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4 months ago

Targetprocess goes to London: Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit 2016

Ole (one of our Solutions Architects) lines up his shot

Ole (one of our Solution Architects) lines up his shot

This month, our team headed to London for the June 13-14 Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit. Gartner is a technology research and analysis firm that advises enterprise clients. They are considered by many to be thought-leaders for management and IT.

The theme of this year’s summit was “Results-Driven PPM — Leading Change and Delivering Value in the Digital Age.” In our opinion, Gartner’s key message was that, in today’s rapidly changing business world, organizations need to develop the capability to quickly react to change and focus on value delivery, rather than continue to focus on managing budgets and meeting deadlines.

This theme matches perfectly with our tool, so we decided to become a sponsor of the event and demonstrate our agile PPM and SAFe capabilities. The summit was full of executives and analysts, all sharing knowledge and trying to find the next big thing. We wanted to gather feedback from this high-level crowd, and examine our own position in the PPM market.

Learn how to connect strategy and execution in the PPM section of our Solutions Gallery

The Targetprocess Booth:


Our booth’s theme was “Work smart, golf more.” The idea behind this is that using Targetprocess for agile portfolio management (agile PPM) will allow PMOs to save time by improving visibility and traceability. You can read more about this concept at our online brochure.

There was a lot of excitement at our booth about agile PPM, as well as the possibility to manage ALM and PPM in one singular tool. However, there was also some disappointment about the lack of certain traditional items, such as Gantt charts. We’ve said before that timelines are better than Gantt charts for agile management, but we still paid careful attention to these criticisms (see our conclusions at the end).  

After a day of serious presentations and keynote speakers, we took part in a networking reception and handed out some golf-themed drinks (‘Tee’ Time, “Hole in One”) as well as golf balls with agile PPM quotes. We also laid out a small golfing mat in front of our booth and even dressed up like golfers, just for a bit of fun.  

Our team members came from London, Germany, Belarus, the Netherlands, and the U.S. to be present for the summit. The photo was taken after an evening Networking Reception on June 13, 2016

Visitors to our booth had the chance to win a set of Wilson golf clubs. At the end of the summit we held a lottery, and Maria Kiekara from YIT Group was drawn as the winner. Congratulations Maria!


Gartner's Conclusions:

On business in general:

Gartner states that digital business is still evolving, and predicts that algorithms will be used in autonomous business with smart machines through 2020 and beyond. Just as the internet brought about the advent of digital business, algorithms and smart machines will be the catalyst for algorithmic (or, autonomous) business.

Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit, 13-14 June 2016, London, UK, Keynote: Business and Technology 2030: Algorithms and (More) Autonomous Business, Dale Kutnick, Donna Fitzgerald

On IT:

Gartner is continuing its advocacy for Bi-Modal IT, a practice that Gartner defines as the “the managing of two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.” Analysts stressed the need to dedicate resources to Mode 2 projects without traditional budget rules:

  • The value of Mode 2 initiatives are not easily reflected using traditional ROI analysis
  • Mode 2 projects which are subjected to traditional funding and governance rules will be stymied, often at the expense of innovation
  • Creative leadership from the CIO and IT departments is required to shift the thinking around approval and funding for Mode 2 projects.

Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit, 13-14 June 2016, London, UK, Workshop: Mode 2/Agile Funding — No Longer, About Cost But Value, Jim McGittigan

Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit, 13 - 14 June 2016, London, UK, Changing Governance to Exploit Enterprise Agile, Bill Swanton

On agile:

The unfortunate truth about agile is that it is excellently positioned for use as a buzzword. However, we know that agile should be more than just a buzzword and is here to stay.

Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit, 13 - 14 June 2016, London, UK, Survival Strategies for the PMO in an Enterprise Agile World, Matthew Hotle

This year, a recurring theme at analyst presentations seemed to be that traditional project management should give way to agile product management. Early capability to ship value (as MVP), continuous improvement, iterations, and team continuity were some of the cited benefits that such a shift can bring.

