A life and annuity company achieved 20% process efficiencies following our approach in removing waste from software delivery processes.
In part one of our series, we looked at understanding the need to eliminate waste from our software delivery processes to improve business performance. In part two, we addressed the steps to take for removing. unnecessary waste.
Now, in the final piece of this blog series, let’s take a look at high-level how our approach achieved process efficiencies and employee productivity in a real-life scenario.
Our client adopted the ambitious task of becoming a customer-centric, digitally enabled company. The IT and business processes weren’t mature, and the business team grew tired of IT’s slow delivery. The client pursued Agile transformation for a year with some success in pockets. The baked-in years of waterfall culture made developing a better and faster agile delivery difficult.
People worked on multiple projects at the same time, key subject matter experts stretched themselves thin and often caused bottlenecks and delays. Decision making in the organization was primarily top-down with tightly controlled budgeting processes. Adding to the mix, the organization worked in silos, so each group had their own set of governance, software delivery processes, embedded IT resources, multiple versions of mainframe systems, and a plethora of tools leveraged across the enterprise.
So, let’s pause here and assess the client’s situation. Most of the problems mentioned above are common across the industry. The broad categories of assessments were:
- People: duplication of IT and business resources, the existence of shadow IT, risk-averse culture, top-down hierarchy, and more.
- Process: inconsistent processes, spread-out decision making, long delays and approval cycles, a lot of context switching, distributed governance processes, and more.
- Tools/Systems: duplication of tools, incapacitated vendor management office, complex architecture, and more.
In short, this client needed an IT Operating Model change into order to become a more agile organization.
We were brought in to focus on the “Process” piece. Specifically, the ask was:
- Perform a detailed current state assessment for processes across three identified business units.
- Identify opportunities for better employer engagement and productivity.
- Remove the waste from the process to refocus energy and resources towards more significant transformation programs.
The Assessment Starts
We knew for a successful assessment we needed to concentrate on the following points:
- Employees adopting a lean-agile mindset
- Business units investing in simplification and modernization of infrastructure
- Better organizational decision making
We addressed these issues during the road mapping phase we will discuss later in the blog.
In the Assess Phase, we began with leveraging the tools we shared in part two to qualify and quantify six different types of waste. We performed the following steps:
- Conducted four value stream mapping workshops focusing on capturing touch-time, waste-time, total-time for each activity across SIPOC for four very different teams
- Captured the rework loops, candidates for automation steps, identify bottlenecks, and value-added activities
- Interviewed project delivery teams regarding their challenges and pain points
- 20+ interviews with senior business and IT leaders from 3 different business units
Time/Project Data Analysis
- Detailed analysis of project data exported from Clarity and time spent data exported from the time reporting system.
We gathered the data from these tools and steps, then we cleansed, analyzed, and synthesized it, making it ready for the Analysis phase.
In the Analysis Phase, we broke the different type of software projects into three buckets:
- New development
- Maintenance projects
We then calculated which tools best addressed the six process inefficiencies discovered. The diagram below summarizes the opportunity size for the software delivery process improvement area.
In the Roadmap and Execution Phase, we presented our findings to our client’s Senior leadership, who accepted our recommendation. We then proceeded to develop an eight-month roadmap, which considered dependencies identified earlier. We assembled an organizational change management and operating model team assessing people and culture as well as broader organizational challenges.
Benefits to Client
- We developed a detailed business case (quantification model) and identified the total opportunity size of $10M inefficiencies and 20% improvement over the current IT spend.
- Along with 20% improvement, the employee surveys showed a significant increase in employee motivation and better coordination between business and IT.
- Employees were more aware and receptive of adopting a lean-agile mindset
- Employees and business units freed up non-value-added time and refocused their efforts on more value-added activities.
- We minimized and, in some cases, removed the frustration caused by reworking on tasks and working on multiple projects at the same time.
- We identified detailed process improvement opportunities and provided a detailed roadmap and plan of action for systematically removing the waste.
Thanks for staying with me throughout this series. I hope I stirred some new thoughts around the importance of removing waste to eliminate the non-value-added tasks from our routine software delivery process. We want to refocus employees’ time towards more value-added activities, therefore improving employee productivity and taking the organization to higher levels of business performance.
Like we discussed through the series, these processes need a systematic approach to address waste and increase business performance. But, just like going the extra mile for six-pack abs, it’s worth the effort to go the extra mile in perfecting your business’ process efficiencies. Don’t you agree?