Velden Ltd.

Agile Transformation

Scenario

A Fortune10 Communications and Media client embarked on an agile transformation journey.  A well-received proof of concept was developed and a pilot was successfully launched. The transformation effort stalled after the pilot. AustinCSI was engaged to assist:

  • Identify and assess transformation failure points
  • Provide organizational strategy recommendations
  • Deliver coaching and training specific to development, creative and business teams

Strategy

AustinCSI integrated with the client team responsible for the agile transformation effort.  AustinCSI provided advisory services as well as acted as agile coaches and scrum masters.  It was concluded from our research and analysis that the deployment phase of the transformation effort stalled due to traditional areas of concern:

    • Improper education and training for impacted development teams and supporting teams
    • Confusion with the implementation approach, which at times conflated waterfall and agile
    • Deficient organizational aware
    • Inappropriate funding model
    • Insufficient executive support
    • Resistance from supporting teams (development leadership, user experience, business ownership, PMO)

We found that these areas of difficulty compounded onto themselves in self-perpetuating feedback.

AustinCSI

Responding to the Problem

AustinCSI performed the following to address the identified areas of concerns:

  • Collaborated with an array of stakeholders to research and understand the client’s history, culture, needs, and fears (above)
  • Researched where and why failure and risk were occurring (above)
  • Approached the scenario from a whole-systems perspective, treating it not as an “Agile Transformation” failure but as a “Change Management” misfire
  • Designed a top-down/bottom-up strategy to secure both leadership sponsorship and ground level buy-in, while recruiting key players for a “core” change team
  • Created an easily communicated vision of how agile can improve the clients SDLC and product lifecycle
  • Established a process for transforming waterfall groups into scrum teams, tailored to the client’s particular needs and organizational culture
  • Refined tool usage (eg, Rally, JIRA) to drive ease of use and improved reporting
  • Worked with teams on a daily basis to provide continual improvement to the scrum process and overall lean thinking

Device Specific

AustinCSI performed the following to address the identified areas of concerns:

  • Conducted an assessment to research and understand the client’s history, culture, vision, needs, and fears
  • Implemented change management practices and techniques to drive acceptance, convert the client’s culture, transform waterfall groups into scrum teams and resolve change resistance
    • Hosted bi-weekly brownbag lunches to drive continuous awareness, value and benefit of the transformation
    • Demonstrated relationship management practices to foster collaboration and culture change
  • Enhanced the resource mix, skills and knowledge of the core change team
  • Designed a stakeholder management strategy to secure leadership sponsorship and ground level buy-in
    • Solicited increased executive support by establishing regular touch points with senior leadership to highlight progress, roadmap compliance, and measurable benefits
  • Deployed a communication management strategy to convey the value of agile in improving the client’s SDLC and product lifecycle
  • Refined tool usage (Rally, JIRA) for ease of use and improved reporting
  • Instituted continuous improvement processes to enhance the scrum process and overall lean thinking
  • Provided education and training consisting of:
    • Conducted multiday scrum training for newly minted scrum teams, based on a scrum model tailored to client needs
    • Developed a client centric training library in video and print
  • Facilitated team and project kick-offs and release planning events
  • Instituted continuous improvement and risk mitigation practices
    • Delivered a Proof of Concept for a second stage transformation outlining six key areas for improvement:
      • Code quality and deployment
      • Data and metrics
      • Roles and resourcing
      • Priority and focus
      • Culture and trust
      • Project funding, sizing and intake

Results

This transformation effort resulted in a high degree of success, though not without obstacles along the way. Four years after the transformation efforts began, the company continues to use an agile and scrum model nearly identical to the initial creation. Delivery is measurably more flexible, business and product ownership continue an increased engagement throughout the SDLC, and average project lifecycle remains decreased.