Designing the Digital Future at Porsche

Learn how the separate worlds of vehicle engineering and IT came together at Porsche to reimagine the sports car of the future

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Revolutionary things can happen when pizza is being served. You’ll find out why when you join Porsche visionaries Mattias Ulbrich and Dr. Oliver Seifert for a candid discussion about transforming one of the world’s most iconic motoring brands into a digital-first pacesetter.

As huge technological advances usher in an automotive renaissance, Porsche is moving at top speed to meet the evolving needs of its customers. They are fully focused on making their cars a central element of their buyers’ lifestyle through digitalization, connectivity, and electromobility. This requires business agility, a new mindset, and a new way of working together. It also requires vehicle engineering and software teams to collaborate closely and to harmonize the differing speeds at which they traditionally work. This might have been daunting for any company that is as storied and successful as Porsche.

The most important thing is that you shouldn’t underestimate that the digital world is totally different from the physical world,” says Ulbrich.

But Porsche didn’t let this slow them down. To build bridges between the groups, the company created new opportunities for people to talk, learn, and understand each other. They created the Porsche “Takt,” the heartbeat that synchronizes the teams. They focus on results and communicate the vision in a way that motivates people to visualize opportunities for change.

Says Ulbrich, “If you look right now in a team, you couldn’t distinguish whether a person is from R&D, IT, sales, or marketing. They work together.

Presented at the 2021 Global SAFe Summit, October 2021 by:

  • Mattias Ulbrich, Chief Information Officer of Porsche AG and CEO of Porsche Digital
  • Dr. Oliver Seifert, Vice President R&D Electric/Electronics /Porsche AG
  • Interviewer: Michael Clarkin, Chief Marketing Officer, Scaled Agile, Inc.SHOW LESS

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EdgeVerve Systems – Scaled Agile Framework for IT

“SAFe was the right fit because of the dynamics and goals at EdgeVerve. It helps bring the alignment and cultural change needed to deliver faster results in an organization with many dependencies across products.”

Dr. Ronen Barnahor, Head of Agile Business Transformation, EdgeVerve Systems

Challenge:

With releases every 6-18 months, the company set a goal of further improving time-to-market, quality, flexibility, and predictability.

Industry:

Information Technology

Results:

  • Release time improved by 50 – 66%
  • Planning every 10 weeks sharpens predictability
  • Feature cycle time went down by 50 percent
  • The cost per feature point dropped by eight percent from one PI to the next
  • Reduction in escaped defects and increased customer satisfaction

Best Practices:

  • Managers first – By beginning training with managers, EdgeVerve gained essential buy-in that helped influence the C-level and team level
  • Merging Testing and Engineering – Bringing these groups together reduced what were distinct silos
  • Common cadence – EdgeVerve kept everyone on a common cadence, even before bringing all teams into the Framework
  • Hybrid model of implementation – ARTs and managers of non-ARTs aligned on the same cadence and planning activities

Introduction

Banks across 94 countries, serving 848 million consumers, rely on Finacle, an industry-leading universal banking suite from EdgeVerve Systems Ltd. A wholly-owned subsidiary of the global IT company, Infosys, EdgeVerve develops software products that enable businesses across multiple industries to innovate, accelerate growth, and have deeper connections with stakeholders. Gartner and Forrester consistently name EdgeVerve at the top of their rankings for banking platforms.

In 2015, the company set an aggressive goal of improving time-to-market, quality, flexibility, and predictability.

SAFe: a framework for faster results

Scaled Agile Framework for IT

For guidance, the management brought on Dr. Ronen Barnahor, now Head of Agile Business Transformation. Barnahor recommended the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) to help instigate real change, quickly.

“Our mission is to adopt a Lean and Agile mindset and practices, and become a learning organization focused on continuous improvement to provide better value to our customers,” Barnahor says. “SAFe was the right fit because of the dynamics and goals at EdgeVerve. It helps bring the alignment and cultural change needed to deliver faster results in an organization with many dependencies across products.”

Prior to adopting SAFe, the teams at EdgeVerve were working in cadence, however, their approach wasn’t effective in meeting new organizational goals.

Building a coalition from the ground up

To bolster internal buy-in, EdgeVerve appointed Jasdeep Singh Kaler, an AVP and 20-year veteran of the company, to help Barnahor lead the effort. Through a contest, the transformation earned the name “Mach 1”—a nod to the importance of speed.

In alignment with SAFe, EdgeVerve began with training, choosing first to focus specifically on managers. VPs and directors, and about 30 leads across all functional areas attended two days of Leading SAFe®. The training created buzz about the transformation and gave the C-level confidence that moving to SAFe was accepted by internal leaders. By the end of the class, participants signaled they were ready to move forward with SAFe, with confidence scores of 4 and 5.

