In this paper/talk we’ll chronicle the turnaround of a failing enterprise scale (200+FTEs) Oracle – COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) Implementation in a public agency. A decision was made to do a hard reset from a waterfall to a agile methodology.

A delivery methodology was designed and implemented which included practices at enterprise, program, and team levels. This methodology encompassed elements from agile, scrum, lean, and SAFe frameworks.

While we did not have a specific intent to use the SAFe framework it turns out that we ended up using some key elements of the framework at the different levels including:

– 6-8 team members using scrum XP delivering working code in 3 week interations
– use of spikes, stories, and refactors

– Organized by features fitting within a release
– Common backlog for all functional teams with normalized estimating across teams

– Use of kanban and lean to drive business epics

I am planning to make explicit the connection between our practices and those in SAFe framework.

We’ll examine the transition from a bureaucratic, slow decision velocity, siloed. culture to one of fast moving, transparent, trusting and delivery focused culture. From hard reset it took 15 months to the first release with 1/3 of the previous staffing and the team is now on a six month release cadence.

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