I Trust My Train! It is Very Predictable!

I do not sweat my early morning commute and late afternoon commute. I take the train to and from work. I can sleep whilst in transit. My train is on time all the time…therefore I can plan ahead with the published train schedule. My train is predictable!

They even solved the “long queue” problem. I can purchase my ticket with the train’s mobile app via my mobile phone whilst in transit…I jump into the train (not moving train of course) … no need to queue at the train ticket station anymore!

I trust my train! It’s cadence (schedule/routine) is predictable… and synchronized with other trains. All trains within the ecosystem run like clockwork…all in cadence and in synch. metrolink-train-wreckCadence without synchronization leads to chaos! Train wreck (if you need a very powerful visual)!

In SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), we use the Program Predictability Measure (PPM) to measure our teams’ and our Train’s predictability. It is based on Business Objective’s Planned Value (PV, value of which is provided by the Business Owner at the Program Increment (PI) Planning) versus the Business Objective’s Actual Business Value (AV, value of which is provided by the Business Owner at the end of the PI, specifically during the Inspect and Adapt Program Event). Inspect-and-Adapt_F01_WPcEach team’s ratio of AV over PV is rolled up (averaged) to the Program-level in the program predictability measure (PPM). PPM (predictability) that is between 80% and 100% is good and ideal. This primary quantitative measure, PPM, is determined during the “Inspect and Adapt (I&A)” program event… I&A is one of SAFe’s Program Events. I trust my Train at work! It is predictable.

By the way, have you ever wondered why SAFe uses Train as a metaphor? SAFe uses Train as a metaphor / simile for several reasons: A Train carries precious / valuable cargo, it has cadence (routine/schedule), it has increments of boundaries (various stations ) to pick up and deliver cargo, it is predictable, it is in synch with other trains,  and it is also in synch with cargo owners/passengers (via published train schedule and real-time alerts).

The trust between Business Owners and Development Teams rises and falls on predictability.

PPM goes both ways. PPM goes down not just because the teams/Train did not deliver…it might be because the Business Objective that was set forth by the Business Owner is no longer of value…perhaps the market has changed and it  is no longer needed.

cast away 2This predictability measure is also applicable at a personal level. Personally, the predictability of a company attracts my business. Example: I use FedEx for sending and receiving very important documents rather than using any other carrier. I trust them to deliver as planned and as promised. They (FedEx) are predictable and dependable. Just watch the movie “Cast Away“… a movie that is (to me) nothing but a two-hours long FedEx commercial! The protagonist (portrayed by Tom Hanks), at FedexCastawaythe end of the movie, eventually delivered — hand-carried no less — the recipient’s FedEx package that went down with him in the plane crash!

Predictability…very important! Know how predictable your  teams and Train are…improve predictability if need be (embrace ‘Relentless Improvement‘ — one of the 4 pillars of the SAFe house of lean). Don’t underestimate the power of highly predictable agile teams, and team of agile teams (the Agile Release Train ( aka ART))! Don’t forget, Business Owners are also in the hook!

 

 

 


One thought on “I Trust My Train! It is Very Predictable!

  1. Well, this was interesting! Being probably the least business-minded person on the planet, I found your analogy to trains and business model relationships between teams and corporate very intriguing…well, actually, to be honest: I had to try and figure out what you meant at first! Anyway, well done! I loved that movie by the way, especially since Fed Ex was so dependable, even to the end…

    Like

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