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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NHS Blood and Transplant – Adopting SAFe in Healthcare

NHS Blood and Transplant – Adopting SAFe in Healthcare

“Adopting SAFe has set in motion the skill development and mindset for successful organizational change even as we scale to new programs, release trains, and people.”

Gary Dawson, Assistant Director, Solutions Delivery

Challenge:

NHSBT sought to improve the business processes and the supporting IT environment in two major programs, and do so without adversely impacting its core business or service delivery to patients.

Industry:

Government, Healthcare

Solution:

SAFe®, Consulting and Coaching Service

Results:

In the first PI, NHSBT was able to deliver a committed, finite number of product features, as well as prioritize IT operations alongside the business part of the organization.

Best Practices:

  • Include all in the journey — The mutual understanding between IJI, managers and employee teams was critical. “It made the difference that we were bringing them on the journey—rather than telling them how we were going to impose something on them. It has been a key element in NHSBT’s success,” Dawson says.
  • Show and tell — “Show and tell” sessions (every two weeks) and then a mid-PI retrospective helped the business see the benefits of the change process and really feel part of it.

The partner that made it happen:

Introduction

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority that provides a blood and transplant service to the National Health Service—supplying blood to hospitals in England, and tissues and solid organs to hospitals across the United Kingdom. Each year, donors give approximately two million donations of blood and 3,500 organs—saving and transforming countless lives.

Safeguarding the blood supply and increasing the number of donated organs involves collecting, testing, processing, storing, and delivering blood, plasma, and tissue to every NHS Trust in England. NHSBT also matches, allocates, audits, and analyzes organ donations across the whole of the UK.

With an increased need for its services, the organization recognized that effective technology is crucial to the delivery of safe products and services for patients. While looking ahead to its corporate 2020 vision, NHSBT identified several goals: replace an aging IT infrastructure, migrate to SaaS cloud-based services, and replace the critical operational applications underpinning its activities while ensuring they remain compliant with external regulatory monitoring.

NHSBT sought to revolutionize the way it interacts with blood donors by taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital technologies. That means careful consideration of the realities of existing interdependencies between the national databases and NHSBT services, systems, data, processes, and people.

Adopting SAFe in Healthcare

NHSBT identified the need to improve the business processes and the supporting IT environment in two major programs: ODT Hub and Core Systems Modernization.

“NHSBT was embarking on its most complex transformation program ever, initially focusing on the Organ Donation and Transplantation (ODT) area of its business,” notes Gary Dawson, Assistant Director, Solutions Delivery. “It needed to modernize a significant percentage of its core systems, platforms, and architecture along with re-aligning the infrastructure to more modern cloud-based technologies. The impact on the current business and practices couldn’t be underestimated across the organization—we were anticipating changes in how we work and how the system worked.”

It’s All About the People

NHSBT employees truly care about the organization and its work. Dawson, working with the wider NHSBT ICT organization, felt that it was important to correctly evaluate IT needs in line with organizational changes and be able to guide the system changes with the people using them.

“We recognized that both the overarching change and the adoption of a new technical platform and architecture—the effects on the culture of the organization—could, if not managed strategically, create a complex management problem and have an impact not only on the core business, but also the working relationships of the people within NHSBT,” Dawson says. “We needed a system and guidance to adapt and benefit from the changes and we were clear that the waterfall methodology that we had previously relied on wouldn’t support this change. We have dedicated and passionate people who work here, who really care about the cause and want to achieve the goals of the organization, but this change would only work if everyone was on the same page and we could go through the journey together.”

A New Approach to Adopt Change

The Chief Digital Officer had set the strategy for implementing Agile into NHSBT and brought on Dawson specifically with this in mind. From day one he worked extensively and closely with the Business, IT, and Program Delivery stakeholders to ensure cross-organizational support. After an initial meeting, they knew that an experienced consultancy like Ivar Jacobson International (IJI) would aim to understand NHSBT and work collaboratively to deliver solutions and training so that internal changes were manageable.

IJI suggested NHSBT use Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) to help support the governance and manage both the organizational and technical changes. The ICT Leadership Team immediately took the view that this was the right methodology to achieve NHSBT’s goals and looked for an appropriate vehicle in which to introduce it. They decided the Organ Donation and Transplant (ODT) Hub Program as the most appropriate place to start implementation. ODT was initializing a hands-on software delivery and its timeline aligned well with the cadence of delivery that the framework provided. In addition, funding was in place and all the teams involved were based in one location. It would act as an ideal start and pilot for other elements of the organization to observe.

