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Visibility into Velocity: An Unifying Transformation
Industry: Information Technology
Company Size: 400 Employees
Location: GA, US
Within the organization, the product, operational, implementation, and engineering teams were operating in silos— the engineering teams were working in Jira while the product teams worked in Aha!. This lack of integration meant there was no holistic view of work rollup to product and priorities. They were lacking a common Agile framework, and made it very difficult for employees to extract valuable information. In addition, the teams weren’t able to manage dependencies or coordinate with one another about upcoming product features.
Strengthening Customer Relationships from The US to The UK
Through their partnerships with large companies in the US and UK, the organization derives anonymized data and purchase insights for marketers. Their connected rewards programs also promote customer loyalty and strengthen consumer relationships. Marketers can then deliver targeted ads to customers using a native ad platform hosted inside the client’s digital channels. Consumers, in turn, receive personalized offers and rewards to help them save money. As pioneers in the personalized advertising space, this company is becoming increasingly popular with customers and marketers alike. They have about 500 employees, and over 161 million customers use the company’s services every month.
A Need for a Common Language
The company was at a crossroads in late 2019. They had built this walled garden advertising platform but hadn’t yet focused on its future as a truly digital, competitive advertising platform. Within the organization, the product, operational, implementation, and engineering teams were operating in silos— while the engineering teams were working in Jira, the product teams worked in Aha!—and this lack of integration meant there was no holistic view of work rollup to product and priorities.
They were also lacking a common Agile framework, which made it very difficult for employees to extract valuable information. In addition, the teams weren’t able to manage dependencies or coordinate with one another about upcoming product features, which created challenges for bringing those features to market.
In short, there was very little visibility around the company’s roadmap, at both the product and program management layers. There was also a general need to transition from project to product thinking. They needed something to get everybody on the same page with the same Agile framework—using a common language to talk and deliver across the board. This is why the company was looking for a partner in implementing a common Agile way of working.
Seeking a Trusted Partner
One of the company’s executives had previously worked with Cprime. He understood that Cprime could provide valuable expertise during this time of transition to a common Agile framework, which is why the company landed on Cprime as a partner, based on their position in the industry. The fact that Cprime partners with Atlassian on Jira Align and supports the portfolio side of product development, including SAFe® and Agile tools, was also a major vote in Cprime’s favor.“It was the knowledge and trust that Cprime would give us, along with the fit for purpose, advice, and solution experience,” he said.
An Integrated Transformation
The company hired Cprime to find a common Agile framework, decide on the most suitable Agile tool, and foster a product agility mindset. Cprime began by contemplating the best Agile tool. “The company has a huge global footprint. But from a shop size, they are much smaller than what the ‘typical’ Jira Align customer looks like, where there’s usually thousands and thousands of developers,” explained Pearlman. To better understand the company’s Agile requirements and make sure Jira Align was the right tool, Cprime held an on-site workshop with their employees. “We led our Value Drivers Exercise during our implementation kickoff to help everyone understand the value they need to get out of a new Agile framework,” said Pearlman. “This helped us meet the company where they are today, and where they want to be in a year.”
After careful deliberation and consultation with Cprime, the company decided that Jira Align was, indeed, the right tool for the job. A few factors contributed to this decision, including the company’s transition from project to product thinking, the strategic directives employed by the company’s new management team, and the scalable nature of Jira Align.
Cprime then helped the company standardize their Jira and Jira Align operations—moving its teams into new standard templates, integrating the two systems, and leading employee training. Cprime also led training on product agility, product discovery, and scaled agility for their employees. Upon completion, the company had all the puzzle pieces in place to take full advantage of the improved visibility and connectivity offered through Jira, and Jira Align—from their overarching vision and business goals down to individual features and stories.
One member of Cprime’s product agility team hosted ‘office hours’ for the company’s teams, while another coached them through Program Increment (PI) planning. “Then we worked with the company during the PI event itself,” explained Pearlman, “to help make sure that everything was going as smoothly as possible, given that it was a brand new way of working in a brand new tool with brand new configurations.”
Improved Visibility, Traceability, and Data Extraction
Since working with Cprime to implement Jira Align, SAFe®, and principles of product agility, the company reports that visibility has improved dramatically. Now that the company has a holistic view on what it’s working on, who’s working on what, and what lies ahead on the company’s roadmap, it’s much easier for everyone to prioritize work and understand dependencies. There has been a lot of good feedback from the entire engineering team that they’ve never had visibility like this before in all their years with the company. Having all the relevant data in one system—and being able to extract it in a meaningful way for different stakeholders—has also been very useful and they believe that Cprime has been crucial in this process. Now that everyone’s work is reflected in Jira Align, the company’s employees can freely decompose epics into features, which wouldn’t have been possible in Jira alone. The traceability of Jira Align has been a massive business benefit. For them, working with an external partner to implement these changes was valuable as well. The teams appreciated being able to reach out to an external partner to ask questions.
By covering system, process, and people/culture, Cprime and the company did everything right. Pearlman also helped the company incorporate their strategic objectives and assign Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) into the system. “It should provide yet another level of granularity and clarity for the engineering teams,” said Pearlman. And while the results of the company’s transformation are still largely subjective, they’re getting more and more objective metrics over time as they get more data and visibility into velocity—what they’re doing, how they plan, how they estimate, how they deliver. All these things are part of their continuous journey going forward.
An Alten Company, Cprime is a global consulting firm helping transforming businesses get in sync. Cprime is the partner of choice for Fortune 100 companies looking to achieve value and agility. We help visionary business leaders compose solutions, execute implementations, and exceed against business goals. With our key partnership recognitions, including Atlassian Platinum, AWS Advanced, and SAFe® Gold SPCT partner, our industry-leading software and services work in synergy to deliver transformations.Want to share with a colleague? Download the PDF