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Delivery Transformation

Case Study – Department of Parliamentary Services  

Background 

The Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) went to market seeking a Professional Services firm with over 5 years’ experience to help deliver successful ICT projects, with the ability to work across agile methodologies.  

Chalfont was awarded the contract as we were seen as a qualified professional services delivery partner that could provide appropriately skilled and experienced resources on demand to assist DPS’s Information Services Division (ISD) in its transformational shift to agile service design and delivery. This required being able to address internal and external challenges, and threats emerging from changing technology, by building a mature workforce through maturing capabilities in its people, processes, technology and information.  

Objective  

DPS required Chalfont to lead and set direction across the ISD for the adoption of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). This would position DPS to accomplish its transformational shift to agile service design and delivery. 

Our team worked to improve organisational culture to support individuals and teams to deliver business outcomes. The approach involved: 

  • Championing and implementing new ways of working by coaching IT teams to deliver products within a scaled agile environment; 
  • Setting direction, planning and leading organisational change and design initiatives by building team maturity to deliver products adopting agile ways of working; 
  • Identifying needs and opportunities for change by managing change in an enterprise environment through the adoption of the Prosci ADKAR model; and 
  • Using organisation design techniques, methodologies and tools to change and improve organisation structures and culture to deliver business outcomes by conducting workplace assessments and formulating a plan to mature workforce skills and capabilities. 

Challenges have included: 

  • The absence of an overarching view of all business initiatives and priorities. Chalfont established a prioritisation framework to identify dependencies; this was made visible to the Executive and Product Family Directors, resulting in consistent backlog management practices being applied and specialist silos being removed; 
  • Having a workforce with low maturity to transform to agile service design and delivery to achieve the objectives within the ICT strategy. Chalfont built an agile delivery framework focussed on a culture of delivery of outcomes ratherthan products, and defined roles and skills needed toincrease workforce maturity levels; and 
  • With the absence of strong business relationships within ISD, the observation was low trust and confidence in the relationship between business stakeholders and ICT that the deliver would result in a satisfactory product and service to meet the user needs. Chalfont strengthened customer relationships by engaging business areas early and often during the product delivery cycle. This resulted in turn-around time for providing feedback being faster, and an increase in business engagements and participation in events. 

Our adoption principles were formed using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) and Scrum Framework. We have found this combination ensures there is:  

  • Focus on people over process; 
  • The ability to lead the change at all levels; 
  • Recognition of agile as an enabler; 
  • An understanding to start small and grow over time; 
  • An opportunity for people to have the courage to work differently; and 
  • A commitment to continual growth by prioritising time to reflect and improve. 

Solution 

Chalfont recognised the need for maturing digital skills to enable delivery of digital products and services and achieve the objective. 

Our solution was to provide a team experienced in agile and ICT delivery to ensure DPS could scale up to adopt the SAFe principles. To implement this, we have: 

  • Built a strong agile culture among the executive group through collaborative strategic planning. The approach focussed on planning activities that supported strong collaborative relationships within and across teams, enabling staff to contribute and critique delivery without fear of judgement or repercussions; 
  • Fostered a culture of continuous improvement that embeded a core value shared by everyone, with failures or setbacks reviewed and lessons learnt and shared; 
  • Nurtured an executive group that practiced what it preached and was transparent, supportive and held each other accountable without blame; 
  • Instilled a one-team mindset in which mistakes and failures of a branch/section where owned by everyone; 
  • Established a single consolidated view of all business initiatives received by ICT and objectively prioritised them using an industry standard methodology into a portfolio backlog; 
  • Actively involved Business and Product Family Directors in prioritisation, drawing on an Enterprise Architecture strategy that guides the effective triage and prioritisation of backlog items; and 
  • Implanted agile champions throughout the delivery teams to emphasise the benefits of a new way of working, leading to a top down, bottom up approach 

Approach  

Chalfont has a strong focus on understanding users, their needs and problems and how best to deliver a solution that addresses these in a sustainable way. As part of the CER project, Chalfont: 

  • Worked as part of a larger scrum team, following the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) ensured we were able to deliver value to each program increment; 
  • Learnt and understood the systems, and their relative complexities, to respond to changing priorities and issues; 
  • Had experience using Azure DevOps and a culture of using and maintaining Epics, Features, Product Backlog Items and Tasks; 
  • Had the capability to assist in the analysis, design, and workshopping of solutions for business using User Story and Journey Maps, and associated tools such as Azure DevOps and Miro; 
  • Developed solutions using both Behaviour-Driven Development (BDD) and Test-Driven Development (TDD), and used automation tools and continuous integration; and 
  • provided experience in Dynamics 365 and .NET Development with a focus on Microsoft Cloud Services. 

Managaing Risk

Risk of specialist silos:  

Individual employees were relied upon, thus creating single points of failure in the event of their absence. Chalfont mitigated this by building a strong agile culture among the executive group, adopting strategic planning activities to form strong collaborative relationships within and across teams, in which everyone could contribute and critique delivery without fear of judgement or repercussions. 

A lack of dedicated cross-functional teams/autonomy to deliver:  

This resulted in teams not delivering the products defined within the ICT strategy. Chalfont established a single consolidated view of all business initiatives received by ISD, with Business and Product Family Directors actively involved in the prioritisation process. 

High appetite for agile/lean practices, but low knowledge of best practice:  

This is a common challenge; we were able to bring our knowledge of championing and implementing new ways of working by coaching IT delivery teams to deliver products within a scaled agile environment. 

Overcoming Challenges 

Challenges have included: 

  • The absence of an overarching view of all business initiatives and priorities. Chalfont established a prioritisation framework to identify dependencies; this was made visible to the Executive and Product Family Directors, resulting in consistent backlog management practices being applied and specialist silos being removed; 
  • Having a workforce with low maturity to transform to agile service design and delivery to achieve the objectives within the ICT strategy. Chalfont built an agile delivery framework focussed on a culture of delivery of outcomes ratherthan products, and defined roles and skills needed toincrease workforce maturity levels; and 
  • With the absence of strong business relationships within ISD, the observation was low trust and confidence in the relationship between business stakeholders and ICT that the deliver would result in a satisfactory product and service to meet the user needs. Chalfont strengthened customer relationships by engaging business areas early and often during the product delivery cycle. This resulted in turn-around time for providing feedback being faster, and an increase in business engagements and participation in events. 

    Outcomes Delivered  

    • Strengthened customer relationships by improving business outcomes through incremental delivery of value and reduced cycle times; 
    • Paced capability delivery to align with business readiness to adopt, aligning ISD’s work program to the organisation priority by maturing the workforce capability within ISD; 
    • Improved teams’ ability to deliver, implementing delivery teams and enhancing transparency and collaboration using agile and lean practices; and 
    • Continuously improved services and ways of working, capturing and applying lessons learnt to reduce duplication, and maturing processes by embedding a delivery framework.