Gartner discussed SAFe as a framework for scaling agile practices.


We believe a key message from Gartner was that traditional PPM is still widespread in the enterprise market, but PMO's and CIO's need to figure out how to embrace agile at the enterprise level.


Gartner also stated how digitalization is disrupting the PPM “Comfort Zone.”

Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit, 13-14 June 2016, London, UK, The PPM Market: State of the Universe, Daniel B. Stang

An action plan from Gartner for PPM Leaders: In the next 12 months, work to eliminate or consolidate overlapping tools where possible, without assuming all work can be managed in one tool.

Gartner also offers some advice on PPM tool best practices in the face of disruption: keep track of the varied needs for different kinds of PPM tools, listen to the different workgroups and teams asking for them or adopting them outright, and don't assume you can force all the workgroups into the same tool.

Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit, 13 - 14 June 2016, London, UK, The PPM Market: State of the Universe, Daniel B. Stang

Our Conclusions:

There was a lot of discourse about agile at the summit. Still, we observed that many of the exhibiting tools were fairly traditional, and the attitude of PMO representatives from some companies towards agile seemed to be one of guarded optimism.

This caution is understandable; the enterprise market is just waking up to agile as the way to survive in today’s disruptive economy. The PPM industry is going to need to reinvent itself soon to stay relevant, but big enterprises cannot just switch gears as fast as they may want to. However, companies that adopt an agile mindset early-on can expect to get a leg up on the competition as the digitalization of business pushes inexorably forward, forcing companies to adopt more flexible and adaptive approaches.

"By 2020, more than three-quarters of the S&P 500 will be companies that we have not heard of yet."  - Professor Richard Foster, Yale University

We're not saying that Targetprocess, as a tool for agile portfolio management, is the ultimate solution for any client. Just as agile can't be looked at as a magic pill to cure all your troubles, no software tool should be looked at as perfectly comprehensive for all 4 levels of Gartner's pyramid above. Our PPM solution is still evolving. However, we strongly believe that it is well-positioned to help companies that want to scale agile to the enterprise level in order to embrace change, become more responsive, and deliver value faster.

As a nice bonus, Targetprocess lets you do both agile PPM and agile ALM within one tool so that you can have more time for other activities, such as golf (instead of manually synchronizing data between your PPM and ALM solutions). Speaking of which, we have some Targetprocess golf balls left with quotes about our PPM solution, so let us know if you feel like giving it a shot!


5 years ago

Enjoy Mashups Management and Visual Flow in TargetProcess v.2.22.9

TargetProcess v.2.22.9 is available to all On-Demand customers and On-Site Free users. Public release for On-Site customers is due in several days.

This release is quite significant as it includes a number of major improvements.

Beta Views: inner lists with inline edit and prioritization

Order bugs and tasks inside a User Story. Inline edit on the fly. Read more about improvements in lists.

Ordering and Inline Edit in lists

Beta Views: Implementation History for Features, User Stories, Bugs, Tasks and Requests

This visualized timeline shows full progress including all the state changes, time spent, responsible persons, impediments, added and closed bugs, and tasks. More on how the Visual Flow can help you.

Visual Flow

Mashup Manager: basic release

On-Demand users can create their own mashups in minutes or re-use out-of-the-box mashups. Note: you need Admin rights to create and manage mashups.

Mashups manager

Multi-select custom fields (not available in Beta Views so far)

It's finally there. If you need a custom field with multiple choices, you can now use it.

Multiple Selection

Burn Down calculation when Time Tracking is not used

Now you can have accurate burn downs even if you don’t use time tracking at all. Just update the remaining effort in Task Board and check the progress on Sprint Burndown chart.


