Adoption of Holistic Software Development can be managed in a number of ways depending on the requirements of a specific organization, its current practices and constraints. We recommend adopting the principles and manifesto rather than a step by step formal adoption and using elements of the HSD to adopt itself both to ensure return on investment and provide an example to the organization.

We recommend adoption from three points of view, which can be adopted in isolation but work best when adopted together:

  1. Top-down Strategic Adoption
  2. Middle-out Portfolio and Programme Adoption
  3. Bottom-up Team Adoption

Further refined by:

  1. Systemic analysis
  2. Establishing Continuous Improvement

Optionally, when a business is suffering problems:

  1. Assessment and Intervention

Adopting Holistic Software Development involves working with teams, managers and leaders on Day 1 of adoption, there's no need to spend months assessing an organization before linking parts of it together. Our deeply experienced consultants and partners can rapidly adapt to existing structures and behaviors. All of our adoption practices are aligned to our Psychology-based Business Change techniques.

You don't need us to adopt HSD but we, and our partners, will accelerate your adoption.

Elements of HSD, such as cost/benefit analysis, open and honest decision making, Retrospectives and Bubble Up as well as psychology based Business Change are all useful for implementing HSD in an organization, however HSD is not a continuous portfolio of software product development and so we do not recommend a fully recursive use of HSD to implement itself.


1. Top-down Strategic Direction

Adoption at this level starts with workshops, mentoring and establishment of support services for the Business Leadership to explain the nature of Holistic Software Development encompassing:

  • HSD for Business Leaders
  • Software Process Business Change
  • Establishing Pull
  • Strategic Direction
  • Governance
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Executive Reports
  • Business Feedback Loops


2. Middle-out Portfolio and Programme Adoption

Adoption at this level focuses on training, mentoring and support for the Portfolio and Programme Management View. Specific workshops include:

  • HSD for Programme Managers
  • Deconflicting Agile and Iterative
  • Writing a good Business Case
  • Programme Management practices
  • Solution Architecture


3. Bottom-up Team Adoption

Adoption at this level involves working with software teams to make them happier and more efficient  so they can deliver better products more quickly, communicating clearly where they can't. Teams work best when they understand their work in the context of the organization and so we focus training, mentoring and support for:

  • Team-Forming
  • Agile practices
  • Continuous flow practices
  • Deconflicting project and programme
  • Team Retrospectives
  • Team based Continuous Improvement


4. Systemic analysis

System Analysis is usually performed in parallel with 1,2 or 3 above (in-business adoption) and involves using the HSD as a framework to explore the current business practices and identify:

  • Areas of work that provide good examples to share with the rest of the business
  • Areas of work that can be improved
  • Areas of waste that can be cut
  • Areas of work that are incorrectly aligned to business goals

This is a one off, or at least infrequent, baselining of the state of a development organization or very large programme.


5. Establishing Continuous Improvement

This involves establishing a continuous improvement culture in an organization by:

  • Developing Behavior Driven Measurement in your organization
  • Developing the Governance Implementation function
  • Developing the Business Insight function to provide evidence and analysis to support strategic and tactical decision making
  • Joining up team retrospectives with the Bubble Up practice
  • Strategic support services (to enable Business Leaders to establish pull throughout an organization)
  • Co-ordination of business change and improvement efforts to ensure that following changes are not local changes at the expense of the system as a whole


6. Assessment and Intervention

Sometimes organizations have very complex programmes or projects that have a number of issues. We are able to provide intensive deep analysis (using the HSD framework) and intervention for programmes or projects in critical exception. Assessment and Intervention will identify the root causes of failure and provide mechanisms to address them up to an including direct intervention where we take over control of a failing project to turn it around.

Note that in almost all cases the problems in large failing projects/programmes are systemic rather than isolated, they are normally a product of the organization rather than the people involved so this kind of assessment must only be engaged by leaders open to honest criticism of their organization, structures and processes.


Tailoring Adoption

We can help you to create tailored adoption/improvement plans that incorporate the best of what you already use (scrum, xp, etc.) and range from very lightweight, low cost to extensive root and branch change.

Contact us for help.