agile Portfolio Management at Catalina“.

At scale, agile requires a well functioning portfolio management process to make the system truly hum. In agile, there is no one right way to do portfolio management. Take a tour of Catalina’s Agile Portfolio Management process to see from top to bottom how we manage priorities and make progress to deliver great value.

Those that know me well know that this must have been an extroverted moment for this introvert as it’s a rare occurrence that I’ll do a talk.  I’ll participate on panels all day but a stand up talk is different.   I guess I figured virtual and only 20 minutes, so why the hell not? Sign up here.

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Let’s Party at Agile Open Florida 2019

Join me and 300+ agilists from across the state of Florida and beyond for our 6th annual Agile Open Florida on Friday October 25th at Polk State College in Lakeland, FL.   Our theme this year is Livin’ La Vida Agile! Celebrating The Values & Principles.  This is a community celebration of all things agile and the values and principles that make us so. 

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Agile Open Florida will be facilitated using Open Space Technology (OST), with the ultimate goal being to connect, learn, and share. Using the Open Space Technology (OST) approach, Agile Open Florida encourages agile practitioners to self-organize around topics that are most important to them. Participants with common issues and interests share their experiences and learn from others. There is no preset agenda or presentations for the event, rather, sessions are created “live” by the participants at the start of the day.  In order to get the most out of this event, reflect on our theme and come prepared with topics that are of interest to you, either to learn more about or to share your experiences.

I look forward to seeing you there.  Let’s party!

For more information and to register, visit http://www.agileopenflorida.com and follow us on Twitter @AgileOpenFL 


Relative Value: Simplified Story Points for the Portfolio

22533434957_9d47ae9dc3_bAs I set out to establish the agile portfolio management process for Catalina, I searched for any new methods around how to best express value.  All I could find were complicated formulas or different variations of Value Points.  I wanted something simple for my diverse portfolio team, mostly leaders but from all over the world and from all sorts of backgrounds.  I wanted something that required no real knowledge of agile.  I was hoping to find something as simple as t-shirt sizes for Story Points.  I didn’t … so I invented a new method:  Relative Value.  Relative Value is to the portfolio what Story Points are to the work of the team.  In other words, Relative Value is basically analogous to Relative Effort for which Story Points are used.

After thinking through the concept of Relative Value, I knew I wanted to keep it simple.  That meant coming up with something so obvious that even your mom would get it (note: my mom is an agile practitioner, so of course she got it).  Inspired by the Periodic Table of Elements, here’s what I came up with:

  • Oxygen:  Without question must be done to keep the business alive.  Think compliance, essential infrastructure to run the business, or whatever will prevent a catastrophic loss to the business.  ​
  • Platinum:  The most valuable of all, but won’t be the downfall of the business if it doesn’t come to fruition.  Think competitive advantage, attracting new clients, or something for which clients are willing to pay.​
  • ​Gold:  The second most valuable of all.  Think improved customer usability, quality, time to market, or delivering on functionality frequently requested by customers.  ​
  • Silver:  The least valuable of all but still has value at the portfolio level.  Think more internal value vs external value.​

This Relative Value method has been in use all year and has served Catalina well.  Gone are the days of vague labels like high / medium / low or over-engineered scoring systems that only serve to confuse.  Now there is a clear understanding across the business of the value of our 200+ portfolio epics.  The main challenge with this method has been distinguishing Platinum from Gold.  Oxygen and Silver are quite obvious, but Platinum and Gold not so much.  Ultimately, you can defer to any revenue and savings ROI numbers that you have available to make a final call.

With Relative Value we are further able to simplify our Quarterly Portfolio Prioritization (QPP) process by creating discrete value buckets across our four rolling quarter plan for which to further stack rank (prioritize) the portfolio epics.  I’ll leave an overview of that process for a future blog post.

Tell me what value method is working for your portfolio or how this Relative Value method might work at your company.


Walk to End Hydrocephalus

Please join me and my family in supporting the Walk to End Hydrocephalus. Either walk with us or make a donation. Your donation will go towards someday ending Hydrocephalus. My baby has already had three brain surgeries and dozens of MRIs. People with this condition are known to have many brain surgeries over their lifetime. No more brain surgeries!

Source: 2018 St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay WALK: Stephanie Davis’s Personal Fundraising Page