Friday, December 21, 2018

Prediction for next decade (2019-2028) - 2019

1. Agile transformation market will thrive while large enterprises will struggle to transform.
2.  Bigdata trend will keep gaining strength in both spheres – Batch & Real time. But too many tools may kill momentum.
3. SAAS and PAAS will prevail for the small and big enterprise.
4. IAAS will thrive in enterprise data centers (Private Cloud).
5. Industry-specific cloud platforms will rise to cater regulatory and vertical-specific needs.
6. Artificial intelligence will be a new playground for software developers.
7.  Digital currencies will impact the financial markets in a big way.
8.  Fragmentation of the Internet - There will be walls around a country or region-specific internet.
9. Applications will be pervasive in devices and appliances like phones (mobile and fixed line), TVs, automobiles, refrigerators, disk (CD/DVD/BlueRay) players, and any other computing device.
10. Indian IT workforce will shift from permanent job to contractual jobs like in the USA.
11. 3D printing will start making penetration into the consumer market which will take a heavy toll on mass manufacturing based economies.
12. Fragmentation and Alternatives of Java and Enterprise Java (like Apache harmony, and Spring) will emerge stronger and official Java from Oracle will lose its sheen due to lust for its monetization by Oracle.
13.  The rise of China-based technology companies.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Top Trends of 2019

1. In software development and maintenance, fall of the waterfall will continue while Agile will be rising.
2. Agile transformation business will flourish further.
3. Agile at scale will continue to haunt.
4. The noise around budgeting, HR, sales & marketing, and other enterprise functions in the Agile adopting environment may become loud enough.
5. Contemporary engineering practices and DevOps have blurred lines
6. Containerization and micro service will keep on rising in software architecture and design.
7. The cloud-based application will penetrate further into the enterprise market.
8. AI and Blockchain will keep their momentum.
9. Bigdata, Artificial intelligence, and user experience professionals will be in great demand.
10. Autonomous vehicle technology will be pursued further.
11. Virtual and augmented reality will start making a further inroad into enterprise training business.
12. The merger of devices will continue.
13. Architecture and Design for big complex products will rely on Agile way of working.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Guide for Product Portfolio Group Members

Recently in a workshop for a product based organization, I developed a guide for Product Portfolio Group to maintain a Product Portfolio. This organization - myCompany Inc. has 4 products in the growth phase, one each in maturity and decline stage of the product lifecycle (Introduction --> Growth --> Maturity --> Decline). MyCompany Inc.  is actively exploring the idea of bringing in a couple of new products. 

Product Portfolio Group consists of senior executives, Subject Matter Experts, and Technical Architects of respective products. 

This guide is I am making available to all of you, so you may take benefit of it and also I get a chance to learn from your comments.


The Product Portfolio Group (PPG) is a self-organizing group with the diverse skill set to ensure that MyCompany Inc.’s products are meeting business objectives in line with the vision of the organization.
The membership

  • Senior Executives
  • Subject Matter Experts
  • Technical Architects

The Process
PPG follows Kanban-based approach as espoused in the structure depicted below:

In the Kanban board for the Product Portfolio is divided in following columns and two swim lanes:
Swim Lanes

  • Existing Products: As the name indicated, this swim lane covers details of the existing products. You might be looking for major enhancement and/or extension to existing product/solution. This is the place to place your ideas. 
  • New Products: This is the place to share your ideas about new products/solutions.
Funnel:  This is the place for new ideas. Ensure that items are in sync with the strategic themes of the organization. This column should be purged regularly to maintain a manageable list of items.

Reviewing: This is the first filter for the ideas to move forward on the Kanban board.  Ideas take shape of Epics and/or Features. One of the members of the PPG group accepts the ownership of an Epic. Generally, one who proposes the Epic owns it. PPG members explore the alternatives of Epics and Features proposed. 
Is proposed Feature part of existing Epic? If Answer is yes, can it be clubbed with that Epic?
Epics and Features are categorized using Kano or MoSCoW model. All PPG members must agree on the choice of the categorization model. PPG members also do prioritization of the Epics and Features using WSJF or Matrix (inspired by GM-McKinsey nine box matrix):

All Epics must be prioritized using a single tool – WSJF or Matrix.
PPG members need to agree upon a WIP limit for this column. 

Analyzing: Is Epic too big? If it is, let’s split it into smaller ones. Now it is time to identify MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and estimate its cost.  To identify the MVP and its cost, PPG members need to consult Product Owners and people near to the ground. It is also advisable to estimate the cost of the Epic.  PPG members should understand that cost estimates at this level are very high level.  Now it is time to prepare the lean business case and decide on Go/no-Go. The Go/no-Go decision is a collective decision of the group. If Epic/Feature has Go decision, it moves to the next column of the Kanban board.

PPG members need to agree upon a WIP limit for this column. 

Product Portfolio Backlog: In this column, Epics and Features (coming all the way from Funnel) wait for its implementation. As soon as numbers of items are below WIP limit in the next column (Implementing), the highest priority item moves to “Implementing” column from this column.
To keep Kanban board current, PPG keeps on determining the priority of the items residing in this column.

PPG members need to agree upon a WIP limit for this column. 

Implementing: In this column, Epics are decomposed into Features and the stories by implementing teams. Features and Stories don’t reside in this Kanban board but in respective teams’.  As soon as MVP or MVA (Minimum Viable Addition) is released, its feedback is collected and the next course of action is decided – continue the current course or pivot. 

MVPs and MVAs need to be identified on a continuous basis. Product Roadmap and Release schedule (assuming MyCompany Inc. is following a scheduled release plan not release on demand) will be following MVPs and MVAs, therefore PPG must be prompt in identifying MVPs and MVAs.
PPG members must evaluate the anticipated hypothesis of each implementing Epic. If an Epic delivers its anticipated hypothesis, it must move to the next column (Done).

PPG members need to agree upon a WIP limit.  WIP limit of this column will affect the downstream Kanban/Scrum boards. 

Done: This column is the repository of Done Epics. An Epic is Done when it delivers its anticipated hypothesis outcome. This column also holds Epics which are discarded after MVP or MVP+MVAs do not deliver the anticipated hypothesis outcome.


PPG works a self-organizing team which has the skill set to discharge all responsibilities. The main responsibilities of the PPG are:

  • Maintaining Product Portfolio Kanban (PPK) board
  • Maintaining WIP limit of each column of PPK board
  • To evaluate ideas, if required bring in external help
  • Developing anticipated hypothesis outcome of each Epic
  • Categorization and Prioritization of Epic throughout its life cycle
  • Splitting Epics into a smaller and manageable size
  • Identifying MVP and MVA
  • Collaborating with Release Management and Roadmap groups
  • Collaborating with Product Owners and Technical folks to estimate the size and cost of Epics, MVPs, and MVAs
  • Preparing Lean Business Case
  • Evaluating anticipating hypothesis outcome of implementing Epics to access whether it is Done or not
  • Taking a collective decision of Go/no-Go
  • Taking a collective decision for implementing Epics – continue the current course or pivot
  • Meeting once in 15 days to discharge above responsibilities collectively
  • To discharge above-mentioned responsibilities once in 15 days meeting may not be sufficient
  • PPG is a self-organizing team so it promotes Pull-based work allocation
Assumptions made while doing this exercise

  • WIP Limit for each column of Kanban board is not stated to signify that each value need to be discovered over time
  • MyCompany Inc. is following a scheduled release plan not release on demand
  • PPG is meeting once in 15 days