Adopting SAFe in Healthcare

Because ODT was the first in a series of transformational changes, it would also be the model that other parts of the organization would take as an example, so it was crucial to get it right from the start. “IJI’s expertise with Agile transformation programs was a perfect fit with what we were aiming to do. Because we’d be working with new team groupings, we wanted to assist employees with transitioning to new working relationships and processes and also address the naturally risk-averse elements,” Dawson says. “We had to stay within regulatory standards. Rapid and vast change, if not done properly, has the potential to be disruptive, and actually hinder advancement. We chose Ivar Jacobsen International to provide company guidance, including coaching and training services, for the implementation of SAFe at NHSBT.”

A Proven Framework in SAFe®

SAFe offers a broad range of content and phased implementation for organizations looking to increase productivity, change system structures, increase employee training, add solutions-based management and develop greater efficiencies across company platforms and people.

Because proper preparation is critical to set the stage for smooth adoption, IJI delivered a two-day workshop, ‘Leading SAFe,’ that engaged managers interactively while explaining what SAFe was and how to implement it properly.

Meanwhile, Dawson and IJI also began to structure team units. They identified product managers and product owners working collaboratively to define their roles within SAFe and guided them on SAFe practices. Training roll-outs started with 10 or 12 courses, ranging from large-room sessions of 30-40 people for SAFe overviews and discussions of how it could work within NHSBT. These were followed over a two-month period by smaller and more interactively focused sessions for product managers and owners intended to further guide them and increase engagement. Sessions included six to 10 people with the appropriate attendees to maximize the interaction and cross-functional engagement—even at the point of training.

Meanwhile, program managers, with Dawson, started to work on organizational components, such as planning sessions across the organization (75 – 80 people). Planning included who would be involved, as well as logistical challenges. Dawson spent considerable time explaining the rollout and SAFe implementation to all levels of employees to facilitate understanding and new team groupings. IJI was on hand at all stages of implementation to guide, coach, teach, and assist teams to transition to SAFe, following a strategic Program Increment (PI) cycle that ensured SAFe was adopted by employees with secure checkpoints and feedback along the way.

Building Success

Adopting SAFe in Healthcare

Over the first Program Increment (PI), NHSBT’s ODT program came through on most of its deliverables. “It was amazing how much we were able to do in such a short time,” Dawson notes. “Now that we’ve done that, we can see what we need to do for future PIs and are continually able to refine and understand the teams’ velocity; it’s all falling into place and people really are committed.”

In that first PI, they were able to develop and learn to work effectively as a team and were able to deliver a committed, finite number of product features, as well as prioritize IT operations alongside the business element of the organization.

During the short introduction phase of three to four months, they were able to not only onboard and train all the teams aligned to the Release Train, they were also able to get the business component of NHSBT aligned with IT. There were challenges—such as integrating business managers into the teams and defining product owners—but “show and tell” sessions (every two weeks) and then a mid-PI retrospective helped the business see the benefits of the change process and really feel part of it.

“We would never have had that level of interaction in a waterfall delivery,” Dawson says. “To achieve the levels of understanding of both the technology and deliverables—along with all the interdependencies—would have taken months of calls, meetings, and discussions. We planned the next three months in just two days and now we retain that level of engagement on a daily basis.”

SAFe has become part of everyday procedures at NHSBT, with a series of checkpoints and loops that ensure communication is clear and efficient between teams and individuals. IJI understood that it was important to Dawson and NHSBT that change occurs but not at the cost of quality or control, and that value to the business should be equal to the ability of the organization to cope with the rate of change. NHSBT was able to build Agile confidence across the ODT program—senior stakeholders could support the cultural change because SAFe provides the governance required to build in the needs of Quality Assurance and regulators.

Successfully Scaling to New Programs

Having delivered the first MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of the ODT Program, it is clear that the introduction and embedding of SAFe within NHSBT has begun to provide early delivery of significant business benefits.

