Multinational enterprise organisation working with business process automation. Fairly new team and new to Agile values and iterative working. The development team are effective and receiving a workable pipeline of user stories as of this week when I took over.
The organisation has a full portfolio of programmes and projects. A current NDA initiative has the task of halving all current projects due to a restructuring. To prevent this, each waterfall project has submitted a (likely inflated) benefits case and a Gantt chart extending out to 12 months. We have been asked to provide a strong benefits case to support our project
Our backlog only extends out, in detail, for the next 2 weeks. The previous Agile Coach considered automation to be too hard to turn into user stories so the dozen or so stories that were produced is stuff like "Finish the whole process" or "Do a code review".
Outside of that we have identified 26 epics to be delivered. Each Epic is linked back to one of 5 business areas that has dozens of potential processes we can automate. I hope that makes sense. So a business unit says "You have carte blanche" and we go in. For every process we can develop against we raise an Epic. We have 26 concrete processes so far we can develop but there are potentially hundreds.
What the Exec have asked for
- Quickly triage every single process in every single business area and produce an Epic for each
- Produce a benefits analysis for each Epic
- Tell us how many Epics can be completed in the next 12 months
- Add up the Benefits case and if it is greater than X then your project survives the cull
There is a very little. The previous Agile Coach did not ask the team to record metrics and allowed all delivery artifacts to exist on post-it notes or C:drives so I don't have a data source like Jira with which to interrogate.
What Have I tried so far
- I have asked the Exec for time to break the previous deliveries down into Epics and user stories then backtest and backestimate that to provide empirical data with which to apply to future Epics of relative/similar complexity (They said no. Current deliveries must continue)
- I have asked for 8 weeks (4 Sprints) in which to capture delivery metrics from the team for everything they deliver from today. Some of the exec said yes, some said no and cried foul.
What I am seeking
- Cited sources I can use to evangelize why a fully formed backlog is less valuable than delivering software and adjusting while we go (3 months backlog good...12 months bad)
- Senior anecdotes of how individuals would/could/have handle this
- Concrete coaching techniques I can use to demonstrate value to the NDA project-culling team
You are all my peoples - help please! Extremely demoralised Product Owner and Team looking at me...