With positive feedback from leaders, C-level executives attended a one-day management workshop that included principles from Leading SAFe. There, they set implementation goals and approved the new direction. Knowing they would begin with the Finacle banking solution, they identified dependencies, defined all Value Streams and established who would join in the first two Agile Release Trains (ARTs).

“This was a crucial meeting with leads from product strategy, delivery, architecture, and testing, to help them embrace the concepts of the Value Stream and the ART, optimize the whole process, gain a systems view, decentralize decisions, and more,” Barnahor says.

Quick Wins

Scaled Agile Framework for IT

In April 2016, EdgeVerve kicked off the first Program Increment (PI) using SAFe with a 2-day planning meeting in Bangalore, India. The event brought together 60 individuals from multiple locations across India. The CTO attended, sending a message about the importance of the change for EdgeVerve.

In subsequent ART launches and PI planning events, the heads of engineering, product strategy, product management and other senior leaders participated with great commitment—bolstering the adoption at a grassroots level.

The event itself excited and motivated team members: “We had fun as a team in PI planning and that enabled us to do better work,” says one team member.

Hybrid implementation model—ARTs + Non-ARTs

As the company launched two ARTs, it did so with just two coaches. For that reason, EdgeVerve continued running non-SAFe teams on the same cadence—in what it calls a “hybrid model.”

“We didn’t have the coaching capacity to structure everyone into SAFe, but they all aligned on the same cadence with a centralized backlog,” Barnahor explains.

While EdgeVerve began implementing SAFe, managers of other products outside of ARTs were trained concurrently in Program-level activities.
Under the hybrid approach, all product teams (ARTs and non-ARTs) aligned in several ways:

  • The same cadence (sprints and PI)
  • Working in IBM Rational Team Concert
  • Pre-planning + PI Planning (For non-ARTs, only managers joined in PI planning)
  • Execution (For non-ARTs, there was no coaching. Leads managed the work as previously but with a focus on demos in cadence with ARTs.)
  • Product and solution-level demos
  • Retrospectives (In non-ARTs, only managers joined.)

“The hybrid model of implementation of a full ART plus managers first in non-ART teams contributed to faster alignment and predictability across products within the integrated banking solution,” Barnahor says.

Very quickly, teams began delivering on cadence, demonstrating early value to management. SAFe also sharpened visibility, enabling them to predict more accurately. As a result, the Product Management Organization began to understand the power of “velocity” as a prediction metric and began using the Agile dashboard that EdgeVerve developed.

Changing the Culture

As EdgeVerve launched trains, the company concurrently focused heavily on changing the culture, with the belief that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” According to Kaler, since EdgeVerve focused on ‘managers first,’ these individuals became key influencers in the cultural change. The main focus was around breaking the silos, establishing common ownership on quality, managing and improving through data, and an emphasis on outcome and business value instead of on utilization.

The new, common terminology of SAFe (ARTs, ceremonies, and cadence) ensured everyone spoke the same language. With a common language, they could more easily understand expectations and minimize misunderstandings.

“From a change management perspective, everyone understood that EdgeVerve had embarked on something important at the organizational level that is based on a proven industry framework,” Barnahor says. “We had fewer arguments on definitions. I told them, ‘Let’s adapt SAFe definitions and practices, observe the impact on the ground during execution, and then change. Why reinvent the wheel?’”

Scaled Agile Framework for IT

The company also altered its success measures to help influence behavior, asking questions such as…

  • Are we delivering desired value to customers?
  • Are we on time? If not, when can we deliver the committed scope?
  • Are we on scope? If not, what we will not deliver on due date?
  • Are we on top of quality?
  • Are we on flow? Any bottlenecks? Starvation? Backlog readiness for the next PI? What is the average cycle time?
  • Can we predict well?
  • How do employees feel about the change?

As attitudes changed, EdgeVerve collected feedback from the field and shared positive comments from team members and managers widely on posters and in videos—with the goal of spreading enthusiasm.

Additionally, the company adjusted the organizational structure to support the change. From developer to head of engineering, EdgeVerve reduced the number of organizational layers from seven layers to just four layers.

Perhaps the biggest difference came in moving the distinct testing organization, which was under delivery, into engineering—a decision that quickly improved relations between developers and testers. In line with SAFe, testing also now happens concurrently with development with greater focus on acceptance automation.

Reducing cycle time, increasing quality

Today, the company runs eight ARTs with approximately 800 people across three value streams and one portfolio. They launch a new ART every six weeks. At the same time, they run five teams of teams that are not part of the SAFe transformation.

