A few months ago we were invited in to see a client who had decided that their engineering team needed to do Scrum. After a few short conversations with a variety of staff, it became apparent that the problems that the engineering team were facing were most likely a consequence of dysfunction upstream from them with product managers, UXD and stakeholders.
Quickly closing in on how the product team was working, we agreed that the correct focus was to help make product delivery effective again, because improvement in that area would positively impact many other areas of the business too.
We started by identifying five key areas where we knew we had to make improvements. We then took a survey asking staff from a diverse array of disciplines about what their confidence levels were in the ability of the company to function well in those areas. We asked the following questions:
How confident do you feel about…
- …turning company strategy in to achievable and clear product outcomes?
- …the ability of Product and Engineering to work together?
- …the ability of Product and Engineering to deliver strategic initiatives?
- …our ability to prioritise the right work to help our business grow?
- …whether we are getting product delivery right?
Visualising the data returned made it quick to interpret right from the outset:
By using this technique, we were able to focus on specific points to improve, prioritising them so we distributed our efforts wisely. Understanding the need for fast feedback to validate out effectiveness, we took another survey two-thirds of the way through the engagement:
The places where we were not making the impact we wanted were highlighted early and we were then able to re-double our efforts in addressing the issues remaining. At the end of the engagement we were able to show the total impact we had made:
This method of using a tool to get fast feedback on the progress we were making was invaluable for a number of reasons:
- It gave us, the consultants, clear feedback on our progress.
- It allowed us to keep focus on solving the original problem.
- It gave the MD and the directors confidence that they were getting a solid RoI.
- It proved that the areas we chose to improve were the right ones.
- There was total transparency on what was happening throughout the engagement.
The client was really happy with the work we had done. By working closely with them and sharing the feedback we were able to reduce the risk the engagement would fail and manage their expectations continuously throughout. Moreover, we truly collaborated – changing the business positively and sustainably.