HSD Adoption

Adoption of Holistic Software Development, or some of the practices or structures inside it, can be managed in a number of ways depending on the requirements of a specific organization, its current practices and constraints. We recommend adopting the principles and manifesto, rather than a step by step formal adoption, and using elements of  HSD to adopt itself, both to ensure return on investment and provide an example to the organization.

We recommend adoption from three points of view, which can be adopted in isolation but work best when adopted together:

  1. Top-down Strategic Adoption
  2. Middle-out Portfolio and Programme Adoption
  3. Bottom-up Team Adoption

Further refined by:

  1. Systemic analysis
  2. Establishing Continuous Improvement

Optionally, when a business is suffering problems:

  1. Assessment and Intervention

The core of HSD adoption is the creation of working, congruent feedback loops at every level of the business enabled by Integration StreamsReleasesRetrospectivesBubble Up and Go-See.

Adopting Holistic Software Development involves working with teams, managers and leaders on Day 1 of adoption. There’s no need to spend months assessing an organization before linking parts of it together. Our deeply experienced consultants and partners provide mentoring and coaching – they can rapidly adapt to existing structures and behaviors. All of our adoption practices are aligned to our Psychology-based Business Change techniques.

You don’t need us to adopt HSD but we, and our partners, will accelerate your adoption.

1. Top-down Strategic Direction

Adoption at this level starts with workshops, mentoring and establishment of support services for the Business Leadership to explain the nature of Holistic Software Development encompassing:

  • HSD for Business Leaders
  • Software Process Business Change
  • Establishing Pull
  • Strategic Direction
  • Governance
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Executive Reports
  • Business Feedback Loops

At this level there are three critical things to implement:

  1. The Bubble Up response, so that there is a social contract between the Business Leaders and those who will escalate good and bad stories to them.
  2. Continuous Culture: Moving from long term reporting, and managing exceptions to continuous reporting with all of the small successes and failures along the way
  3. Go see: We recommend Business Leaders create a Go See schedule immediately

2. Middle-out Portfolio and Programme Adoption

Adoption at this level focuses on training, mentoring and support for the Portfolio and Programme Management View. Specific workshops include:

  • HSD for Programme Managers
  • Deconflicting Agile and Iterative
  • Writing a Good Business Case
  • Programme Management Practices
  • Solution Architecture
  • Bubble Up and Go-See
  • Release Planning and Integration Streams

We consistently see organizations where good strategic leadership, and effective team based practices are undermined by misaligned or simply ineffective middle management. Adoption of the hybrid dynamic model instantly legitimizes alternate ways of working and so is a good place to start. We recommend focusing not on the decomposition of requirements and architecture, but on the pull towards rapid integration and feedback. To that end, we again emphasize Bubble Up and Go See.

3. Bottom-up Team Adoption

Adoption at this level involves working with software teams to make them happier and more efficient so they can deliver better products more quickly and communicating clearly where they can’t. Teams work best when they understand their work in the context of the organization and so we focus training, mentoring and support for:

  • Team-Forming
  • Agile practices
  • Continuous flow practices
  • Deconflicting project and programme
  • Team Retrospectives
  • Team based Continuous Improvement
  • Bubble Up and Go-See
  • Release Planning and Integration Streams

In high maturity organizations team based adoption may not be necessary, although we’ve found that the interface to Governance, the wider business via Release Planning and Bubble Up tend to need a little introduction. Often what team want most is simply someone to change the things they consistently complain about. Ensuring good development environments, automation tools and the opportunity for Mastery is the area of focus here.

4. Systemic analysis

Systemic Analysis is usually performed in parallel with 1, 2 or 3 above (in-business adoption) and involves using the HSD as a framework to explore the current business practices and identify:

  • Areas of work that provide good examples to share with the rest of the business
  • Areas of work that can be improved
  • Areas of waste that can be cut
  • Areas of work that are incorrectly aligned to business goals
Systemic analysis can be done superficially but to do it justice takes some time and effort. For that reason, we recommend that Systemic Analysis is only done 6 monthly organizationally. For departments, programmes or projects System Analysis can be continuously applied as projects or individuals think it would benefit them.
We take a non-confrontational “deep dive retrospective” approach to systemic analysis involving a series of interviews with individuals and teams that use the HSD model as a guide. We establish where in the maps of HSD an individual works and then can explore the health of their practices and the interfaces to those around them. Of particular interest are the interfaces up, down, left and right, on the Big Picture. We also look to the opposite ends, so if a person involved in elaborating scoping requirements (far left) we look to the far right and investigate integration and progression of levels of Done.

5. Establishing Continuous Improvement

Depending on the scale of the organization some or all of the following changes are useful in establishing a continuous improvement culture in an organization:

  • Developing Behavior Driven Measurement in your organization
  • Developing the Governance Implementation function
  • Developing the Business Insight function to provide evidence and analysis to support strategic and tactical decision making
  • Joining up team retrospectives with the Bubble Up practice
  • Joining up Go-See with Bubble Up to close the feedback loops
  • Strategic support services (to enable Business Leaders to establish pull throughout an organization)
  • Co-ordination of business change and improvement efforts to ensure that following changes are not local changes at the expense of the system as a whole

The key focus here is in ensuring that feedback cycles are working effectively, especially in respect of linked up Bubble Up and Go See practices (both at a level and through multiple levels).

6. Assessment and Intervention

Sometimes organizations have very complex programmes or projects that have a number of issues. We are able to provide intensive deep analysis (using the HSD framework) and intervention for programmes or projects in critical exception. Assessment and Intervention will identify the root causes of failure and provide mechanisms to address them up to and including direct intervention where we take over control of a failing project to turn it around.

Note that in almost all cases the problems in large failing projects/programmes are systemic rather than isolated. Problems are usually a product of the organization rather than the people involved so this kind of assessment must only be engaged by leaders open to honest criticism of their organization, structures and processes.

Simplified Adoption

As we said earlier, the core of HSD adoption is the creation of working, congruent feedback loops at every level of the business enabled by Integration Streams, Releases, Retrospectives, Bubble Up and Go-See.
Top Down: Go See and Bubble Up
Combining direct evidence from the Go See practice with information from Bubble Up provides Leaders with meaningful insight into their organizations, and what they need to change. It is critically important that Leaders respond to Bubble Up issues.
Middle Out: Taking a focus across the middle of the H-Model provides:
A scaled approach to requirements, with Product Forums coordinating the creation, integration and adoption of quality releases via Integration Scenarios.
Bottom up: Agile and continuous practices
We recommend that teams simply self-adopt agile and continuous practices. We de-emphasis particular schools of thought but often use Scrum as a good starting point.

Tailoring Adoption

We can help you to create tailored adoption/improvement plans that incorporate the best of what you already use (scrum, xp, etc.) and range from very lightweight, low cost to extensive root and branch change. Contact us for help.

Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and Mentoring involves skilled individuals helping others change. The two terms are often used interchangeably although there is an implication that mentoring is a longer lasting, personal relationship rather than a short term, or group based.