Remote ART Launch at Accenture – Business Agility Planning

Safe Business Agility

In this series, we talk to customers about their field experiences with remote SAFe ceremonies and implementations. This episode with Scott Frost, SAFe Fellow, SPCT, and senior business agility transformation coach from Accenture, dives into a fully remote, distributed ART launch.

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In this series, we talk to customers about this series, we talk to customers about their field experiences with remote SAFe In this series, we talk to customers about their field experiences with remote SAFe ceremonies, SAFe implementations and agility in business. This episode with Scott Frost, SAFe Fellow, SPCT, and senior business agility transformation coach from Accenture, dives into a fully remote, distributed ART launch. He’ll share his thoughts and expectations during preparation, what changed when things got started, what worked, and what he’d recommend improving next time.

Visit these links to learn more about the article and the Community Forum referenced in the podcast:

Hosted by: Melissa Reeve

Melissa Reeve is the Vice President of Marketing at Scaled Agile

Melissa Reeve is the Vice President of Marketing at Scaled Agile, Inc. In this role, Melissa guides the marketing team, helping people better understand Scaled Agile, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and its mission.

Guest: Scott Frost

Scott Frost is currently a Sr. Business Agility Transformation Coach

Scott Frost is currently a Sr. Business Agility Transformation Coach/Trainer for SolutionsIQ | Accenture. Uniquely positioned as a former IT exec, he works across the value chain from the team to the largest enterprises needing transformation. He has consulted with companies such as Discover Card, Liberty Mutual, ExxonMobil, Invesco, State Farm, AmeriSourceBergen, FedEx, American Express, State Farm, Phillips66 and many more.

Intel & business agility using data, Value Stream Optimization with DevOps, Systems Architects and the ART

Safe Business Agility Podcast Cover Image

Learn how Intel is achieving business agility by streamlining data, as well as implementing Agile and DevOps. Hear how optimizing value streams helped an organization and answer questions about incorporating DevOps into a SAFe transformation.

Click the “Subscribe” button to subscribe to the SAFe Business Agility podcast on Apple Podcasts

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SAFe in the News

Scaling Agile, adopting AI: How Intel is making IT a strategic part of the business

By Stephanie Condon and published on ZDNet

Full article

SAFe in the Trenches

Hear Marc Rix share an experience from the field where you worked with an organization on Value stream optimization and how that impacted their DevOps initiative.

To learn more DevOps and Release on Demand – one of the Core Competencies of a Lean Enterprise, visit scaledagileframework.com

Audio CoP

The Audio Community of Practice section of the show is where we answer YOUR most frequently asked and submitted questions. If you have a question for us to answer on air, please send it to podcast@scaledagile.com

The two questions we answer in this episode are:

  • How do you adopt DevOps in SAFe? Do you form a separate team or incorporate into Agile teams?
  • What is a DevOps engineer?

Hosted by: Melissa Reeve

Melissa Reeve is the Vice President of Marketing at Scaled Agile

Melissa Reeve is the Vice President of Marketing at Scaled Agile, Inc. In this role, Melissa guides the marketing team, helping people better understand Scaled Agile, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and its mission.

Bosch / ETAS – Agile Framework

Presented at 2019 Global SAFe Summit, San Diego Oct. 2, 2019

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For over 130 years the name “Bosch” has been associated with forward-looking technology and trailblazing inventions that have made history. Bosch does business all over the world and is active in the most wide-ranging sectors. In particular, BOSCH is the largest supplier for the global automotive industry.

Dr. Volkmar Denner, CEO of Bosch; “For Bosch agility is crucial, it allows us to adjust to the increasing speed of change around us. Agility allows us to remain in a position as an innovation leader.”

This video tells the story of how an enterprise of more than 70,000 knowledge workers and traditionally independent business areas have faced the challenge of an agile transformation and started an alignment to common a strategy for mobility solutions and the SAFe journey. It provides a deep dive into one of Bosch`s Business Units, ETAS, and shows what was already achieved by introducing SAFe and focusing on current activities in Lean Portfolio Management and how the company organizational structure is being adopted as a consequence of the SAFe transformation.

Back to: Customer Stories

Next: PepsiCo Customer Story

Kantar Retail – Benefits of SAFe in Retail

Kantar Retail - Benefits of SAFe in Retail

Our time to market is impressive for an enterprise solution. It’s a competitive advantage in the market that we can make major product changes every two months.”

Cédric Guyot, CEO, Virtual Reality at Kantar Retail

Challenge:

Implement a more formal Agile approach while preserving the company’s innovative culture.

