- Pockets of Agility were transitioning to new technologies, processes and ways of working, but the broader corporate landscape was following traditional practices. They needed alignment.
- Throughout the first Program Increments, it became evident that not all work came from the central Program Backlog. A game of whack-a-mole ensued. While one way of avoiding the change approval process was closed down, another one would appear.
- Simplifying seven ‘pseudo portfolios’ into a single portfolio. SAFe®’s definition of a Portfolio is “a set of investments”. In SAFe®’s case, the investment is made in Agile Release Trains.
- LV= GI, like many others, wanted to capitalise their software development. They would achieve this through time reporting; every developer, every Friday afternoon, had to log their weekly hours against a project code. It was deemed unproductive
The Solution and the Results
At IJI, we place emphasis on helping people to help themselves. We worked with LV= GI to ensure that key personnel within the organisation, most notably their PMO, had a deep understanding of the principles behind Lean-Agile development. We helped organise the staff into Agile Release Trains and coached them through their first few planning events.
With a little steering advice from IJI, the LV= GI team were able to start changing the processes. Organic changes in behaviours and culture within the organisation began to unfold. This principle-based approach allowed individuals to make sensible assessments of whether the organisation’s processes and practices fit the Lean and Agile approach that they were trying to adopt.
Laura Russell, GI Change and Governance Manager, who led the project at LV= GI explained that there were inevitable challenges to get everyone onboard to begin with.
Various back-door routes (for getting teams to do work) were eventually shut down, and things started to be channelled into the central GI Portfolio. The release trains and scrum teams were still empowered to manage local change, but under the oversight of the Product Management team rather than via ad hoc requests.
One individual portfolio was defined and given increased leadership. This portfolio was owned by LV= GI’s Executive Committee who make investment and value decisions; what trains to fund, what work should consume funding.
Working with the Finance team, the capitalisation process was rewritten to make it work for Agile. Finance were very open to the change and it was a great collaboration. Work is now capitalised on an epic basis, and the monthly reporting required is supported by tooling that was configured specifically to suit the task. Friday afternoon time recording was abandoned, uplifting motivation and productivity.
To encourage the wider adoption of Agile, PMO revamped their dashboards and health checks to better suit Agile. Scrum metrics were widely introduced and typical Agile metrics such as predictability and team Agility checks were adopted. Whereas before the scrum teams were having to fit into waterfall ways of working, now the onus was on encouraging and strengthening Agile adoption across the whole of change delivery.
Laura stated the benefits of adopting Agile have been even more evident in 2020.