Tasks added to Prioritize screen

Order Tasks, Stories and Bugs by their priority for your developers


REST API fixes and improvements

  • REST: Test Plan Run collection for Test Plans added
  • REST: HTTP 500 error for requests if user logged with Windows Authentication
  • REST: exception on resetting custom field value to NULL
  • Plugins: Logs and Data Folder not deleted when TP is updated

Other Fixes

6 years ago

Development practice: Retrospectives in Kanban

There are various ways to support agile team retrospectives. We've used all of them, so let me share our experience.

issues board

Cadence (usual retrospectives)

If you have iterative development like Scrum or XP, it is very convenient to run usual retrospectives meetings. For example, with 2-week iterations you have such meetings every other week, discuss issues, what worked, what not, brainstorm solutions and new things. We've tried mood boards, various formats for issues gathering and for action items tracking. We've tried a whole lot of things in 2 years. In general, it worked. But then we switched to Kanban and somehow retrospective meetings faded out...

Is there a better way to improve development process?


We tried to apply stop-the-line practice. It states that as a mistake or malpractice is discovered all responsible people should immediately hold a meeting to resolve/prevent this specific problem. There were several stop-the-line events, but this practice did not survive. Why? There are two main reasons.

  1. It is very disruptive. People are working on various unrelated tasks and are in the flow. Suddenly they should switch to a problem resolution brainstorming. Many people don't like to do that.
  2. It may take too long. Sometimes the problem is very hard and it takes much time to find a good solution. People impatiently drink coffee and want to get back to work.

So we dropped stop-the-line practice and replaced it with a pure pull system.

Pull / Issues Board

Issue Board is a very simple concept with 3 basic rules:

  1. Every person in a development team can write a problem or a new idea he wants to discuss on a whiteboard (Issues Board).
  2. There is a limit of 3 problems on the board.
  3. When there are 3 problems on the board, we have a retrospective meeting right after a daily meeting.

We have been using this approach over the last several months and I like it most. It leaves off some problems both of the stop-the-line approach and the cadence approach. First, if there are no issues or ideas, there's no need to have a meeting 🙂 Second, no interruptions, since daily meeting is interruptive by itself, so it is just natural to have a retrospective meeting right away.

If you have other approaches to retrospectives, go ahead and share them!

6 years ago

Fridays Digest #18 Scrum vs. Kanban

Many interesting posts and discussions about Scrum and Kanban published last weeks. Someone even called this a war 🙂 I don't think it is a war, but some posts indeed may drive such feeling.

  • Ken Schwaber bashed Kanban. "I was told that Kanban is frequently used when an organization cannot readily adopt Scrum. Many of Scrum most difficult aspects are then sidestepped. Managers are still in charge of telling people what to do. People can be interrupted at any time. People are still work in functional silos, preserving the jobs of functional managers. People are not allowed to work in containers, sharing skills and knowledge to bring complexity into solutions – instead they are worked on a pull (more sophisticated than push) production line."
  • Karl Scotland discusses Scrum and Kanban difference as Intentional vs. Implementational approaches. Interesting perspective in fact. Karl thinks that Kanban can be used with Scrum to reveal even more problems in development process.
  • David J. Anderson posted the most rational article about Scrum and Kanban difference. I like it a lot. Some phrases are true gems: "Kanban is not a project management or software development lifecycle method. It is an approach to change management - a framework for catalyzing change in an organization." and "Kanban uses a WIP limit as a change agent and Scrum uses commitments. This is a fundamental difference in approach." David also posted some reflections later with interesting thoughts about anarchy and science.
  • A year ago Tobias Mayer didn't believe that it is possible to use Kanban at all. "I fundamentally disbelieve that there is any such thing as a “value stream” when you are working in a complex environment, in a creative process, building new products or generating new ideas."

I think Ken is wrong. His arguments against Lean and Kanban quite ridiculous. Sure there is no intention to treat software development as a factory and apply lean manufacturing principles blindly. Of course there are people who will try (or already tried) that and fail. But vast majority of lean community in software development do understand the difference and working on concrete practices. Lean philosophy is great, but tools and practices can't be taken from manufacturing directly.

Pull system is more complex than Push? C'mon!

David has wise arguments and perfect position. I think Kanban will be more popular than Scrum in long-term perspective, but it will take time. Visualization is a key thing to manage complexity, and software development is a complex system.

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