In this article, we illustrate how the tools of the ZDLC framework are employed in an Agile software delivery mode to achieve precision and acceleration in delivering software artefacts. We consider Daikibo, which is Cognizant’s methodology of executing agile.
Background on Daikibo℠
Daikibo℠ is a combination of Scrum, Kanban, and XP frameworks, and supports both the Agile and Lean principles. Daikibo proposes techniques to go beyond the classical approach of typical agile – scrum approach so that efficiency and productivity of the development life cycle are maximised. In orthodox Agile-Scrum approach, there exist one self-organizing, cross-functional team writing stories, designing solution models, developing codes, testing, and producing functionality in each sprint. Daikibo makes this process work for distributed teams geographical dispersed around the globe. The “Hybrid” Daikibo℠ Agile approach separates the cross-functional teams and bifurcated responsibilities (a producer-consumer model) operating in an incremental-iterative pipeline approach, following the defined Agile principles. A simple 3 tiered process model binds Daikibo together:
- A Concept Team is devised to manage the story production and generation
- The stories are consumed by the Delivery Team – story consumption
- And finally the developed software is validated by the Validation Team – story validation
The Daikibo Pipeline Approach
The concept teams produce stories in the leading sprint. Near the end of the leading sprint, the delivery teams evaluate the stories and provide effort estimates in points. The concept teams use the effort estimates to tweak the priorities of the stories.
The the delivery teams have a sprint planning session on the first day of the new sprint. They review the prioritized stories and commit to completing a number of them. The concept team starts to produce the next set of stories.
After the stories have been tested and accepted by the story owners, the new functionality is demonstrated. In the following sprint, the system integration testing group performs more tests and validates the integration with other systems.
Daikibo, in Japanese, means large scale which correctly sumarises the vision of Cognizant to lead the way in Agile development towards building a scalable and distributed agile approach but with strong Location Transparency. In order to achieve this vision, we are required to formulate a cohesive collaborative model of work which is essential to achieve Flow, one of the Lean principle. The collaborative model is depicted in the following interactive model overview.
The fundamental element to ensure flow within the conversational dynamics is to focus on the Critical Path. Consider the diagram aforementioned. The red line represents the critical path and the flow of information for the project, vis-à-vis pigs and chickens. The Governing Committees – (at the top) provide oversight over the scope, the functional and technical aspects of the project, and the Agile/Scrum process. The Supporting Groups – (at the bottom) identify existing content and manage the loading of copy into the new site; manage the integration with back end and 3rd party systems, oversee the architecture of the site, and plan and build the infrastructure to support the project.
Breaking the Threshold
However, what has been observed is: it is vital to have the correct governance model in place which is supported by the people engaged on the development life cycle so that quality is continuously achieved. Yet, there is always a threshold, or a limit to how much quality and acceleration can be yielded by the people who are following a series of guidelines and best practices within a defined organisational framework.
In order to break the threshold and increase the point at which the Law of diminishing return kicks in, one needs to seek for innovative and breakthrough solution, and when coupled with existing governance model and processes(e.g. Daikibo), will draw a new normal. In our story we talk about the introduction of automation and formal validation, which we believe augment the capability of the process towards this new normal. And this solution, we call it the Zero Deviation Life Cycle (ZDLC). This story is about Daikibo℠ and ZDLC. Follow us on our next article entitled Daikibo, a Cognizant Agile Production, with ZDLC (2/2) where we shall tell you about this story and demonstrate how ZDLC together with Daikibo℠ change the world of distributed Agile.