NHSBT has now run two SAFe big-room planning events for its Core Systems Modernization (CSM) Program, which is potentially a much larger program to replace its core blood offering system relating to blood, blood-derived products and tissues.

“We’re definitely not standing still,” Dawson says. “We are building momentum and will continue to run with the same rhythm that SAFe has provided us with our ODT program. Adopting SAFe has set in motion the skill development and mindset for successful organizational change even as we scale to new programs, release trains, and people.”

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Suggested Case Study: Royal Philips

Fitbit – Benefits of Using SAFe in Consumer Technology

Fitbit Benefits of SAFe in Consumer Technology

“SAFe has been a successful story for us. It allowed us to grow our team in a seamless way that integrated cross-functional groups and aligned with the company’s long-term strategy. Fitbit has grown significantly since we adopted SAFe, and we were able to scale the process and still deliver high achievement every PI. My VP calls it the scaffolding that has helped moved our team forward.”

Damian Brown, Sr. Director of Program Management Office, Fitbit

Challenge:

With major consumer holidays as deadlines, target dates are immovable. Early Scrum efforts could not keep pace with company growth.

Industry:

Consumer Products, Information Technology

Results:

  • Fitbit achieved a long-term look-ahead on its product roadmap and a short-term look-ahead on team tasks
  • Teams now achieve five business goals per PI, compared to three previously
  • Velocity increased 33 percent year over year
  • Fitbit launched a record number of products last year

Best Practices:

  • Don’t miss retrospectives – After every PI planning event, Fitbit listens to feedback on what went well and what needs improvement—and integrates those changes for the next PI.
  • Establish long-lived teams – Long-lived teams provide more stability and predictability.
  • Collect metrics along the way – Collect as many metrics as possible, which could back up decision-making. These could include velocity, overall objectives completion rate and reasons for scope changes during execution.
  • Always plan for the next PI – Cadence is important to align multiple groups in the PI in preparation for the next PI planning event. Start early and make sure every participant is aware of the timeline, so all stakeholders are well-informed and prepared for PI planning.

Introduction

In 2016, consumer technology company, Fitbit, released four new products to the market that were positively received by consumers, and shipped over 22 million devices.

Delivering its highest number of products in a year is due in part to the company’s commitment to, and success in adopting SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework®) as a way to scale the team to meet target dates.

Challenge: Delivering for Consumer Shopping Seasons

Benefits of SAFe in Consumer Technology

Since 2007, Fitbit has helped millions of people around the world lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration, and guidance to reach their goals.

At Fitbit, major consumer holidays drive the product delivery schedule, including the year-end holiday season, Valentine’s Day, graduation, and Mother’s and Father’s Days. For that reason, target dates are inflexible when it comes to developing firmware and software for every product for each major platform (iOS, Android, and Windows).

In working toward targets, Fitbit engineering managers, tech leads, and Scrum masters have collaborated closely in recent years, sprint to sprint. But as the company and user base grew, Fitbit had to expand and evolve this process to meeting company and consumer needs.

“With our growing team and global presence, we knew our Scrum efforts were not going to scale,” says Damian Brown, Sr. Director of Program Management Office, Fitbit. “The question was, ‘How do we keep the organic culture people like about Fitbit while addressing the needs of the business and our global community of users?’”

Always Planning, Always Delivering

At a previous company, Brown and colleague, Brian Hsieh, had been part of a successful Agile effort by deploying SAFe. When they arrived at Fitbit, they saw an opportunity to deploy SAFe once again.

“We had done research on the different models for scaling Scrum,” Brown says. “Brian and I had been to Leading SAFe training, and once you see that big picture, your eyes start lighting up. It’s a powerful story how the Program layer aligns with Scrum teams. We knew that SAFe was something that would work for us at Fitbit.”

But first, they had to gain executive buy-in. “I think the story we told of always planning, always delivering, was very powerful for leadership,” Brown says

A Big Picture—for the First Time

With leadership on board, in fall 2015 the company started with 12 Scrum teams at its first Program Increment (PI) planning event in San Francisco. They created a highly interactive experience with physical boards and red ribbon for a visual of team dependencies within the PI. In that first meeting, teams were energized and excited about their PI objectives.

Benefits of SAFe in Consumer Technology

“Teams reported that they could see the whole picture across company-wide initiatives and understood where they could contribute,” says Hsieh, Manager of Program Management Office.

