Mtech Digital Solutions is a digital solutions provider with an extensive and established customer base. Mtech actively grows through regional expansion and start-up operations. Mtech’s strengths include reliability, strong competence in its field, and the long-term management of its customer relationships. Mtech is also continuously looking for new opportunities to provide its customers with added value. The expansion of agile operations beyond the team level to cross traditional organisational boundaries was identified as one such opportunity.
Lean Digitalisation Framework
The Lean Digitalisation Framework (LEAD) developed by Triari was chosen as Mtech’s operating model. The choice was justified by the business-oriented, comprehensive but practical approach of the model to managing and implementing development work.
Triari’s LEAD model was adapted to Mtech’s needs with the help of cross-disciplinary workshops, with people from a wide range of backgrounds participating, including: Mtechs management, representatives from development teams, architects, team leaders and, above all, representatives of pilot customers.
Mtech’s LEAD model covers the following areas:
- Agile portfolio management: Allows for the management of development work in a business-oriented way, and the active management of benefits. Provides the best possible value through development investments.
- Conceptualisation: A business-oriented concept was constructed for all development work before development work began. The concept included measurable criteria for success, minimum viable product-based content to maximise the benefit-cost ratio, and architecture and UX drafts.
- Product owner operations: A clearly defined product owner role, which assists the customer’s representative in guiding the development team. Mtech’s product owner model contains clear practices and tools, as well as training to enable the product owner to quickly adopt their role. The product owner has full authorisation to manage team activities. within the concept.
- Agile design: In agile design, the product owner works with the service designer and architect to make features ready for development, which means they can be implemented efficiently by the design team.
- Minor development process: As part of the LEAD model, some of the teams’ capacity is reserved for minor development work. This time can be adjusted at a portfolio level as necessary. Minor development is managed using a minor development kanban that covers the assessment of needs, prioritisation, preparation, implementation, testing and deployment into production.
- Agile development: The development teams will adopt a working method based on the Scrum model, where teams work at the same pace and hold a shared demo sprint to end. Teams are assembled so that they can work independently within different value packages.
The benefits provided by the LEAD model were assessed around 6 months after implementation. As a result of the assessment, the decision was made to consolidate the model, and its use was expanded within Mtech to all business units. The key benefits were:
- Controllability and focus on the right issues from a business perspective
- Business-oriented thinking – through conceptualisation and a product owner role
- Shared priorities and transparency around the true state of the development work
- Acceleration of development work – from idea to production significantly more quickly
- Close and systematic collaboration between customer representatives and the development teams
Implementation of the change
The change was implemented using Triari’s change management model, the key elements of which are:
- A business-oriented vision: Agility is not an intrinsic value. The LEAD model must be backed by a business-oriented vision of what the LEAD model strives to achieve. This guides us towards making the right design solutions.
- Piloting: The operating model was tested first with a single concept, the product owner and the team. This allowed for rapid learning, and the participants of the pilot were able to help the rest of the organisation with the change.
- Working together to come up with a game plan: Every situation is slightly different. That is why it is important to adapt the operating model to suit the situation by working together – and genuinely allowing all stakeholder groups to participate.
- Experimental implementation: It is important to keep moving forward rather than to meticulously plan out all the details. New obstacles crop up all the time, but they are solved using rapid tests to progress towards the agreed desired state. This approach allows for rapid change and ensures that the operating model truly suits the situation in question.
- Systematic and continuous improvement: It is important to create a culture of systematic and continuous improvement as a part of change. If operations do not keep moving forward, regression is inevitable. The continuous improvement model must cover all areas of operation. Team-level retrospective meetings alone are not enough.
A culture of continuous improvement
The change was audited around one year after the pilot was initiated. The result of the audit was that the operating model had taken root and many areas, such as conceptualisation, product owner operations, and feature preparation had made significant progress. This means that a genuine culture of continuous improvement had been created, where operating methods are continuously modified whenever challenges occur. There are of course some areas which still require improvement, but the consolidation of the new operating method was a success – the operating method and culture had truly changed.
Triari’s role during the change was to assist in the adaptation of the operating model, to train staff, and to coach and facilitate the change. Mtech’s own role was key to success, but Triari’s experience helped to soften the change curve and to speed up the execution of the change.