Challenge

A community-owned utility in Northeast Florida was having difficulty delivering projects accurately and on time for both its internal groups and with customer facing websites and portals. The Business side did not have faith in IT to meet its commitments.

The systems supported by IT had the complexity of a much larger company— including ERP, Benefits, GIS, Call center, Websites, Information Security, MS SharePoint, etc. Realizing that its relatively small staff and outdated waterfall development methodology were hindering productivity, management sought relief from some outside Agile-based coaching.

Solution

A MATRIX coach and four contract Agile scrum masters were selected to help improve efficiencies. They performed the following activities during an 18-month engagement:

  • Onsite Agile Training – Workgroup Project Team Training – “Practical Agile”

  • Onsite Agile Training – Sr. Leadership Team Training – “Understanding Agile as an Executive”

  • Onsite Agile Coaching

The MATRIX Agile coach helped redesign the organization to be lined up by value stream, rather than by role. Previously, different groups had different PMs. BAs and developers who operated independently with no centralized communication.

Instead, the scrum masters helped establish business product owners for each of the four different groups and began introducing common Agile processes. Product owners were asked to examine 109 projects in queue and told to collaborate on prioritizing them, using common language to negotiate priorities.

“We had to change their mindsets from being all about personal agendas to one of common business value,” said the MATRIX Agile coach.

MS Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2018 was established as the common collaboration platform.

Result

A scrum master community of practice has been established. Because scrum masters and teams are not co-located, a daily standup has been institutionalized, along with lean coffees once a week to improve collaboration and to bring the tech side and business side together closer.

Having the business product owners leading the effort has improved predictability. One product manager said that his team “has produced more work in one month than in the previous two years. And it’s better, too.”

Portfolio transparency has improved greatly. Work in progress is all visible in TFS 2018 via dashboards and indicators for all teams and all portfolios. Best of all, management has publicly declared they are not going back to the way they did things previously. And they have made a commitment to bring Agile coaching in-house permanently.