We grabbed Michael Stange, head of delivery capability and coaching at IRESS, for a chat about how we're making that a reality by altering the way we think and work. In the words of Daft Punk, it's all about being better, faster, stronger.
My role is to explore and adopt new ways of thinking, working and delivering software so that we can deliver better outcomes for our clients.
A big part of that is making sure we have the right delivery framework when it comes to software development. I look at work methods (how we get things done), how our teams are organised (such as cross-functional teams), our culture, and our quality measures.
We want our teams to have a continuous improvement mindset when it comes to designing and delivering quality software. We’ve introduced a common set of principles for how we produce software and are establishing a shared understanding of that right across IRESS. So far more than half of all people at IRESS have been through the training, with follow-ups to core teams to ensure this is embedded in how we work.
We use a number of methodologies that combined, provide a foundation for how we think about and deliver value across the business.
We named our approach FAST - which stands for Flow-Agile-Systems Thinking. The work methods we’ve adopted have all been built around helping us deliver quality software more frequently and efficiently for our clients. While the underlying methods and practices are important it’s not a box-ticking exercise.
In an increasingly fast-moving business environment, old methods no longer work. Our goal is to be more innovative and reliable, the methodology helps us achieve this but it’s not the goal in itself.
"The work methods we've adopted have been built around helping us deliver quality software more frequently and efficiently."
Building knowledge and capability has been the primary focus for us and so coaches have been working with global delivery teams to embed the training into work practices and the delivery process.
We’ve altered workflows and helped teams build data into tooling so that they can better measure their delivery effectiveness and understand and improve their capacity and lead times. We’ve done intensive work to reduce points of inefficiency such as when tasks are handed from one team to another. We’ve also been helping teams understand and communicate the expectations they have from other teams.
These are challenges faced in all businesses. I think we all go into change thinking that people are going to be resistant. In our experience, it’s been quite the opposite - we’ve been fortunate in that we’ve had no shortage of engagement.
Some aspects of the program haven’t been running long enough to give us a full picture against measures but we’re delighted with the progress made so far.
We’re seeing shorter release times which means we’re getting improvements to clients sooner. The introduction of cross-functional teams and a shared language is also delivering visibly smoother and more efficient workflows.
And through initiatives such as IRESS Labs, we’re getting more input from users which is enabling us to create better user experiences, deliver faster, and better meet our clients’ needs.
"We're seeing shorter release times which means we're getting improvements to clients sooner."
Now that the foundations are in place, it’s going to be a process of continuous improvement. The initial feedback from teams and clients has been positive and now we need to embed new practices, measure and, most importantly, continue to improve the quality of software and the speed of delivery.
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