Agility at scale is continuously evolving to better align teams, as to meet new emerging challenges due to the increasing number of agile teams within organizations. This approach results in the implementation of specific frameworks such as SAFe, LeSS etc.
Nowadays, Enterprise Agile Planning solutions are making their way into the market to enhance agile collaboration on software development projects at enterprise scale.
What are Enterprise Agile Planning tools?
Enterprise Agile Planning (EAP) tools contribute to apply agile approaches at scale. EAP solutions share the basics of project-centric agile tools and application lifecycle management (ALM) ones, since they help organizations improve collaboration, communication and value creation. But more than this, EAP solutions reflects an actual evolution from these « traditional » agile practices by pushing for a higher lever approach that put customer value creation at the very heart of the overall business strategy. In other words, this means bringing the concept of project agile development to the next level: agile philosophy implementation at enterprise scale.
In short, EAP tools represent a solution for all those organizations willing to implement agility at enterprise scale, hence encouraging and backing up agile at scale methods such as LeSS, Disciplined Agile or even SAFe agile.
Enterprise Agile Planning (EAP) tools coherently manage the diverse information and processes involved in enterprise-class agile development.
From one to several agile teams
Agile methods are extended to the whole business and agile processes have to be more accelerated and iterative, in order to deal with the crucial issue of software management at scale. The great variety and diversity of information needs at each and every enterprise level require adapted tools, depending on whether they are for teams or for the management.
Team level: the agile planning tool has to determine the time needed for tasks and projects completion as well as to provide a framework to accomplish work efficiently.
Program level: an EAP tool helps align and coordinate teams, each one of them working on a specific part of the project deliverable.
Portfolio level: the EAP allows to set business vision and objectives, to define the amount of investment (if needed) for every program.
Enterprise Agile Planning Tools gather all the information from the different business stakeholders in order to identify some key indicators and metrics to monitor over time:
- Customer value, such as customer satisfaction, business outcomes;
- Velocity (for more details about it, check out the Scrum Agile method)
- Organizational effectiveness, to tackle potential bottlenecks among cross-teams and identify agile practices that work best;
- Quality, such as test and defect count.
Enterprise Agile Planning tools allow to create precise reports and deliverables based on business outcomes (even on a daily basis, if necessary), to increase visibility on workflow, hence on projects progress, as well as to manage epics, features, user stories and tasks, for stakeholders to gain a better understanding of final expectations with a clear view on releases planning.
In a nutshell, EAP tools enhance value creation while supporting collaboration and dependencies management among cross-teams.
Enterprise Agile Planning Tool: major capabilities and functions
Key capabilities for Enterprise Agile Planning solutions
→ Monitor a single scrum team
An EAP tool allow you to plan and monitor all the activities related to a single Scrum team, thanks to a set of tools such as backlog management, virtual Scrum board, burn-up and burn-down charts.
→ Monitor a single Lean/Kanban team
As in the previous case, the EAP solution contributes to track and optimise the workflow of a team based on Lean or Kanban approaches.
→ Manage your product portfolio
Thanks to enterprise agile planning tools you can easily manage your portfolio of products undergoing continuous development, throughout their entire lifecycle.
→ Manage your project and program portfolio
Besides products, an EAP tool can also help you plan and track projects which are part of your portfolio’s projects.
→ Improve agility among distributed agile teams
An EAP solution allows you to boost agility even among teams which are spread across different locations.
Key functions for Enterprise Agile Planning software
- Backlog management
- Release follow-up based on delivered epics
- Kanban team support
- Scrum team support
- Product roadmap
- Product and program planning
- Release planning
- SAFe support and tracking
- Time tracking
- DevOps pipeline visibility
- Collaboration tools
- Integration with third party tools
What is the difference with an Agile Application Lifecycle Management tool?
What is an ALM (or ADLM) tool?
ALM stands for Application Lifecycle Management, whereas ADLM for Application Development Lifecycle Management. These two acronyms were first introduced by Gartner a few years ago and they basically mean the same thing.
Application Development Lifecycle Management tools make it possible to meet planning and governance needs related to Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). In fact, they focus on the « development » aspect of an application’s life, since their purpose is to coordinate software project management and to monitor code development.
Applying agility to ALM helps better manage your project lifecycles and definitely has multiple benefits: delivering quality releases faster, improving collaboration among cross-functional teams and focusing on customer needs first, to name a few.
Key functions of an ADLM solution
- Requirements definition and management
- Change and configuration management
- Project planning
- Task management
- Defect management
- Quality management
Let’s clear it up: SDLC, ADLM, EAP, DEVOPS…
AN EAP TOOL IS AN AGILE ALM SOLUTION AT SCALE…
As shown in the figure above, an Enterprise Agile Planning (EAP) solution provides another « layer of agility » through the introduction of new agile capabilities at scale, such as product portfolio and agile project and program management.
… BUT MAKE SURE TO KEEP AN EYE ON SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT
For software-driven enterprises – such as for technology companies of the manufacturing industry – it is fundamental to keep the focus on the main purpose of ALM tools: ensuring an efficient management of software development.
It’s important to underline this aspect because it is true that EAP tools aim to spread single agile approaches to multiple teams, but at the same time, certain solutions are not initially meant to go that far, so encompassing ALM solutions capabilities. For instance, you should make sure that your EAP tool includes DevOps pipeline visibility with configuration and code review management, quality assurance, test management and production deployment.