The Feld Group Institute and Scaled Agile, Inc. Collaboration and White Paper

As an “Institute”, we are a professional organization dedicated to leadership development; this allows us not only to teach but also to learn from clients, our Affiliates, program participants, and partners, all while keeping pace with market trends. As we continue to work with more than 40 large enterprises in our community, we’ve witnessed and encouraged the growing breadth of adoption of Scaled Agile, Inc.’s SAFe® framework for developing and delivering software and systems. We have found the implementation of SAFe® helps our clients deliver quality business value faster and naturally feed the DevOps and CI/CD pipeline. However, the SAFe® framework identifies the need for, but does not prescribe an approach for developing alignment with enterprise strategies and objectives – both business and technology.

The Feld Group Institute’s approach to transformation planning and leadership majors in thinking, justifying, planning, and architecting BIG (multi-year, enterprise-wide) while focusing on all three essential outcomes. The resulting Enterprise Technology Strategy clarifies, the WHY from the Enterprise Business Strategy and translates that into the WHAT, HOW, WHO, and WHEN. This provides the business and architectural context for effective, modern software development. SAFe® is the most successful and widely adopted approach for large enterprises to learn agile software development practices and transform their ability to develop and implement SMALL – continuous delivery of business value in a high-frequency cadence with necessary quality and minimal risk. The combination of these two frameworks is a powerful way for enterprises to achieve true business agility.

We are proud to be publishing, in concert with Scaled Agile, Inc., a new white paper called Eliminating the Blind Spot: A Proven Approach to Enterprise Technology Strategy Formulation. This paper articulates the synergies between our approach to strategy and the SAFe® approach to execution.

This paper would not have been possible without the Scaled Agile team and the expertise, experience, time, creativity, and guidance of The Feld Group Institute Affiliates. Special thanks to Jennifer Segui, J.R. Jesson, Vivek Vijayaraghavan, Russell Villemez, Mary Contreras, and Charlie Feld. We greatly appreciate the open, collaborative, and learning approach from Dean Leffingwell, Harry Koehnemann, and Inbar Oren from Scaled Agile. We are eager to continue our collaboration.

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Vivek Vijayaraghavan

Affiliate, The Feld Group Institute

Deep technical expertise in formulating IT strategy and architecture.

Vivek Vijayaraghavan is an Affiliate with the Feld Group Institute and managing partner at Synapse IT, LLC. He works closely with his clients to help define and deliver major IT transformation and modernization initiatives while bridging the gap between business and technology.

With over 22 years of experience in Information Technology, Travel, Transportation, Hospitality, Education, Restaurant, Logistics, Waste Management, Finance and Retail Industries, Vivek has been involved in planning and leading the delivery of comprehensive solutions that encompasses business, applications, technology, operations and governance functions within the enterprise.

Vivek has played multiple roles while enabling delivery including but not limited to business process analysis, architecture and design, data management, infrastructure design as well as project and program management. He leverages this diverse expertise in establishing and executing long-term and short-term technology directives as well as performing vendor product and solution evaluations and recommendations.

In one of his recent client engagements, Vivek led the delivery of next generation Web, Mobile and E-Commerce platform. This included assisting digital marketing business units in defining the business & IT Roadmap to enable online self-service capabilities for customers as well as enabling a digital platform to view products & pricing, bill pay, checkout, account management functions.

Some of Vivek’s client consulting engagement includes Bank of Montreal, Republic Services, Brinker International, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, UTi and PepsiCo. Prior to that, Vivek was actively engaged in leading delivery of data and messaging services by partnering with various business groups within Hewlett-Packard, EDS, Sabre and American Airlines.

Vivek’s passion has been around data and messaging services. He is currently exploring data science conceptualization as applicable to applied statistical models and predictive analytics for valuable business insights. Vivek earned his Masters in Computer Science Engineering at UT Arlington, Texas and Bachelors in Electronics Engineering at University of Chennai, India.

Russell Villemez

Affiliate, The Feld Group Institute

Head of Technology Strategy, Dialexa – a Feld Group Institute partner

Highly regarded CTO and change agent with IT strategy and enterprise architecture expertise.

Russell Villemez is an Affiliate with the Feld Group Institute and the head of Technology Strategy at Dialexa, a Technology Research, Design and Creation firm that works with organizations on initiatives such as Operational Transformation, Business Growth, and New Venture Creation.

During 17 years in operational roles and 15 years in consulting roles, Russell has worked across a variety of industries in both executive leadership positions and as a subject matter expert. Russell thrives on the scale and complexity of leading major change agendas in large corporate environments.

Recent consulting clients include AmerisourceBergen, the American Automobile Association, Brinker International, Cubic, Equifax, and Cox Automotive. A common thread is the client’s need for strong leadership during a period of change—whether motivated by acquisitions, spin-offs, competitive pressures, or other factors. Clients also benefit from Russell’s expertise in enterprise architecture, agile development, application portfolio rationalization, technology and architecture strategy, as well as business strategy and commercial software product development.

