You’ve heard about our journey to the cloud through Joe Vaccaro’s insightful blog series The Way We Work. This blog post will give you a deep dive into Citrix’s very own Agile transformation.
Make no mistake, scaling an enterprise to embrace a Lean-Agile mindset is a tough challenge. It takes leadership support, ambition, perseverance, patience, and an immense amount of communication. And even then, you’re never done. More on that later.
Citrix, as an organization yearns to go faster — fueled by our transition to the cloud. However we strive to maintain a high level of quality across our product portfolio. Enter the Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise (SAFe).
Agile vs. agile
Let’s get some definitions out of the way first. Agile is a framework. While its name comes from the common adjective agile — defined as “able to move quickly and easily” — its meaning in a software delivery context is significantly more evolved.
Agile is a software development methodology that has given rise to industry best practices. At Citrix, we surveyed a number of implementations that allow enterprise organizations to scale their Agile practices to a new level and focus on delivering value to our customers. One framework stood out — Scaled Agile Framework for Enterprise (SAFe). We’ve harnessed SAFe not only to only deliver faster, but also to help us prioritize solutions that benefit all of our customers — including those who maintain an on-premises Citrix environment, or are deploying public, private, and hybrid could infrastructure.
It is precisely this team- and program-level coordination and focus that allowed us to deliver on our 90-day promise of key solutions, including the Citrix Workspace, Citrix Analytics, Citrix Endpoint Management, our new SD-WAN service, and Cloud app control.
Organizing Around Customer Value
As we move forward with this continued focus, we’re aligning our engineering teams to a customer-focused, solution-driven approach. We do this by leveraging value streams. This is a key construct of SAFe that allows us to organize around delivering tangible customer value. It enables us to incorporate faster, iterative learning, achieve a shorter time to market, offer a higher-quality solution, and apply lean-budgeting practices.
Develop on Cadence, Release on Demand
As our customers pivot to new ways of consuming our key products, we have aligned ourselves to deliver the most amount of value in the areas that make the most difference. Much of this value is focused on simplicity, efficiency, and resiliency. In a cloud context, we are aligned to a release-on-demand model that gives us the ability to react quickly to real-time issues in our own managed cloud services.
For example, we introduced Local Host Cache (LHC) to improve resiliency in cloud deployments. This enables us to fortify and improve any and all Citrix-managed services through a staged canary roll-out, without any intervention by you — our customer.
Ownership Through Deployment — Merging Dev and Ops
At Citrix, we’re evolving beyond DevOps and instilling a culture of ownership through the iterative development cycle, through deployment to production. By organizing around value and promoting an engineering framework that discourages siloed behavior, we can accomplish two major goals that have direct impacts on the value of our deliverables to customers:
- Deliver a solution that directly solves the problems of our customers through a solution-oriented approach
- Improved quality through continuous end-user validation
Culture vs. Process
We’ve all heard the phrase “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” made famous by the book with that as its title. The bottom line here is that you can’t ignore culture. There have been various publications on how enterprises can manage change. One that stands out is the Prosci ADKAR model, which drives change through awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. Implementing an Lean-Agile mindset addresses each of these through a phased approach.
- Driving awareness by instituting metrics that show the flow through a Kanban system. An example of this is instituting work in progress or WiP limits that drive the awareness of where the bottlenecks are that prohibit flow.
- Harnessing the intrinsic desire and motivation of knowledge workers to refine their skill sets to promote innovation.
- Providing the knowledge to a strong development organization with the tools on how to improve by working in short-cycle iterations and provide dedicated time for innovation.
- Promoting the ability of our organization to accept and promote change through desire for relentless improvement.
- Reinforcing the core message by showcasing quick wins and showcasing customer validation.
In summary, we’re continuing to evolve our practices to deliver faster and more incrementally, all while maintaining a higher-quality bar so that you, our customers, can focus on doing what you do best — running your enterprise.