Industry:

Technology, Retail

Solution:

SAFe®

Results:

  • Delivery of major releases down from 6 to 2 months
  • Time to market decreased from 9 to 3 months
  • Time to respond to client feedback down from 3 months to 1 month
  • 27.5% decrease in cost per epic
  • 41% to 28% decrease in the attrition rate
  • 36%-43% increase in team productivity due to clear job responsibilities and processes
  • Easier talent acquisition and retention due to openness and transparency

Best Practices:

  • Gain buy-in through results—To sell leadership on SAFe, managers frequently demonstrated value. “Once we started to improve and measure our results, upper management came on board,” Vavriv says.
  • Be patient—Change takes time. Once implemented, you’ll begin seeing progress, accelerating the pace of change.
  • Involve HR—Clearly define roles and performance standards (KPIs) for each role. Kantar Retail’s HR representative attended SAFe training.
  • Gradual implementation of SAFe framework—“Start implementation with basic things on the Team level after starting with the Program level and constantly improve Portfolio-level decisions,” Yevgrashyn says

Introduction

Kantar Retail develops Virtual Reality (VR) solutions that enable their retailer and manufacturer clients to research and design retail experiences to meet the needs of shoppers and keep up with the constantly changing retail landscape. Retail design and research in virtual reality drives time to market and more effective collaboration, and is faster, more economical and confidential than prototyping in physical stores.

Benefits of SAFe in Retail

Part of WPP Group, the world leader in marketing communications services, Kantar Retail is a leading insight, technology and consultancy company that works with retailers such as Walmart, Target and Marks & Spencer. They also work with global consumer goods businesses including Kimberly-Clark, Unilever & GSK.

In 2013, Kantar Retail set out to develop a new VR solution for the retail and consumer goods industry. The company had explored using Agile practices with small teams, but the effort was “disorganized and disjointed,” says Dmytro Vavriv, PhD, Delivery Unit Manager at Kantar Retail. As a small company that prides itself on innovation, members across the organization were concerned that a more formal Agile approach could stifle ideas.

Prepping for PI #1

When Kantar Retail began developing the latest version of its solution, the company made a key decision to build its capacity and chose to deploy the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) to support that effort.

Development teams are located in Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. For road-mapping the first Program Increment (PI), Kantar Retail engaged just one, six-person team in Kiev. As the team prepared for its first planning session and PI, the Delivery Unit Manager and the Release Train Engineer (RTE) took the four-day Implementing SAFe 4.0 course and earned SAFe 4.0 Program Consultant (SPC4) certification.

Leading up to kickoff, Kantar Retail faced some tough questions. First, they were uncertain how long the PI duration should be. While the business was pushing for a short timeframe, team members felt like they needed a longer window.

They also had concerns about the planning session itself. Past sessions typically covered just one sprint. This time they would need to cover seven sprints, decide on features and analyze dependencies with other teams. They also needed to develop a vision for the next two PIs. Would two days be enough?

“From a product perspective, the first PI was a challenge because the team had just started working on the product, and from a technical perspective the teams didn’t know the code well yet,” Dmytro Tsybulskyi, RTE says.

Ultimately, the group covered everything in a 2-day session. They settled on a 3½-month PI, but didn’t quite meet the planned scope on the first try—requiring 4½ months. Yet, they still delivered under the usual six-month timeframe and took away valuable lessons for the next round.

PI2 ran significantly more smoothly. Kantar Retail brought in more teams and trained all team leads beforehand. Prior to the PI boundary, teams discussed possible roadmaps and dependencies, as well as technical questions. That made it so that, in planning, they found it easier to put features on the program board and establish a vision for upcoming PIs. Plus, they had greater confidence in setting a shorter PI timeframe—this time 3 months.

Enhancing Innovation

As of now, half the company is trained in SAFe, and Kantar Retail has completed four major releases. “We started out with a small team of 6 engineers in Kiev and have grown to 30 now, including all aspects of software delivery, QA, Scrum Teams, and UI/UX,” says Paul Gregory, Chief Technical Officer, Virtual Reality at Kantar Retail.

With the help of experienced SPC and Agile coach Timofey Yevgrashyn, Kantar Retail has also implemented SAFe fully on the Team and Program levels. To their surprise, Kantar Retail found that teams were more proactive regarding innovation on the product—due to the sharing of responsibilities, and by separating activities on business deliverability and innovation.

Benefits of SAFe in Retail

“Participation of all team members in the Leading SAFe class helped to clarify roles and responsibilities and simulate key activities in the SAFe framework,” Yevgrashyn says.

The newly implemented SAFe methodology additionally resulted in a shared vision, more visibility and predictability, a higher-quality solution, and an increased ability to respond to market and customer demands.

“We’ve adopted an enterprise framework for agility, the SAFe framework,” says Eric Radermacher, Product Manager, Virtual Reality at Kantar Retail. “We’ve been more consistent. We’ve been able to articulate a roadmap to the business and to our clients and deliver in time and in full, which is a really positive milestone.”

