Leaders at a large retailer recognized that it was time to update their Waterfall software development strategy. They saw a way to ensure more projects would reach successful completion faster and on budget. They also wanted to further define and streamline their project intake and flow processes. With internal teams strapped for resources, our client looked for outside experts to come work alongside internal leaders, to define, establish, and embed new processes in the company. While the company’s retail business is at the top of their market segment, to remain successful the company’s Information Systems Group would need to reduce cost and delays that contributed to project failures, and address waning employee satisfaction. To increase project success rates while boosting employee satisfaction the Information Systems Group determined a transition to Agile Software Development was needed.
To support this decision, the client established a new Agile Coaching office to train people, coach teams, and support the transformation to Agile development and work methods. The new Agile Coaching team would evangelize the Agile methods that have proven successful at many other companies, increasing project success rates and decreasing delivery times, resulting in happier, more empowered employees that are measurably more productive.
The retail company brought in Kalles Group to support a team of Agile coaches and internal employees tasked with transitioning the Information Systems Group teams’ workflow from Waterfall to Agile. To get the team started on the right foot, the first action was to define a list of desired outcomes, then to set up the coaching office to provide intensive training on Agile practices and coaching. Specific agile practice training sessions included Scrum and Kanban, while the coaching sessions specifically addressed mentoring and facilitation. By setting up document storage systems, status report templates, metric tracking systems, and a prioritized work intake process Kalles Group laid the foundation for the work to begin. Creating a single place for coaching requests to be received, tracked, and prioritized would ensure all follow-ups would be scheduled and requests would not fall through the cracks. To ensure the new processes became embedded in the organization, Kalles Group team members acted as scrum master for the team and also overhauled processes for budget reporting, contracts, purchase orders, access privileges, badges, and other department needs. Finally, Kalles Group team members facilitated the coaching offices’ scrum ceremonies – leading by example.
The newly created Agile Coaching PMO is more organized, efficient and purposeful, delivering the training, coaching, and support needs unique to this retail technology department.
The Kalles Group helped create agile job role descriptions, working with human resources to create two new roles, Scrum Master and Product Owner, that are well defined and documented both for current employees acting in these roles today, as well as new hires looking to join the company. New work intake processes developed by the Kalles Group recorded and prioritized the critical information raised in those essential hallway conversations, ensuring each coaching request had the follow-through it needed. Individual Information Systems team trainings helped teams get started on the right foot. Teams were tracked in their agile maturity, with learning roadmaps and metrics to make the work transparent and prove team success. The result is a new Agile Coaching office that is more organized, efficient and purposeful, delivering the training, coaching, and support needs unique to this retail technology department. The Agile values and results-driven methodologies would deliver decreased delivery times and improved employee satisfaction the organization would need for continued success.
The Agile Coaching office has begun to transform this retail company’s Information Systems Group practices, with a new department that is more productive, efficient, and functional. Changes include metrics that deliver an accurate state-of-the-department view at a glance, and transparency into how teams are performing and when they will enter the next phase of transition. Training sessions are bringing coaches, employees, and managers up to speed with essential information they need to be successful. A powerful new work intake process supports the Information Systems Group department by ensuring the team prioritizes work follow-up and all requests are addressed. New agile roles have been created to ensure the right support in the right places to continue the department’s success. Preliminary results show an increased demand for coaching requests, a positive sign that Agile will soon be established as the new way of doing business within a transformed organization.
Roadmap for Success