Seamless Payments – A Story of Successful SAFe Transformation

To sum up, the case study of Seamless is evidence that small or medium-sized companies can benefit from a scaled agile framework with custom modifications.”

Challenge:

  • Multiple environments
  • Feature requests coming from different markets
  • Synchronizing work between teams (Software Engineering department spans 4 countries)
  • A way to deal with inevitable change of culture due to fast growth

Industry:

Technology, Financial

Introduction

Founded in 2011, and active in more than 30 countries, Seamless handles more than 3.0 billion transactions annually, making it one of the world largest suppliers of payment systems for mobile phones. Perhaps best known for its flagship mobile wallet product, SEQR (se•cure), the fast-moving Stockholm-based company has grown from 50 to 200 employees in 2 years, and is pursuing an expansive growth strategy that has presented challenges both technical and organizational.

Challenges

Seamless Payments - A Story of Successful SAFe Transformation
  • Multiple environments
  • Feature requests coming from different markets
  • Synchronizing work between teams (Software Engineering department spans 4 countries)
  • A way to deal with inevitable change of culture due to fast growth

Wanting to avoid the unnecessary bureaucracy that often comes with expansion, they turned to a scaled-down version of SAFe—along with major technical investments in the deployment pipeline—to provide a structure that would provide a solution for current challenges, and accommodate growing complexity.

More Stories in Less Time—Despite Setbacks

Seamless Payments - A Story of Successful SAFe Transformation

The story of this SAFe transformation is published in InfoQ, and comes from Agile and Lean Product Development Expert, Mikael Lundgren, and Seamless Payments’ Software Engineering Manager, Tomek Pająk. They provide an account of the experience that is rich with detail, and goes beyond tactical execution to include the strategical thinking behind this scaled-down transformation. They recount:

  • How they down-scaled SAFe while maintaining its core ideas
  • Tools utilized for managing backlogs of features, epics, and stories
  • Recruiting Scrum Masters to act as Agile coaches for entire organization
  • Establishing new roles to better support working environment
  • Introducing WIP-limited program execution where work is planned in Agile Release Trains

Many thanks to the study authors, Mikael Lundgren and Tomek Pająk, for sharing your story and providing inspiration for small to medium-sized companies seeking scalable solutions as they face similar growth challenges.

Read the full story in the InfoQ article, Downscaling SAFe.

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Suggested Case Study:

Standard Bank

Accenture – Benefits of SAFe in Professional Services

Accenture - Benefits of SAFe in Professional Services

Enhanced SAFe processes are key to attaining solution alignment between different scrum teams.

Industry:

Professional Services

The partner that made it happen:

Introduction

As many companies struggle to implement Agile at scale in distributed environments, this case study describes Accenture’s experience enabling faster delivery and speed-to-market by implementing Agile programs using SAFe, along with adoption of DevOps principles. 

Accenture - Benefits of SAFe in Professional Services

Accenture is a $30 billion global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 336,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for from 2009-2015. As part of their effort to accelerate software delivery, Accenture has adopted Agile and DevOps on a large scale across its Global Delivery Network, leveraging the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) with a range of tools. In addition, Accenture helps its clients successfully shift to Agile development using SAFe along with DevOps to drive high performance.

In the provided case study, Accenture shares its insights on addressing process, organization, and tool challenges, including:

  • Solution misalignment between teams
  • Integration of Agile with Waterfall
  • Different timezones, customs, and cross-team activities
  • Different DevOps tools between teams

Early Quantitative Benefits

The early benefits are compelling:

  • 50% improvement in merge and retrofit (based on the actual effort tracked)
  • 63% improvement in software configuration management (effort to support SCM activities)
  • 59% improvement in quality costs (percentage of defects attributed to SCM and deployment)
  • 90% improvement in build and deployment (process and effort to raise deployment requests)

Early Qualitative Benefits

  • Improved demand management and traceability from portfolio through to Agile delivery teams
  • Granular configuration management and traceability
  • Integration with Agile lifecycle tools to allow story-based, configuration management driven from meta data
  • Real-time traceability of status for build and deployment
  • Automated build and deployments, including “one-button deployment”
  • Developer efficiencies as a consequence of improved tool interaction times and processes

Many thanks to Accenture’s Mirco Hering, APAC lead for DevOps and Agile, Andrew Ball, senior manager, and Ajay Nair, APAC Agile lead for Accenture Digital, for taking the time to share their insights and learnings. Their story is an inspiration to all of us in the SAFe community.

