How to Implement Organizational Agility for Proptech Clients?
Our client is a UK-based proptech firm that develops property management software for the UK market. Pioneers in building intelligent solutions such as online portals, cloud-based infrastructure, and service delivery et al. in the UK, their aim is to make their clients’ property journey seamless.
Their development team – 60 members works out of India, while their product and business teams are based in the UK. Essentially a 100% remote working model, the teams have been operating a partial scrum framework.
The client was facing issues around clarity on their roles and responsibilities, lack of sprint discipline, loosely defined process framework, capacity and load management issues, poor planning, poor requirement comprehension by the team resulting in rework, lack of one team mindset, blame game, poor communication. The focus of the engagement was to increase predictability, visibility of work to be delivered, bring in open, transparent, and proactive ways of communication among team members, improving the elicitation of requirements, and building a one team mindset.
We started our journey by initiating coaching for a few select teams. Scrum masters were trained on their roles and responsibilities, with a focus on converting them to leaders – from mere taskmasters. Product owners (POs) were identified and coached on relevant topics – eliciting requirements using techniques like mind mapping, conducting product discovery sessions for new projects et al.
On completion of the initial coaching, our focus turned to tie the loose ends observed – starting with setting a 2-week cadence for sprints. Discipline and regimen were brought in across all Scrum practices. Mere following and participation in the scrum events were replaced with a more focus on collaboration and outcome-oriented, thus cultivating a one-team mindset.
A blend of both scrum and kanban practices was introduced in the customer support team to better manage production issues. Leadership sessions were conducted for the tech leads to hone their leadership and problem-solving skills.
With frameworks and required discipline in place for better predictability, we then introduced essential SAFe for all teams.
All teams involved were synchronized to a two week cadence, thereby creating visibility on what will be done and by when. This also helped ensure predictability levels, by enabling the commercial / sales team better understand and commit release dates to their customers.
The kanban approach helped the development and commercial teams to visualize and prioritize work. Blocked production issues were identified immediately which in turn expedited the resolution of issues by relevant team members
Techniques used for requirement elicitation by the Product owners helped right size user stories – just enough information. This in turn helped the development team plan sprints more effectively.
Teams started following the principle “Stop starting start finishing work“ which reduced context switching and drove a one team mindset
The ‘Essential SAFe’ implementation brought in better predictability and viability at release levels. SAFe events like PI Planning increased the engagement levels between the leadership, sales/commercial and development teams.
The focus shifted from merely delivering functionality to delivering added value to the customer.
Teams started going beyond delivering quality software, by continually improving levels of technical excellence – dedicating part of their sprints around this focus area.
Working agreements and norms around JIRA hygiene made the automated ‘sprint metric’ dashboards more current and relevant.
Sprint wise team health assessments were conducted. Measures to improve the team health included fortnightly water cooler sessions, team building activities, training on new technologies etc. This led to a culture of continuous improvement and stabilized agile adoption across teams.