Transparency and self-organisation for sustainable change

Agile transformation at a large IT service provider

Overview

Client: IT-Dienstleister

Methods: Scrum, Kanban,

Year: 2018/19

Branch: Finances, Software

We helped a large IT service provider (financial sector) in Germany to establish transparency, communication and self-organisation within a department, thus ensuring delivery and adaptability. These form the basis for the development of forward-looking innovations and high-performance data centres.

Challenge

A project area of one of the largest financial IT service providers in the German market wants to achieve a sustainable improvement in delivery capability and continue to drive change independently after the start of agile transformation.

Result

If you draw the line under our collaboration and filter the essence of it, one statement remains very clear in the room:

“We are Censhare!”

The combination of the shared vision for a global product and the newly ignited Censhare spirit strengthen the entire company.

As a result, transparency and expectation management have improved, and the product release has been successfully brought to market.

Our approach

Making work transparent

Use of a cross-functional team as an experiment

Widespread use of cross-functional teams

Transformation of the overall project

Sustainable competence development

Executive coaching

This is how our assignment went

In November 2018, about 35 employees were working on various requirements in the project area. The project management and all those involved lacked an overall view. Silos had formed, there were waiting times and little coordination among the project staff, unclear dependencies and blockers. This resulted in a very high coordination effort for the project management in distributing tasks and monitoring the project goal. Our mission was to create transparency about the progress of the projects, to increase the speed of implementation and to achieve more security regarding the ability to deliver.

Increase transparency

Based on the objectives, we first created a task board to increase transparency. In addition, we established a stand-up three times a week to intensify communication between the project staff. These two structural changes to their daily work routine were very well received by the team, so that the first successes were quickly achieved.

From this point on in the project, the real exploration of new things began: the second measure was to form a cross-functional team as an experiment that could autonomously implement a requirement. This team started working with user stories for the first time and also conducted stand-ups, plannings and retrospectives.

After the team had worked very successfully with this, a step followed that was as courageous as it was influential: the entire project team decided in spring 2019 that they all wanted to work in cross-functional teams in the future.

Introduction of cross-functional teams

Transformation of the overall project

The way was now paved for the transformation of the overall project to a new, agile way of working. We could begin to continue the project on several organisational levels. Specifically, this transformation involved setting up three levels, each with different tasks and goals:

  • Strategic level
  • Multi-team level
  • Team level

On the strategic level, the project management deals with planning and prioritising the requirements.

The goal of the multi-team level is to create an overall view and make dependencies transparent. Furthermore, there are stand-ups, retrospectives and reviews at this level.

The goal of the team level is to implement requirements in a self-organised and autonomous manner. To this end, the teams have actively shaped their own artefacts (board, stand-up, planning and retrospective), contributed ideas and taken responsibility. At the same time, we defined common work rules and procedures throughout the project (such as Definition of Done, test procedures, stories).

In order to create the conditions for sustainable development, in addition to the transformation of the overall project, we have trained volunteer project members in coaching skills and methodological knowledge.

Sustainability through competence development

Leadership coaching

Throughout the transformation, we also coached the project management and the executive on their issues and challenges.

  • Increased transparency about project progress
  • Intensive communication in the overall project
  • Independent and self-organised teams
  • Transformation on a multi-team level
  • Learning and adaptive approach
  • Leadership has room for cross-cutting issues

This allows our client to continue to compete strongly with forward-looking innovations and high-performance data centres, even in turbulent times.

What has changed permanently:

Key Learnings

#1 Courage pays off

Be open to experimentation. The venture is worth it, keep the risk manageable.

#2 Overcoming silo thinking

Even in a slow-changing environment, cross-functional teams can generate high value.

#3 Change of perspective brings new opportunities

Even in a highly regulated context, there is individual room for manoeuvre and opportunities for change.

How do we want to start?

Our offer is as individual as your task. Talk to us, we listen. We take the time to understand your situation. Holistically. Without obligation. Promise.

Arrange a consultation today.

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