Occasional stories about Rally customers who are doing cool and interesting things.
Seagate is a big name in storage solutions, with a long list of innovations that have pushed the industry forward over the past 35 years. It’s also a big name at Rally. That’s because Seagate’s Firmware Engineering group has cracked the nut on enterprise scale Agile — a topic we eat, sleep, and breathe here at Rally.
Over the past few years, the Firmware Engineering group has transformed itself from an area that was “constantly under the microscope” — with inconsistent delivery and recurring defects — to a well-oiled machine delivering with higher speed, quality, and predictability.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with some folks at Seagate who have been instrumental in driving this transformation forward, including Sr. Director of Firmware Engineering Dennis Rubsam and Sr. Engineering Manager Iky Chan (who moonlights as an Agile lead for the group).
Why an Agile transformation?
According to Rubsam, it all started with one developer, one high-profile project, and a delivery date that kept slipping thanks to shifting requirements. Frustrated by the seemingly endless cycle, the developer on the project finally approached Rubsam with an idea: Scrum.
Instead of working with a monolithic set of requirements that was bound to change over time, he argued, developers could commit to smaller chunks of work, adapt as they go, and start delivering value sooner. The pitch worked; Rubsam took the idea and ran with it.
From Agile Scrum to Agile at Scale
The Firmware Engineering group spent some time mastering Scrum practices at the team level, embedding Agile coaches into the teams, focusing on writing good user stories, and establishing a consistent cadence. The fundamentals, in other words. It was a good place to start, but Rubsam soon realized they needed to operate on a larger scale.
That’s when Rally started working with them, doing what we like best — helping organizations adopt enterprise scale Agile. The group embraced the Scaled Agile FrameworkⓇ (SAFeⓇ) and pulled the teams together into a release train. The aha moment came when the Firmware Engineering group started doing what we at Rally call big room planning.
Chan summed it up nicely, “We had to shift the mindset and big room planning sessions were a big part of making that happen. It forced us to build more discipline into our delivery.”
Today, the group has run nearly a dozen big room planning sessions, bringing quality assurance, the core technology group, and other functional teams into the mix.
It’s a Journey, Not a Destination
The transformation is paying off for Seagate. With greater alignment and collaboration, the group is delivering faster, with greater predictability, fewer critical bugs, lower defect rates … and no more never-ending projects that fail to deliver business value. Which means the culture has improved as well. The best part? The group is in a position to keep growing and improving. We can’t wait to see what’s next on their journey.
Learn More at RallyON
You can hear more about Seagate's transformation journey by reading the case study, or by joining us at this year's RallyON Agile conference in Phoenix, June 15–17. Seagate is just one of many organizations who will be there to share their experiences, approaches, tips, and inspiration. Explore the agenda to see specific sessions and register now to secure your spot!