People and the ways they work together are fundamental to a company’s success. Those who aspire to greater Agility need to be fully committed to change inside and out. Understanding the journey and all its implications is vital to achieving full success.
Our Client is a British insurance company with a 200-year-old brand revived by a new innovative, management team backed by Private Equity Finance. They are passionate about helping families and their children with critical illness and life policies.
We were invited by the new CTO and her team to discuss problems they were facing to match the overall business ambition, particularly with releasing new products.
They were keen to know how the technical estate could be shaped better to support product releases more frequently and reliably.
Recent product releases had been painful. Late with severe quality issues and staff working unhealthy hours to compensate (burnout).
During our technical discovery, we had cause to reflect on the team’s ways of working, business processes and management. This is not unusual for us and very often find work management and decision-making can have a far bigger impact on a business than the IT tools it buys and general IT estate management.
This cycle was deeply embedded
Our client recognised the problem and previously tried Agile techniques to help resolve the problem of delivery. We demonstrated the problem very clearly using examples of work and the words from their own teams.
They accepted they had little experience of agile delivery and we agreed to provide training to all staff, and the Board, with a 101 Primer. The training was well received, and the Board recognised the inherent dangers of loading the programme with too many projects and also the role of incremental thinking and planning and the difficulties in estimating. It is our observation that it is important to stress the underlying principles of agile rather than assuming performing the ceremonies blindly will work.
ABN provided Agile training to enable the team to learn the skills via gamification rather than parrot fashion.
We provided further coaching on-site for a key project alongside the technical changes we were leading and also stressed the need for third-party suppliers needed to be aligned to this way of thinking.
It is our observation that these problems are common to many businesses and buy-in from senior managers to sponsor change is fundamental to any cultural change programme.
Not to the standards we set ourselves. The issues of overloading the catalogue of change projects still remained where the fear, or desire, to “get everything done” converted into start everything now.
We know we left many things in a better shape creating better alignment among suppliers on our customer’s principal business critical project, improving early-stage and regular testing, streamlining documentation, and bringing visibility to requirements and regular work reviews.
The project went live and the client is making significant revenues off the back of it as anticipated. Although we feel the project showed great improvement we did not gain the advantage of top-to-bottom collaboration and prioritisation that would have yielded far more.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.
Changing a business’ way of thinking and working is a substantial undertaking and there are many ways to achieve it. And like all change, there first must be an internal decision to change that is firmly committed to, which is followed by actions to externalise that decision
Agility requires a change to dynamic planning, a laser-like focus on discovery and value creation coupled with disciplined prioritisation.
It is not swapping around some project management methodology! It is hard work but the rewards of a highly responsive organisation, really making a difference, in our opinion is still worth vesting in.
And finally, we cannot stress enough that cultural change like this must involve the whole organisation, top to bottom, to be fully successful.
Imagine consultants that actually do something!
We work with companies who need the benefit and experience of senior IT practitioners, able to tackle challenging problems of scale, change and IT management, But, who don’t want or cannot afford the full-time salary on their books
With ABN you do not need to compromise on quality or break the bank to give your company a boost in managing technology
And yes we are a bit geeky but we take your business very seriously indeed