ZKH Industrial Supply – SAFe for MRO Goods

China’s Amazon for MRO Goods Improves Order Processing Time by 800%

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How did ZKH Industrial Supply Achieve Such Dramatic Results After Practicing SAFe for Less Than a Year?

As one of the leading MRO and C-paAs one of the leading MRO and C-parts consolidators in China, ZKH Industrial Supply provides industrial accessories, consumables, general equipment, and spare parts. In just one year, this China-based leader for MRO goods was delighted with the dramatic improvements they achieved after adopting SAFe and applying Lean Portfolio Management:

  • 800% improvement in order processing time
  • 17% reduction in lead time of order to delivery
  • Online orders increase dramatically due to real-time order visibility

In this video, you will get the behind-the-scenes story of how ZKH was able to achieve these impressive results. Topics include:

  • How ZKH partnered with Accenture and utilized SAFe as an organization transformation framework
  • Setting up up the Value Realization Office, and applying SAFe Lean Portfolio Management to prioritize business demands and match investments to help realize business strategy
  • Identifying and creating agile cross-functional product delivery teams
  • Driving collaboration between R&D and business with a focus on customer demand and continuous value delivery

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

  • Guangdao Liu, Manager /ZKH Industrial Supply Co., Ltd
  • Jasmine Zhang, Agile Practise Lead of Greater China /Accenture

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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.

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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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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

AstraZeneca – SAFe for Agile Adoption

AstraZeneca - SAFe for Agile Adoption

“We’re delivering faster with greater quality and less manpower—resulting in substantial financial benefits from the teams that have adopted Agile to date. We expect to double our adoption of Agile this year.”

Patty Sheehan, AZ Agile Cultural Change Lead and Coach

Challenge:

Scale Agile practices across a large global change portfolio

Industry:

Pharmaceutical

Results:

  • Substantial financial benefits delivered in the first year
  • Significantly faster time-to-value delivery
  • Reduced team sizes
  • Improved quality of outputs over previous solutions

Best Practices:

  • Address culture change – AZ focused on the culture shift required to support Agile by creating Culture Leaders.
  • Align governance and procurement – AZ aligned funding and governance approval with Agile ways of working, enabling teams to make progress quickly and benefit from Agile delivery.
  • Consider face-to-face ARTs – AZ required face-to-face planning at the launch of a new Agile Release Train (ART).
  • Stay organized – AZ used task tracking and collaboration tools extensively.

Introduction

AstraZeneca (AZ) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical business employing 61,500 employees worldwide. Millions of patients around the globe use its innovative medicines. AZ activities span the entire life cycle of a medicine, from research and development to manufacturing and supply to the global sales and marketing of primary care and speciality care medicines that transform lives.

SAFe for Agile Adoption

AZ teams are pushing the boundaries of science to make a difference through medicine for patients, their families, our stakeholders, and society in general. AZ believes that scientific research and applying leading technology are key to achieving cutting-edge innovation and at the heart of what we do.

In AZ, IT is helping to push the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines by continuously improving the IT environment and working with business teams to innovate for competitive advantage.

Enterprise-wide Alignment with Agile

AZ has made use of Agile practices for a number of years at small scale, but up to 2014 had continued to deliver the majority of its programs using traditional approaches. A decision was taken to adopt Agile methods more broadly across its IT change portfolio in order to bring about a step change in delivery performance. PA Consulting was selected by AZ to support this transformation effort, providing organizational change management expertise, Agile transformation strategy, training and coaching. AstraZeneca and PA Consulting selected the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) in late 2014 as the framework to be applied to support the adoption of Agile.

“We needed the ability to scale Agile quickly because we run large, complex programs at AstraZeneca,” says Patty Sheehan, AZ Agile Cultural Change Lead and Coach. “SAFe is a flexible yet robust framework that has already been proven successful. It has been the right fit for us.”

The SAFe Agile adoption approach focused on organization and culture change, supporting Agile teams directly and ensuring that processes such as procurement and regulatory approval were aligned with Agile. The Agile adoption has so far been extremely successful with teams reporting significantly faster time to value delivery (40-60%), reduced team sizes (cost reduction of 25-40%) and improved quality. Financially, we rigorously monetized a large proportion of benefits from just a small subset of teams.