But as early as the first PI retrospective, the company realized it had not included all the teams that would benefit from this process. Thus in the next PI, Fitbit added other teams, including firmware engineering groups.

With each PI—now up to ten—Fitbit folded in more teams and more functional groups, including some not typically part of an Agile transformation. Today, members of Firmware, Software, Design, Research, Marketing, Customer Support, Data Analytics and Infrastructure Engineering all participate in PIs. Fitbit trained all those who were leading PI events, with events extended to its other office locations, including Boston, San Diego, and Minsk, Belarus.

100% Delivery on Objectives

In adopting SAFe, Fitbit aimed to evolve its process for scaling development teams in many ways:

  • Create a fast and flexible flow across the entire Fitbit ecosystem
  • Create a system of teams across the ecosystem that work together to deliver quickly
  • Scale up to adopt team growth
  • Improve visibility with the objective of a two-month look-ahead on what each team will be working on
  • Create mechanisms for teams and stakeholders to identify cross-team dependencies and add items to other teams’ backlogs as needed
  • Align key business dates across all of the programs, including security, data center moves, compliance, and marketing programs

With the help of SAFe, Fitbit successfully achieved process evolution.

As for visibility, Fitbit achieved a long-term look-ahead on its product roadmap and a short-term execution plan at areas of work for the teams, supporting planning and decision-making for leadership. It’s a roadmap process that Brown and Hsieh credit SAFe with providing.

Velocity likewise increased; teams now achieve five objectives per PI, on average, “With the metrics that SAFe provides, combined with what we regularly report on, we can tell our CTO that velocity has increased 33 percent over the past year,” Brown says.

With higher cadence and velocity, Fitbit can more readily respond to market needs. For example, when the company noticed an opportunity to add a specific capability to its products, it brought the new feature to market in a very short time with no major bugs in internal and external testing.

Benefits of SAFe in Consumer Technology

In 2016, with an aggressive plan for launching four new products, Brown and Hsieh credit the SAFe approach with enabling teams to complete goals and objectives two to three PIs ahead of schedule.

Additionally, the integrated, measured approach contributes to the quality of the user experience. In particular, Brown points to that critical time between Black Friday and New Year’s Day when many new Fitbit owners activate products and visit the Fitbit app and website for the first time to create accounts and sync their new devices. In 2016, the company experienced no major impact to the site during that timeframe.

Just as critical, team engagement has gone up since deploying SAFe. As a result, teams now regularly hit their top objectives. “Having PIs and objectives really rallies us around something positive several times a year,” Brown says.

Now, as the company plans for next year, it’s working toward funding value streams rather than projects—a goal that SAFe 4.0 supports with its Value Stream level.

“SAFe has been a successful story for us. It allowed us to grow our team in a seamless way that integrated cross-functional groups and aligned with the company’s long-term strategy,” Brown adds. “Fitbit has grown significantly since we adopted SAFe, and we were able to scale the process and still deliver high achievement every PI. My VP calls it the scaffolding that has helped moved our team forward.”

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Suggested Case Study: Kantar Retail

PlayStation Network -SAFe: Enabling Value Delivery

SAFe: Enabling Value Delivery

“I personally believe we have delivered more in the two years we’ve been using SAFe than we did in the four years prior-not in raw code, but in value. Our downtime went down and that saved the company about 30 million over the course of the year. That’s real money and a really positive outcome.”

Tripp Meister, Director of Technology, PlayStation Network

Challenge:

Co-located teams across eight different cities found Waterfall and Agile Scrum fell short in bringing together members cohesively.

Industry:

Media and Entertainment, Consumer Products

Solution:

SAFe®

Results:

  • Delivered double the value compared to before practicing SAFe
  • Cut initial planning time by 28 percent
  • 700 team members across 60 Scrum teams actively using SAFe
  • In two years, launched six trains globally, shipped more than 350 production releases, completed 22 PSIs, over 125 sprints and 250 features

Best Practices:

  • Work toward a common theme—”We base our milestones on an objective set that goes across all thousand people doing this, giving them a common theme to work toward,” Meister says.
  • Decentralize decision-making—Empower individuals to negotiate decisions together, at all levels.
  • Gain full buy-in—”SAFe worked because everyone bought into it, top to bottom,” Meister says.

