After defining various forms of waste in software delivery processes, we look at the tools necessary for measuring and identifying these types of inefficiencies.
In my previous blog, I talked about achieving an optimal personal fitness goal. We should shoot for developing six-pack abs and not settle for merely being lean and fit. Similarly, if you are inclined and inspired to bring a similar optimal performance to your company’s software delivery efficiency processes, you should not settle for less.
It takes time, but in our journey towards improving software, delivery efficiencies are a learning experience. The intention is not to make processes incrementally lean, but also to uplift the overall productivity of the company and to make processes efficient.
This time, let’s look at the specific approach and tools useful for better software delivery efficiency.
Tools to Use to Eliminate Waste
In Part 1, we learned the six different types of inefficiencies in application development and delivery processes, which, when addressed properly, makes the workforce effective and project delivery more efficient. Based on our experiences, there are various tools we can leverage to address different aspects of these inefficiencies.
Let’s look more closely into the tools listed in the table.
- Interview the impacted client leadership, as well as technical delivery teams, deriving the critical business insights to articulate the client specific challenges better.
- Use targeted questioning and balance the need for business and IT for a full understanding of the problem.
Time and Project Data Analysis
- Understand where your project team should focus by collecting metrics on where the team spends its time.
- Ask relevant client stakeholders clarifying questions to understand the priority of business projects and to identify processes that need to be automated.
- Conduct a value-stream mapping SIPOC (Supplier, Input, Process, Output, Customer) workshop, which comes in handy to decipher the wait time and rework type issues. During process improvement, SIPOC summarizes the inputs and outputs of one or more processes in table form.
- Perform a detailed analysis of business and IT processes via process baselining and process comparisons, flowcharting, value-stream mapping, cause and effect analysis, and hypothesis testing.
Measuring for Successful Waste Elimination
You may ask, how do we measure the success of our software delivery efficiency efforts qualitatively and quantitatively? The two key KPIs that help answer this question are:
- Process Cycle Efficiency (PCE): This is the time spent performing the critical tasks in comparison to total elapsed time to complete the job. We can benchmark company specific PCE against the world-class efficiency benchmark metrics.
- Employee Productivity and Employee Engagement: These are two indicators of the project team that capture employee motivation and engagement. We collect this information by leveraging a Gallup survey, or an internally created HR enabled survey. Gallup’s employee engagement survey reflects more than 30 years of in-depth behavioral economic research involving more than 17 million employees. Through rigorous research, Gallup identified 12 core elements powerfully linked to essential business outcomes.
Periodically capture and compare both measures against the baseline to track success.
In the final part of this blog series, we will look at a case study from a large-American Life and Annuity client who gained 20% software delivery efficiency by applying the techniques we discussed today.
These improvements supplemented the agile transformation effort at the client by developing a culture of focus and innovation that the client sought.