Sharpening the Competitive Edge

With the help of SAFe, Kantar Retail brought the latest version of its product to market. Cloud-based Kantar Retail VR Infinity™ provides all the content for the creation of virtual store projects. It puts VR technology directly in the hands of the users, and connects teams and customers to understand issues and opportunities quickly, leading to faster and more effective retail decision-making.

The company measured very clear benefits from its Agile journey:

Delivery

  • Delivery of major releases down from 6 to 2 months
  • Time to market decreased from 9 to 3 months
  • Reduced time to respond to client feedback from 3 months to 1 month
  • Greater predictability, which enhances client satisfaction

“Our time to market is impressive for an enterprise solution,” Cédric Guyot, CEO, Virtual Reality at Kantar Retail says. “It’s a competitive advantage in the market that we can make major product changes every two months.”

Finance

  • 27.5% decrease in cost per epic

Human Resources

  • 41% to 28% decrease in the attrition rate
  • 36%-43% increase in team productivity due to clear job responsibilities and processes
  • Easier talent acquisition and retention due to openness and transparency

Given those metrics, top management is now fully behind SAFe.

SAFe not only elevates internal team satisfaction and hiring; the sales team now brings the company’s time to market into conversations with prospects.

“The sales team uses this as a way to engage with clients,” Dmytro Vavriv says. “We can say, ‘Here are stats showing our predictability and here’s our vision.’”

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study:

Travis Perkins

SK Hynix Memory Solutions – SAFe to Improve Enterprise-grade SSDs Production

SK Hynix Memory Solutions - SAFe to Improve Enterprise-grade SSDs Production

Industry:

Technology, Semiconductors

Overview

SK hynix memory solutions (SKHMS) is a subsidiary of  the SK Hynix, Inc, which ranks #82 in the Fortune Global 500, and is the 5th largest semiconductor company in the world. Hynix memory is used by Apple, Asus, Google, IBM, Dell, and Hewlett Packard, as well as in products such as DVD players, cellular phones, set-top boxes, personal digital assistants, networking equipment, and hard disk drives.

Being a leading provider of custom system-on-chip (SOC) solutions for the solid state disk (SSD) storage market, SKHMS wanted to maintain their competitive edge via relentless improvement for producing enterprise grade SSDs. They teamed up with Scaled Agile Gold Partner, CPrime, to assess areas of improvement, and to understand the major impediments in their product delivery life-cycle. They gave careful attention to:

SAFe to Improve Enterprise-grade SSDs Production
  • How hardware was coordinated with firmware development.
  • How testing was conducted throughout the current PDLC process.
  • Departments involved in building and delivering the product.
  • How often these products were released to the customer and/or to the market.
  • Source code management and build deployment.
  • Tooling in place to support the Agile pilot.
  • The U-Curve optimization (analysis of transaction costs) for delivering work.

They ultimately chose SAFe as the Framework best equipped for agility transformation and to address the complex issues often associated with the firmware development. Kicking off a 1-year pilot program, they started with 5 Scrum teams with 50 people to support their first Agile Release Train (ART), and set their Program Increments (PIs) at 3 months, with a two-week iteration cycle.

Software and Hardware Align Through Program Level, Value Stream

They decoupled the Hardware group from the Firmware ART because their work was not conducive to two week iterations with the Scrum Teams. Instead, the Hardware group worked in a Kanban like fashion with SLAs on their work based on the Backlog prioritization. For example, knowing what features were coming down the pipe, they were able to prioritize their own work and in some cases, put out proto-hardware for testing purposes during the Program Increment. This coordination was possible because representatives from the Hardware group attended critical Program level meetings as stakeholders and because they were part of the Value stream for delivering the product.

Early Results Reveal Tangible Value

The Pilot was off to a solid start and teams were embracing the change, and seeing the tangible value of using SAFe. The overall metrics and feedback indicated:

  • 60% improved transparency
  • 55% defect reduction rate
  • 50% improved service delivery predictability

The 8-page study, provided below, is well worth the read, as it includes helpful detail and insights that include:

  • Their Preparation Checklist
  • Program Backlog Prioritization
  • Business Value
  • Timing Criticality
  • Opportunity Enablement/Risk Reduction
  • Feature Analysis & Architurecture Design
  • PI Planning
  • Continuous Integration

A big Thank you! to Johnny Lam, Director at SKHMS, and Dr. Sanjeev Raman Enterprise Agile-Lean Coach from cPrime, for sharing your SAFe experience.

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study:

Seamless Payments

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.

Back to: All Case Studies

Suggested Case Study:

Standard Bank