Recognized as a versatile IT executive, adept at solving complex problems with innovative solutions, Russell’s capabilities and achievements span a continuum from business-strategy formation to hands-on IT solution development. His extensive career achievements include pioneering the first use of relational databases in high-volume transaction systems in the ‘80s, applying voice recognition DSPs in public intelligent network services for consumer markets in the ‘90s, and leading large-scale adoptions of open systems, object technology, and middleware frameworks in complex business environments, often in advance of commercially available software products.

Prior to joining Dialexa, Russell served at HP as Enterprise Services Chief Technology Officer for the Americas, leading a global capability for embedded Account CTOs in large enterprises. Russell began his career at Accenture, where he first crafted his consultative problem-solving approach, later honed at A.T. Kearny and the Feld Group. Russell’s deep telecom experience is built upon numerous director and enterprise architect positions at AT&T, Bell Atlantic, Telstra, US West, Pacific Bell, and Sprint, and as V.P. and CIO for WebLink Wireless.

Russell has a BS in Business Administration from Louisiana State University and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. In his spare time, Russell participates in amateur auto racing, and is a driving instructor with the Porsche Club of America.

Jennifer Segui

Affiliate, The Feld Group Institute

Strategic business architect with broad leadership experience in IT planning and transformation.

Jennifer Segui is an Affiliate with the Feld Group Institute and the President of JEJ Segui Consulting, LLC. Jennifer assists clients in the design and development of multi-year strategic IT plans, which set the foundation for IT transformation and the modernization of legacy assets.

With 25 years of experience as an IT executive leading a broad range of global IT functions and enterprise programs, Jennifer has consistently been recognized as a top-performing strategic business architect and IT utility player who is well versed in business process architecture, business transformations, applications development, business intelligence, systems integration, enterprise quality, R&D, and knowledge management. Jennifer has been a noted contributing author and executive sponsor to various IT industry standard frameworks.

As an Affiliate with the Feld Group Institute, Jennifer has had the opportunity to coach and mentor leading corporations such as Southwest Airlines, FedEx, Intel, Cummins, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Brinker International, WestRock, and Cubic as they designed multi-faceted IT strategies and plans.

Earlier in her career, as an Executive Director with Hewlett-Packard, Jennifer led the Worldwide Applications Services Portfolio, Portfolio Lifecycle Management, and Applications Services Standards organizations. Her responsibilities included managing a $220M budget and 450-person global organization. Jennifer also led key integration activities related to Hewlett-Packard’s acquisition of EDS. Prior to that acquisition, Jennifer served at EDS as Senior Director of the worldwide Applications Services Integration and Automation program, Director of Applications Standards & Quality, and Director, Applications Industry Frameworks Development Teams.

Jennifer joined EDS after a 10-year career progression with Delta Technology, a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. Jennifer held leadership positions in applications development, business process architecture, standards development, research, modeling and design, and data warehouse and business intelligence.

Jennifer earned a double major Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication and Sociology, with an emphasis in Human Relations, from The Florida State University.

J.R. Jesson

Affiliate, The Feld Group Institute

Founder, Arrowhead Labs – a Feld Group Institute partner

Expertise in technology strategy, enterprise agile methods, DevOps, cyber security, enterprise architecture.

J.R. Jesson is a Feld Group Institute Affiliate. In 2018, J.R. founded Arrowhead Labs, Inc. with the belief that every organization can achieve radical and sustained improvements in IT performance and business impact. The Arrowhead Labs team serve as technology advisors, teachers, and embedded coaches, helping our clients organically and sustainably transform into breakaway organizations. We’re experts in applying Feld Group Institute principles, enterprise agile methods like the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), DevOps, pragmatic architecture and appropriately applying both emerging and proven technologies, to ensure our clients can efficiently execute their transformation strategies to achieve business, architecture, and efficiency outcomes.

With 30 years of experience in various aspects of technology delivery, operations, and consulting, J.R. has led multiple enterprise functions, including enterprise architecture and innovation, product management, commercial software development, professional service delivery, and technology support services. His multifaceted career includes founding and growing a pioneering Internet services firm, delivering large-scale composite web service implementations for a global systems integrator, and development of enterprise products and services for multiple markets.

A proven technology expert and executive, J.R. leads complex IT transformation engagements for Feld clients with a hands-on approach both to strategy and execution leadership. He is adept at delivering high-quality results and sustainable practices to global enterprises as well as growth-oriented startups.

J.R. has a special expertise in enterprise architecture, as well as unique insights into the role that IT structural decisions can play in powering organizational growth and effectiveness. He embraces the challenge of serving clients with impactful, market-driven solutions. These attitudes and skills have been central in J.R.’s many consulting and leadership roles, which have included serving as a Senior Partner at Maxsam Partners, where he led technology transformation engagements; and having held senior IT roles leading e-Discovery software research, product development, and product management at Attenex Corp., and later at FTI Consulting.