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Suggested Case Study: Royal Philips

Elekta – Implementing SAFe for Lean-Agile Practices

Elekta is a human care company pioneering clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. They develop sophisticated, state-of-the-art tools and treatment planning systems for radiation therapy, radiosurgery and brachytherapy, as well as workflow enhancing software systems across the spectrum of cancer care. Headquartered in Stockholm, Elekta employs around 3,800 employees globally in 30 countries.

Industry:

Software

Overview

Implementing SAFe for Lean-Agile Practices

Every day 100,000 patients receive diagnosis, treatment or follow-up by an Elekta solution

Elekta’s development goal is to enhance patient and customer value by providing solutions that improve, prolong and save lives better and faster. With teams working in several time zones, and individual members having different backgrounds and history working on separate products, their challenge was to create an environment where teams could better align with global priorities and with each other.

In 2007, Elekta adopted Scrum, but in their attempt to scale up, they saw that the Scrum teams were operating in silos which created issues with dependency, integration, and visibility of the big picture, all causing lack of clarity on overall objectives and plan. Wanting to address all areas of the enterprise, Elekta took a holistic view and introduced SAFe to their Scrum teams, launching their first Agile Release Train (ART) in 2013. Soon thereafter, they expanded to the Program level and trained all of their teams.

Today, Elekta is running 4 ARTs with 20 teams across three continents. Their SAFe journey has delivered significant gains and improvements in several areas, provided valuable lessons learned, as well as a roadmap to refine their value streams, and tackle ongoing challenges, including a deeper integration of Lean-Agile practices at the Portfolio level. Here are the highlights:

Introduction of SAFe Led to Key Changes in the Organization

  • Introduced Rally for Agile project management
  • Adopted organization and roles for SAFe (RTE, PM/PO, UX, EA, Agile coaches)
  • Streamlined development tooling and processes
  • Updated the Quality System for Agile development
  • Simplified project time reporting

Gains Made Through Introduction of SAFe

  • Improved quality
  • Cross site and cross functional collaboration
  • PI Planning provides both vertical and horizontal alignment
  • Transparency through Rally, reports, and  SAFe ceremonies
  • Agile Portfolio estimation & planning drives realistic Portfolio plan

Elekta’s Top 3 Tips for Starting up SAFe

  • Get buy-in from management—this is not isolated to development
  • Plan for a lot of training and exchange of practices to ensure an understanding of the principles behind (the mechanics are easy to learn). Bring in consultants/experts!
  • Use Agile to introduce it (don’t wait until everything is planned and in control, just start!)

Take a moment to read the Speaker notes in the PowerPoint; you’ll see that Elekta has been generous with sharing some of the context and nuance that can be especially helpful for anyone going through a transformation.

Much can be learned from their experience; perhaps the most important takeaway is that a successful Lean-Agile transformation requires, right from the start, buy-in from Leadership and team training with experts. There’s still much work to be done at Elekta, but because they got it right at the beginning of the process, Elekta has the edge when it comes to realizing the business benefits of adopting SAFe, faster.

Many thanks to Elekta’s Director of Engineering, Petrine Herbai, Manager of Engineering, Lars Gusch, and our Gold Partner, Rally Software; we appreciate all the great information you have shared, and look forward to hearing more about your continuing journey of transformation.

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Suggested Case Study: Royal Philips