Building Capability and Maturity at Scale across Department of Industry

Scaling agile across the Division of a large government agency

The Situation

The Department of Industry has been using agile methods, including Scrum, Lean and Kanban to deliver projects for some time however the capability maturity of agile project delivery varies across the Department.

ZXM worked with CIO and General managers to develop the Agile framework for transition across the whole organisation and worked closely with leadership team to develop Product backlog, prioritise strategic initiatives and develop agile transition plan and roadmap for implementation.

The Solution

The coaching engagement was, designed to leverage ZXM’s experience in delivering agile projects at scale across government agencies to create the following outcomes:

  •  Support building agile experience by creating opportunities for the Team to learn from ZXM and build their experience in the use of agile methods on the job to reduce the likelihood of failure
  • Support continuous improvement by creating opportunities for the Team to learn and continuously improve the effectiveness of their delivery of their minimal viable product (MVP) model in a way that enables the project to deliver “more with less”
  • Enhanced collaboration through building highly collaborative planning and execution process aligned to agile ways of working such as Scrum
  • Enhanced repeatability by enabling the PMO to understand the factors that support agile project success, and lessons learned, so that other projects in the Department can be as successful in the way the deliver project outcomes
  • Enhanced transparency and predictability through developing an understanding of delivery that enabled the Department to create repeatable, sustainable agile methods and patterns that can be used in other programs

ZXM program agile coaches delivered training and coaching for the initial 3 pilot teams. After a successful pilot, ZXM helped to scale the agile framework across the Division.

ZXM helped the leadership team to develop a portfolio framework to get visibility and transparency of all the work being undertaken by the different areas. A pipeline team was set up as a Product Management team to develop features and provide these to the leadership for prioritisation using a weighted shortest job first (WSJF) framework. This enabled leadership to make decision on priorities based on strategic importance to the organisation. The intent was to build agile capability and maturity and develop long lived high performing teams. The mantra was to “bring the work to the teams” not the ”teams to the work”

Once a priority order was established, capacity planning in preparation for launch of first horizon  planning event was undertaken and teams held their first collaborative planning at a program level.

The Results

ZXM’s coaching at the Department demonstrated that capability maturity and cultural change are built iteratively and incrementally and by focusing on continuous improvement was able to see results with the team within 3 months. This reinforced our “start small” with the basics of agile and the agile principles pattern of working. We were mindful to use a pragmatic approach to get the right the balance between building knowledge, teaching people new agile techniques, and the need to ensure these are effective.

The Agile leadership team succeeded in delivering the CIOs desired outcome of creating greater transparency of work across the Division and ensuring that teams are focused on delivering the highest value work. It has become the principle way that work is made transparent, prioritised, planned and managed across the Division.

Within the 12 months of this engagement, there is improvement in Industry’s overall agile maturity. On the strength of the results achieved in the initial planning horizons, the agile framework was extended to additional programs and teams. Each horizon, additional teams were included until after 12 months the majority of the Division were participating with over 200 people involved in the ‘Horizon Planning’ events.

Capability maturity

Iteratively built maturity and capability and lead to cultural change across the division

Improved prioritisation

General managers had agreed priorities aligned to strategic needs

Improved transparency

Improved transparency and visibility of the entire program of work

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