Among his earlier career experiences, J.R. served at EDS as CTO, Applications Development Portfolio, and later as CTO, Application Services Field Operations. J.R. was CIO of an investor-driven turnaround of Go-Comm, which involved designing, building and deploying a converged Voice over IP (VOIP) offering in multiple markets. He co-founded Digital Pilot Corp., a pioneering Internet software development and integration firm. J.R. also led development for multiple software products, including KnowledgeTool, as well as real-time data collection systems for the U.S. Department of Defense.

While pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Computer Sciences at Creighton University, J.R. enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He served as a fulltime airborne computer specialist on the E-4B, the National Emergency Airborne Command Post, where J.R. received his first introduction to the ARPANET, the predecessor to today’s Internet. He completed his degree work summa cum laude.

Mary Contreras

Affiliate, The Feld Group Institute

Deeply experienced leader in the disciplines of Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture, strategic planning, and agile architecture practices.

Mary Contreras is an Affiliate with the Feld Group Institute and the founder of Contreras Consulting LLC, where she works with large corporations to develop, architect, and deliver major IT transformation and modernization initiatives, and assists clients in furthering and maturing their organization-wide enterprise and business architecture practices.

Mary has more than three decades of experience as a proven leader in business and systems architecture. She has spent a majority of her career in the transportation and logistics industry at the FedEx Corporation, is an expert in Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture practices, and has extensive experience in International Information Technology Solutions, Customs Clearance Systems, Network Systems, and Systems Development. Mary has held a number of senior roles in her tenure with FedEx, including leading their domestic and international Enterprise and Business Architecture efforts which focus on implementing agile architecture practices to identify, analyze, architect and execute strategic change. Her high level of skill in strategy development, business and systems architecture design, managing software development and implementing business driven projects in a global, distributed, computing environment have led to the creation of durable positive outcomes for the organizations she has worked with. 

Mary is dedicated to creating exceptional value for the enterprise, and is committed to improving the customer experience. Her ability to consistently and successfully work with business and IT teams has garnered her accolades for leadership, organizational planning, architectural leadership and global scale projects. She has been awarded multiple Five Star Awards from FedEx for Enterprise Architecture and Global Clearance Architecture support, in addition to numerous awards within the organization including Rising Star, All Star and Hall of Fame awards.

Mary’s extensive experience and proficiency in both Enterprise and Business Architecture, and her mastery of the Transformational Framework and its application, make her an exceptional coach and mentor for architects at all levels, from system to enterprise, across all domains, business, application, data and technology. As an Affiliate of The Feld Group Institute Mary shares her experience and insight with leaders who participate in the Operationalizing Enterprise Architecture class and the Technology Leadership Development Program.

Charlie Feld

Founder and CEO, The Feld Group Institute

Influential, insightful IT leader with broad perspective on information technology, leadership, and transformation.

Charlie Feld is the founder of The Feld Group Institute, a unique leadership development firm that works with global corporations to develop next-generation business and IT leaders. TFGI’s curriculum and management development activities draw heavily upon its founder’s leadership insights, operational experience, and time-tested strategic framework for enterprise success.

During his extraordinary 50-year career, Charlie has been committed to helping organizations and executives achieve IT-driven transformation. He has been frequently featured in the media, and has received numerous awards and accolades in recognition of his profound influence upon the IT industry, including the Smithsonian Award for Technology Excellence and the Carnegie Mellon Award for Innovative Technology.

As founder and CEO of The Feld Group, Charlie built a team of information technology executives that enabled dramatic results in Fortune 500 companies. The Feld Group specialized in transforming large, complex IT organizations with a two-year turnaround model that evolved into TFGI’s strategic framework.

The Feld Group served major corporate clients from its founding in 1992 until it was acquired by EDS in 2004. During this period, CIO Magazine named Charlie “One of the 12 Most Influential IT Executives of the Past Decade.” While directing The Feld Group, he served in numerous IT leadership and senior advisory roles, including as Interim CIO at Delta Air Lines, Burlington Northern Railroad, and First Data Resources; adviser to EDS’s CEO and board of directors; and mentor to the CIOs of WellPoint and FedEx. From 2004-2008, Charlie was a SEVP and Member of EDS’s Executive Committee.

Charlie’s perspectives on IT, leadership, transformation, and enterprise excellence were strongly impacted by formative career experiences at two world-class organizations, PepsiCo and IBM. At PepsiCo, he served from 1981-1992 as Frito-Lay Co.’s VP & Chief Information Officer; from 1981-83, he was Director, Management Services. Prior to this, Charlie held a number of Systems Engineering and Account Management roles at IBM from 1966-81.

Charlie holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the City University of New York, Hunter College. He is the author of two books on Leadership—The Blind Spot: A Leader’s Guide to IT-Enabled Business Transformation and The Calloway Way: Results & Integrity. In addition to extensive coverage in the media, The Feld Group’s work has been profiled in case studies by the Harvard Business School, MIT, and McKinsey & Co.

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