The AZ team, supported by PA Consulting, rolled out SAFe in the first year to tackle the larger scale programs in its portfolio, focusing on three key areas:

  • Organization and culture change:
    The transition to Agile ways of working can be a substantial break with traditional corporate culture. AZ defined five key organizational values: customer focus, technical leadership, operational excellence, collaboration and simplicity. By becoming Agile, AZ people would not only know these values but practice them in a methodical way.AZ tied this message into an Agile vision statement and marketing, making the change feel more personal and organic. The culture change approach included creating an extensive network of Agile Culture Leaders across the organization, focused on executive-level buy-in. The company also dedicated additional time at the end of each SAFe training course to the discussion and diagnosis of immediate actions to change culture.
SAFe for Agile Adoption
Figure 1 – The different layers of the AZ Agile change network, from practitioners at the center, supported by the Agile COE, Agile Culture Leaders and Leadership.
  • Alignment of governance, procurement and regulatory processes with SAFe:
    AZ replaced its traditional project governance framework with a new Adaptive Delivery Framework that was easy to use, lightweight, and crucially, supported both Scrum and Scaled Agile approaches out of the box. With this change, funding and governance approval were aligned with Agile ways of working, enabling teams to make progress quickly and benefit from Agile delivery. As a regulated pharmaceutical organization, AZ also has many regulatory obligations on its systems and processes. Defining an approach with the internal Quality Management group was a key success criteria, allowing the AZ Agile teams to deliver validated software solutions that supported regulatory requirements.
SAFe for Agile Adoption
Figure 2 – AstraZeneca’s Adaptive Delivery Framework, showing the lightweight governance that is applied to Scrum and Scaled Agile teams.
  • Outsourced and offshore teams:
    AZ teams are typically made up of a number of different third-party suppliers working in collaboration with AZ from a variety of sites around the world. We overcame the challenges inherent in this arrangement, building on key elements of SAFe to support this way of working. The PI Planning event was crucial to the alignment and co-ordination of large, off-shore teams. These events were carried out using a mixture of on-site and video conferencing facilities, with a requirement for face-to-face planning at the launch of a new ART. Similarly, iteration alignment and system demos helped the teams to maintain visible synchronization throughout increments. The Legal and Procurement teams at AZ are revising the contractual arrangements and procurement processes to align with SAFe. Task tracking and collaboration tools were used extensively. Following the success of the Agile adoption in the first year, AstraZeneca is now creating a number of internal ARTs to deliver change, again utilizing a multi-site model.

Value Delivered in Year One

AstraZeneca is 18 months into a multi-year transition to Agile ways of working, but with the adoption of the Scaled Agile Framework and the support of PA Consulting, a substantial transformation has already occurred. Twenty large teams have adopted Agile, and over 1000 staff have been trained and supported through a robust coaching regime. More importantly, Agile maturity has increased rapidly over the year with strong adoption in each area of the business. The teams adopting SAFe have observed significantly increased time to value delivery with improved quality of the outputs over previous solutions. This has been achieved more efficiently with reduced team sizes

“We’re delivering faster with greater quality and less manpower—resulting in substantial financial benefits from the teams that have adopted Agile to date,” Sheehan says. “We expect to double our adoption of Agile this year.”

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Suggested Case Study: Royal Philips

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.

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Suggested Case Study:

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RMIT University – SAFe Implementation for Business Agility

RMIT University - SAFe Implementation for Business Agility

The first Program Increment showed both the potential of the train to deliver value more quickly, and also the challenges facing its success. It also successfully delivered a number of features for release.”

Em Campbell-Pretty, CEO, Pretty Agile

Industry:

Education

Solution:

SAFe®

Results:

  • Positive shift in employee NPS
  • Improvement in business engagement
  • Reduction in cycle time
  • Increase in release frequency

Overview

Since April 2014, Scaled Agile Partner, Context Matters (now Pretty Agile), under the lead of Em Campbell-Pretty, has been supporting the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (aka RMIT University) with implementing SAFe for effective business agility transformation. RMIT is Australia’s largest university and, as the name suggests, is known for its technology focus. On November 6, 2014, Catherine Haugh (the SAFe Release Train Engineer-RTE) and some of her team presented their success story at the ANZ Oracle Higher Education User Group conference.

At the time, the presentation at HEUG outlined the journey of a new Agile Release Train, describing the practices and approach of the train as well as the challenges met implementing this new way of working while introducing it to the wider organisation. A sister-presentation was delivered by the Academic Registrar, Maddy McMaster, outlining the experience of going Agile from the business point of view. Maddy is the business owner of RMIT’s Student Administration Management System (SAMS) and the business sponsor of the Student Administration Agile Release Train (StAART). 

RMIT University - SAFe Implementation for Business Agility

StAART came into being following a shift within Information Technology Services (ITS) at RMIT towards Lean and Agile practices and a recognition that the ability to scale capability would be critical to ongoing success. SAFe was chosen to address that need and the train stood up in June 2014. 

StAART is the delivery mechanism for three major projects in the Student Administration Portfolio as well as day-to-day operational work requests made to enhance and support Student Administration systems. It is made up of seven feature teams which they call squads, supported by a delivery services team – about 60 people in all. 

