Jochen (Joe) Krebs Director Program Management AOL

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					                       Agile @ AOL
                       Jochen (Joe) Krebs
              Director / Program Management AOL

   Author
    —   Agile Portfolio Management
        (Microsoft-Press 2008)
    —   RUP Reference and Certification Guide
        (IBM Press 2007)
    —   Articles
   Instructor, Consultant, Mentor
   Speaker
   NYU, APLN NYC, PMP, CSM, CSP
Overview

   AOL
   Transformation
    1.   Organization
    2.   Initiatives
    3.   Challenges
   Lessons learned & insights
   Q&A
AOL Portfolio / Portal Fragmentation
Example




                             Standards
                                               Advertisement
               Feature
             Functionality
                                 Integration
                                  Example:
                                   Search




   Content
Vision
Before / Matrix & Waterfall / Command & Control

                      User
  Product             Experience   Technology   PM        Sales    Photo




Acquisitions



                                                     PM




                                                                  Matrix




               Functional
Departure from Waterfall

   Removed PRD
   Removed TRD
   Removed sign-off meetings

    Removed MS-Project

    Re-Defined the role of “project manager”
   Removed traditional PM metrics around phased-approach
    (e.g. 90% done)
   “Final” approval checklists
Goal –> Empowered & Self-Organized Teams

                                             Delivery
                                             Teams

                       Scrum
      Program          Master
      Manager




                                        QA



UI
Designer

                                User
                                Experience
           Software
           Developer
Delivery Teams and Stakeholders
                                                                          Delivery Team Boundary
                                                Scrum
                                                Master                    Product Team
    Product
                                                                          Program Management
    Owner




                        Sales                 QA

                                                                      UI
              Product             Program                             Designer
                                                         User
              Manager             Manager                Experience


                                            Software
                                            Developer
                        Finance
Channel-Based Approach

                         5 Total Training Days

                         • 2-day scrum training
                              • 1-day Sprint Planning
                              • 1-day retrospective
                              • 1-day sprint planning
                         • New employees will
                         receive internal or external
                         2-Scrum training
Geographical Distribution


                            London,
                             Dublin

              New York,
              Washington
                 D.C




                                      Bangalore
    Mexico
AOL Global Workforce



    8,000 employees world-wide

    1,000 employees AOL Programming
    —   Product
    —   Technology
    —   Editorial
    —   Photo
    —   User Experience
   Affecting ~2,500

    ~ 550 Scrum Masters within AOL

    25 Product Owners, 100 Acting Scrum Masters

    > 40-60 Projects in parallel
Knowledge Transfer


   AOL University – internal training and workshops
   Ongoing agile coaching (internal)
   Town hall meetings, lunch & learns
   Agile blog
   Conferences, local chapter events
Knowledge Transfer
Challenges

   Sprint planning
   Sprint length
   Trust
   Team empowerment

    Distributed development

    Estimation and metrics
   Morale
Challenge: Sprint Planning (User Experience –
Implementation) Delay



               Mock
               User-
             Experience               Implementation



                Sprint n           Sprint n+1



                                  • Sizing
                                  •Estimation
                                  •Planning
                                  •Task-Breakdown
Challenge: Sprint Length

    1-4 weeks
     —   Blog style site 1-2 weeks
     —   Larger teams iterate 3-4 weeks
    Occasional changes (team retrospectives)
 
     Short Sprint challenges
     —   Very small increments
     —   Vacation, holiday & sick days impact
     —   Requires sizing and sprint planning efficiency
     —   Impacts on morale (positive and negative)
    Long Sprint challenges
     —   Long sprint planning sessions
     —   Fewer retrospectives
Challenge: Trust

    Team members continued to “think” in silos
    Team members continued to “think” in phases
 
     Shaping the team boundary
 
     Existing reporting structures and agendas
    Corporate HR policies, conflicting goals
    Who is responsible for the project and outcome?
    Social role of team members
Challenge: Team Empowerment

    “Delivery team can do whatever is needed to achieve
     sprint goals”
 
     Curve balls from stakeholders
     —   Advertisement
     —   Custom-deals
     —   Changing priorities
    Protecting and respecting sprint boundaries
    Acknowledging estimates and commitments
Challenge: Distributed Development

    Time-difference
    Language
 
     Culture
 
     Team boundary
    Agile collaboration
    Distributed Knowledge Transfer (F2F/Video etc.)
    Rally Software as Integrator and Identifier
Challenge: Estimation and Metrics

    Estimation
     —   Method
          –   Limited Fibonacci
          –   T-Shirt
          – Planning poker
     —   Sizing vs. duration (task-breakdown)
    Metrics
     —   Average velocity
     —   Burn-Down vs. velocity (work vs. completion)
A-Team

   Internal reward and recognition system

    Three months of successful sprinting:
    —   Managing expectations
    —   Sharing velocity
    —   Demo
    —   Sharing experiences
   Multiple rewards available

    Not necessarily consecutive successful sprints
   Fun
   Team competition
   Increasing process maturity
Lessons learned & insights

   Highest frequency of feature releases

    Scrum Master / Delivery Team ratio (1:2 to 1:3)
   Product Management performs road mapping and
    competitive analysis
   Increase of product innovation
   Small vocabulary which translates up to executive
    management
   Agile provides focus

    Higher quality
   Decreased waste
   Increased morale
Contact




              Jochen Krebs
             www.AOL.com


          www.jochenkrebs.com
          mail@jochenkrebs.com
Q&A


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