Remote I&A at Travelport – Implementing SAFe Remotely

Safe Business Agility

In this ongoing series, we talk to customers about their field experiences working with SAFe ceremonies and implementations of SAFe remotely. This episode with Hilla Knapke, director of enterprise transformation office, and Charles Fleet, VP of transformation from Travelport dives into conducting a fully remote, distributed Inspect & Adapt workshop. They’ll share their thoughts and expectations during preparation, what changed when the event started, what worked, and what they’d improve the next time.

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


Visit this link to learn more about the Inspect and Adapt workshop 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: Hilla Knapke

Hilla Knapke

Hilla Knapke is director, enterprise transformation at Travelport. She executes strategic portfolios while driving business agility into all aspects of business operation through Travelport’s Corporate Development Office. Hilla excels at leading large-scale, technically complex, high-value, strategic global initiatives, unlocking true business agility within organizations. In her personal time, Hilla is a classically trained musician and an avid soccer fan (raising her own favorite goalkeeper); she enjoys hiking, camping and 4x4ing with her husband and children in the beautiful Colorado mountains.

Guest: Charles Fleet

Charles Fleet

Charles Fleet, VP of transformation at Travelport, has more than 15 years of experience leading strategic, global change initiatives. He excels at creating cohesion in disparate teams, overseeing global delivery relationships, and bolstering innovation in program management. Charles lives in Colorado with his wife and two boys, and enjoys running as well as endlessly tinkering on projects around the house.

Inspect and Adapt: How a 30-year-old PPM Company Became a Case Study in Agile Transformation

Agile Transformation

In 2017, Planview (a Scaled Agile partner) realized that its customers and market were evolving beyond their traditional product lines. A leader in project portfolio management (PPM) solutions, Planview recognized the need to adapt both strategically and operationally and looked to Agile to power a much-needed transformation. (Read the full story in Harvard Business Review).

While the development departments had practiced Agile for some time, the larger Planview organization really began its forays into Agile starting in 2017 via the acquisition of a company with strong Agile DNA and a powerful Kanban product. Sporadic successes after the acquisition, however, didn’t translate to the change the company needed. Planview knew that real transformation required a top-down commitment, and in late 2018, established a company-wide goal to rewire its organization through a new Agile Growth Initiative.

The initiative focused on five key objectives:

  1. Infuse agility into the organization by increasing Agile DNA throughout
  2. Admit we couldn’t do it alone and bring in outside coaching support
  3. Embrace Agile practices and ceremonies from leadership to the teams
  4. Reorganize people and teams to focus on customer value
  5. Empower everyone to have a voice and do their best work

Led by the marketing department, Planview brought in external Agile experts as guides and kicked off its first Agile discovery session. When the team asked sales, marketing, and product leaders to list their top priorities, every department was different. It became clear that scaling across functions was the organization’s biggest challenge—and most promising opportunity.

Planview accelerated its Agile initiative by creating three cross-functional Agile teams that comprised the first Go-to-Market Agile Release Train. Through Program Increment (PI) Planning events, the teams shared, according to Harvard Business Review, “… some hard conversations that ultimately resulted in reorganizations and the realignment of people and funds.”

The result: a new emphasis on solutions vs. products that enabled the organization to provide value to their customers in meaningful, innovative ways. With Agile, Planview successfully shifted from a 30-year-old PPM company to an Enterprise Agile Planning Solution Leader. That’s true transformation, although for Planview, it’s simply one more step in a continuous process of inspecting and adapting.

Read the full story of Planview’s transformation in Harvard Business Review.

About Brook Appelbaum

Brook Appelbaum

Brook Appelbaum is the Director of Product Marketing for Planview’s Lean and Agile Delivery Solution. With nearly 20 years of marketing experience, Brook has led many different product and digital marketing teams. However, her favorite leadership role is that of a Product Owner. As part of an Agile marketing team inside Planview, Brook drives the campaign and product marketing strategy for the Lean and Agile Delivery Solution. And she thinks LeanKit is the coolest.

View all posts by Brook Appelbaum


Back to: All Blog Posts

Next: Scrum Master Stories: Building Relationships