Leveraging learnings from across the enterprise to upskill and accelerate capability development

After three previous attempts to bring this project to fruition, we were brought in to advise the executive on how to reboot and set up a new project initiative with extremely tight timeframes. This was the fourth attempt at this critical project so the spotlight was on. An Agile approach was adopted as we wanted to iteratively and incrementally building and experiment to get feedback quickly given the complexity and criticality of this project to succeed. Our enterprise agile coaches were engaged by this large organisation to stand up  Delivery and Product Management from scratch to new agile teams that would be delivering this work.

We had been working as Enterprise level coaches across this organization for the past 2-3 years (over 10,000+ staff across multiple sites and geographical regions). Here, we’ve been able to leverage learnings from other areas and programs we had worked with that had been working in agile ways and apply these to the new program group to accelerate their maturity to have a baseline of competence within 3-6 months. At scale, we were aware that consistency and standardisation of approach across the enterprise was an organisational agility initiative and that we should leverage patterns that would help them achieve their objectives faster.  

The key to this successful outcome was a seamless sustainable approach, in line with the organisational agile operating model, ensuring minimal disruption to key business activities.

Our Approach

We adopted an evidenced based approach to working out what would work for this new initiative and avoid the traps from previous project attempts. 

We provided coaching support and mentoring to key program level staff, agile teams and business stakeholders, to develop foundation knowledge in agile and scaling patterns. We worked closely with leadership to align to the organizational agile frameworks and also apply patterns within their context.

Standing anything up from scratch is hard, especially if you they have not been exposed to working in this way before. We set up a Product Management group to prioritize features and developed a transition roadmap to assist in an effortless transition. Prioritization of features for delivery was critical to meet the tight timeframes and WSJF (weighted shortest job first) was implemented as the organizational preferred method of prioritization at Program level. 

To upskill teams and their leadership, we also ran a number of targeted knowledge workshops to help upskill and build capability across the product management group leading this initiative including:

  • The benefits of agile and why there is an organizational need to work in this way.
  • The overarching framework, key concepts, roles, responsibilities, processes and practices.
  • Understanding the value stream and pipeline funnel of work from ideation to delivery and and how this flows throughout the end to end system.
  • How to ensure business and development work collaboratively throughout the project to delivery business value and outcomes sought for customers.
  • Team level agility and how to scale this to the program.
  • Scaling frameworks and integration patterns.
  • Vertical slicing of stories and estimations and why this is important.

Metrics that matter

ZXM’s agile coaching supported the Department of Health to reduce their time to delivery from 12 to 3 months.

bug

Decreasing trends for defects

Better quality

Business value

Revenue and Customer uptake

Improvement in customer experience

Innovate and make it easier

Time to market

Decrease time it takes form ideation to delivery

Success so far

We are now 6 months down the track and we have ten agile delivery teams working collaboratively on the outcomes and most have achieved a baseline competency in agile compared to where we would expect teams with only 6 months experience of working in this way. We were able to:

  • Accelerate building capability by leveraging learnings from other programs in this organisation
  • Use peer networks and communities of practice to support and share patterns.

So far our defect rate is decreasing and our client’s product management group are working from a single prioritised product backlog. There is greater transparency of progress and iterations of the product for business customers to review every sprint. We still have some challenges  and a number of sprints to go however early signs are that fourth time’s the charm. 

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