Evolving your delivery capabilities
By Tony Bott, Head of Delivery Practice
As businesses evolve to keep pace with the digital world, their change-delivery capabilities need to similarly evolve. The ability to deploy new features or functionality faster with higher quality is essential to maximise business value and user experience.
No matter the sector or type of business, delivery is challenging, but there are common problems faced by technology functions and organisations when it comes to delivering change effectively to unlock the value they desire, including:
- Highly complex multi-dependency programmes that are significantly behind-schedule and over-budget
- The organisation lacks the expertise, skills or processes to release value quickly
- Code quality is poor, resulting in circling back to address (and re-address) bugs and delivery failures
- The technology team is unable to adapt quickly to the changing needs of the organisation, resulting in low benefit realisation
These types of issues can be avoided by fundamentally shifting our focus to optimising change within the organisation, removing inefficiencies, improving standards and ways of working to improve flow.
Some examples of how I would do this are:
Remove organisational inefficiency – remove friction and ‘hand offs’ between teams, understand and reduce process waste wherever possible (i.e. processes adding either no value or slowing down the teams, seemingly unnecessarily). Encourage collaboration between development and operations teams (i.e. DevOps) to streamline the software development and deployment process. All of which will lead to more consistent, faster deployments.
Use agile at scale and lean engineering standards – release continual value in small chunks and get working software in the hands of users to gain valuable feedback quickly, then baseline your performance with metrics that matter (don’t create a huge admin overhead by "reporting for reporting’s sake"). Doing this means it's much easier to instil a continuous improvement mindset, and course-correct along the way, whilst delivering real value to the organisation quickly.
Reduce development waste – adopt shift left QA approaches, build functional and non-functional requirements into each development sprint. Apply automation-first principles such as Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) and test automation. This will help to reduce manual overheads (i.e. cost) and the likelihood of human error, whilst significantly increasing the speed and quality of releases.
These suggestions are not quick fixes but will help you evolve into a high performing digital organisation. It is important to review what is needed to remove blockers and enable the optimum flow of delivery. As a result, your organisation will become more efficient, deliver change quicker, avoid the cost of rework and be constantly looking for ways to optimise delivery capabilities. This is the way to truly unlock the full potential of digital transformations.
Have you tried to adopt these practices?
If so I’m keen to understand what worked well for you, and what you would do differently next time around.