Less than a year after deploying SAFe, EdgeVerve reported significant gains:

  • Reduced time-to-market – For large enterprise products, release time dropped from 12 – 18 months to six months, and for small products, from six months to three months
  • Improved predictability – The company plans consistently every 10 weeks, which increases flexibility for changing scope with minimal cost
  • Expedited feature speed – Feature cycle time went down by 50 percent
  • Elevated efficiency – The cost per feature point dropped by eight percent from one PI to the next
  • Fewer defects – The company significantly improved early detection of defects, leading to fewer escaped defects and increased customer satisfaction

Dissolving silos

As the PIs progressed, team members could clearly see the advantages of the new approach. Most notably, communication and collaboration improved, with evidence that silos were dissolving.

“The way teams were working, even a minor downtime was clearly a cascading effect in the team’s progress,” says one team member. “Teams identified it, they came up with solutions, and they worked together.

Scaled Agile Framework for IT

“If code was not working, we got the right contacts, spoke to the code team and got the issue resolved,” says another team member. “This is a big change from the software developer’s perspective on how they approach their work.”

“The developer-tester relationship was better,” says another. “You can directly check with them for the issues you’re facing.”
Additionally, anonymous participant surveys reflected progress. The company asked approximately 300 people about the impact of SAFe. Most notably, there was an 89% improvement in trust and communication across different functions while 73% believe that SAFe helped increase productivity/throughput.

Even as EdgeVerve sees positive results and culture shifts, transformation leaders find it is an ongoing process. With demonstrated results, they gained backing to hire more coaches. Looking ahead, the main challenge, Barnahor says, is middle management’s mind-set—transforming managers to act as Agile leaders and mentors to the teams by focusing on an Agile leadership program.

“It’s a transformation of hearts and minds,” Kaler says. “We made sure that managers believed in what we’re doing and slowly the culture is changing.”

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pôle emploi – Benefits of Using SAFe in Employment Agency

pôle emploi - Benefits of Using SAFe in Employment Agency

Pôle emploi is the French national employment agency tasked with providing and processing benefits for the unemployed and seniors, helping the unemployed find jobs, and providing employers with recruitment resources. They employ over 54,000 civil servants through 900+ agencies, and publish more than 4 million job offers annually.

Industry:

Government

Overview

In 2014, the agency processed 8 million requests for financial aid, distributing $31.7 billion euros in benefits.

In early 2015, pôle emploi was asked to develop a new process for job seekers, no small feat given that the organization was operating in a legacy environment which included a 1600-member IT Department comprised of Scrum and waterfall teams, working with new technology as well as COBOL systems, and integrating work from several external suppliers

Benefits of Using SAFe in Employment Agency

They first met with key stakeholders to create the program context and agree on realistic scope, then explored options to fulfill the commitment, and sought a solution to meet the needs of these key areas:

  • What can we do to meet our commitments ?
  • What can we do to stay in sync?
  • What can we do to increase team collaboration?
  • What can we do to reduce integration risks on such a large scope ?
  • How can we maintain a good vision of the product?
  • How can we track the progress of so many teams?

In early 2015, they launched a SAFe pilot program to see how the Framework would work within their unique context. As part of this effort, they launched an Agile Release Train (ART) with 5 Scrum teams running on 3-week sprints, managing five cross-functional initiatives. Through Program Increment planning, they brought together all the key actors in the same room to identify key features that needed to be integrated, and dependencies between the different software components. They created a new role, Delivery Manager, to track overall progress, and used IBM’s Rational Team Concert (RTC) to track team progress.

After the first few months, they were able to identify where the Framework mapped easily to their context, where it didn’t, and how to reconcile some of those differences. For instance, they opted to move from the Delivery Manager role to a Release Train Engineer (RTE) role, as defined in SAFe, and began using SAFe-recommended templates to increase visibility on the new business requirements. They also decided to align the ART with their business program.

Today, the IT organization operates with both agile and non-agile teams collaborating, and is transitioning the non-agile teams to agile practices through their participation in the SAFe ART. They are working within the Framework to identify areas for continuous improvement and address questions such as:

  • How do we manage to take the business further within Agility?
  • Could WSJF help our prioritization process?
  • Who should assume the Product Management role in our organization?
  • How can we move forward with the system team?
  • Should we organize PO sync?
  • Who can be assigned the System Architect role?
  • Who should deal with the enablers and stories?
  • Will we be able to dissociate PI from our quarterly IT releases?
  • What do we need to do to move more teams to an agile cycle?

Get the rest of the story—including the update—below.

Many thanks to the team at pôle emploi for providing the study, and sharing your experience with the SAFe Community: Cécile Auret (SPC4), Methods Engineer, Jerome Froville (SPC4), Methods Engineer, and Michel Levaslot, Manager.

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