Introduction

Since 1994, millions around the world have chosen to game with PlayStation. Today, the gaming console made by Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) continues to lead with more than 150 million users globally. And most recently, it took the top spot among competing consoles in holiday sales.

SAFe: Enabling Value Delivery

PlayStation customers eagerly await new releases. Delivering a quality product on time requires tight collaboration across more than 1,000 SIE engineering team members. Co-located teams reside in eight different cities.

In meeting its targets, the SIE engineering organization found Waterfall and Agile Scrum fell short in bringing together hundreds of team members cohesively. These approaches failed to address the many dependencies across the organization and resulted in less than desirable business results. What’s more, disparate teams were able to plan only one or two iterations in advance.

“It can take 700 people to make one screen available,” explains Tripp Meister, Director Technology, PlayStation Network. “Coordinating this work and having it well organized so the company can release new features and updates is critical to success. If we just follow processes like Scrum and Agile, things can fall through the cracks, especially with the highly connected systems we build at PlayStation.”

SAFe®: Enabling Value Delivery

In early 2014, SIE leadership chose to deploy the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) to bring greater organization and collaboration to development.

“SAFe gives us top-down prioritization based on senior management direction, pulls disparate groups together into common timeframes, and enables us to manage dependencies much better,” Meister says.

SIE engaged a SAFe coach and began with the 2-day Leading SAFe® training for managers. By February of 2014, the company launched its first Agile Release Train (ART), and then followed that with ART launches every 12 weeks.

For every launch, team members come together in person. “Every 12 weeks, about 500 people coalesce in San Diego,” Meister says. “While it’s not cheap to bring everyone together, it’s what allows us to deliver value because you walk out of there and know you can get your work done. For 12 weeks, you are unimpeded.”

Prior to adopting SAFe, cadence varied across groups. Some iterated daily, while others did so weekly or bi-monthly. Now, SIE consistently adheres to a cadence of two weeks with 12-week iterations or PSIs, potentially shippable increments (identified now as Program Increments (PIs) in SAFe 4.0). They run six or seven iterations at a time, which comprise a major release.

SIE program managers serve as Release Train Engineers (RTE), which Meister refers to as the “ringmasters.” They oversee designers, user experience developers, systems architects, systems engineers, and product managers in executing on work in manageable increments and in adhering to the vision.

With the move to SAFe, the company made demos optional for developers. And when they do attend, demos remain high-level and limited to just 5-10 minutes—compared to all-day demos presented previously. “If developers do attend demos, it’s an opportunity to read the face of the product manager they delivered to,” Meister says.

Clearer Vision, Predictability and Priorities

At SEI, SAFe has fundamentally changed the culture of the engineering organization:

Greater visibility/transparency—Developers have more insight into broader company initiatives and activities. “Now, every planning session we do, every single employee practicing SAFe knows our financial results,” Meister says. “The work we do isn’t usually visible, so when you see that you impact the bottom line, it resonates better.”

SAFe: Enabling Value Delivery

Better coordination—Prior to SAFe, collaboration wasn’t necessarily constructive. Now, from Tokyo to San Diego, everyone speaks a common language when it comes to Agile. Disparate groups work together more cohesively, and SEI has enhanced coordination between Portfolio and Program management activities.

Dependency management—In an environment with many dependencies, SAFe serves as a dependency management system, improving predictability.

Clearer priorities—With weighted shortest job first (WSJF), SAFe brought a new approach to prioritizing. “SAFe has really allowed us to work on the most valuable thing at the moment,” Meister says.

$30 Million in Savings

Today, approximately 700 team members across 60 Scrum teams actively use SAFe. Since 2014, the company has launched six trains globally, shipped more than 350 production releases, completed 22 PSIs, over 125 sprints and 250 features. With the Framework, SEI also cut initial planning time by 28 percent. Instead of 1550 man-days to plan, it now takes 1125.

“I personally believe we have delivered more in the two years we’ve been using SAFe than we did in the four years prior—not in raw code, but in value,” Meister says. “Our downtime went down and that saved the company about 30 million over the course of the year. Before, we had done similar things, but they were not nearly as effective as SAFe.”

The following summary is based on a public presentation by Tripp Meister of PlayStation Network.

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Suggested Case Study: TomTom