StAART works predominantly with Oracle’s PeopleSoft-Campus Solutions application environment, tailoring the software to suit the organisation’s student administrative requirements through configuration and development. RMIT’s customised Campus Solutions system is known as SAMS. PeopleSoft is a commercial off the shelf (COTS) application. 

Early Results

The first Program Increment showed both the potential of the train to deliver value more quickly, and also the challenges facing its success. It also successfully delivered a number of features for release. Even though it is early days RMIT has already seen a positive shift in employee NPS, an improvement in business engagement, a reduction in cycle time and an increase in release frequency. The overarching challenge has been one of cultural change – StAART commenced life in a distinctly waterfall environment. 

Thank you to Catherine Haugh (RMIT), Maddy McMaster (RMIT) and Em Campbell-Pretty for sharing their story with the SAFe community. 

Update – October, 2015:

At the  2015 Agile Australia conference, Catherine presented an update on the StAART and its successes, including a dramatic improvement in NPS ratings from stakeholders. Her presentation includes video testimonials from the teams and ART stakeholders, as well as the data detailing the Net Promoter Scores before the ART launch and after.

Additional Reading

For a deeper dive into this SAFe experience, download the two presentations below.

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Suggested Case Study: Capital One

Accenture – Benefits of SAFe in Professional Services

Accenture - Benefits of SAFe in Professional Services

Enhanced SAFe processes are key to attaining solution alignment between different scrum teams.

Industry:

Professional Services

The partner that made it happen:

Introduction

As many companies struggle to implement Agile at scale in distributed environments, this case study describes Accenture’s experience enabling faster delivery and speed-to-market by implementing Agile programs using SAFe, along with adoption of DevOps principles. 

Accenture - Benefits of SAFe in Professional Services

Accenture is a $30 billion global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 336,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, named by Fortune magazine as one of the top 100 companies to work for from 2009-2015. As part of their effort to accelerate software delivery, Accenture has adopted Agile and DevOps on a large scale across its Global Delivery Network, leveraging the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) with a range of tools. In addition, Accenture helps its clients successfully shift to Agile development using SAFe along with DevOps to drive high performance.

In the provided case study, Accenture shares its insights on addressing process, organization, and tool challenges, including:

  • Solution misalignment between teams
  • Integration of Agile with Waterfall
  • Different timezones, customs, and cross-team activities
  • Different DevOps tools between teams

Early Quantitative Benefits

The early benefits are compelling:

  • 50% improvement in merge and retrofit (based on the actual effort tracked)
  • 63% improvement in software configuration management (effort to support SCM activities)
  • 59% improvement in quality costs (percentage of defects attributed to SCM and deployment)
  • 90% improvement in build and deployment (process and effort to raise deployment requests)

Early Qualitative Benefits

  • Improved demand management and traceability from portfolio through to Agile delivery teams
  • Granular configuration management and traceability
  • Integration with Agile lifecycle tools to allow story-based, configuration management driven from meta data
  • Real-time traceability of status for build and deployment
  • Automated build and deployments, including “one-button deployment”
  • Developer efficiencies as a consequence of improved tool interaction times and processes

Many thanks to Accenture’s Mirco Hering, APAC lead for DevOps and Agile, Andrew Ball, senior manager, and Ajay Nair, APAC Agile lead for Accenture Digital, for taking the time to share their insights and learnings. Their story is an inspiration to all of us in the SAFe community.

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Suggested Case Study: Royal Philips

Travis Perkins – Utilizing Kanban and SAFe

Travis Perkins - Utilizing Kanban and SAFe

Industry:

Retail, Building Products, Information Technology, Software

Overview

Transforming a giant, legacy-burdened bureaucracy into a nimble 21st Century organization that can cope with the complex demands of today’s marketplace is not for the faint of heart. But that didn’t stop Travis Perkins—a 200-year old UK-based supplier of building materials—from taking on the challenge.

Travis Perkins - Utilizing Kanban and SAFe

In 2014, Travis Perkins teamed up with Rally Software to embark on a three-year SAFe transformation plan with full Lean-Agile adoption across 160 engineers, 45 business delivery analysts and 50 service support and operations staff. Utilizing Kanban and SAFe, their primary objectives were to eliminate wasted work and accelerate ROI while increasing motivation and empowerment across its teams..

Before going Agile, the organization had no structured improvement methodology in place, and improvements were implemented using conventional project management principles and leveraged through their branch network. After a year into the transformation, the company successfully completed its first 12-week Agile Release Train (ART), inspired team confidence, and have pointed to SAFe as making it “… easier for us to focus on what has the most business value. Instead of delivering perceived value, we’re now delivering actual value.”

For a deeper dive into the details, here is the Rally Software case study, and Information Age Article:

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Suggested Case Study:

SproutLoud