Case Study

Scaling Scrum Inside Insure-Tech

Simon Roberts is a Management Consultant, Agile and Lean Coach, Certified Scrum Trainer® and Certified Scrum@Scale® Trainer (SaST) based in the UK. In this Scrum@Scale case study, Simon was asked to help a major European telecommunications company in a large scale Scrum transformation. Simon explains how Scrum and key Scrum@Scale concepts were used to “rescue” a failing product and increase overall organization communication.

Case Study Snapshot

Trainer Name: Simon Roberts
Industry: Telecommunications
Org Size: Large
Date: 2018
Website: Trainer’s website

Summary

Simon Roberts is a Management Consultant, Agile and Lean Coach, Certified Scrum Trainer® and Certified Scrum@Scale® Trainer (SaST) based in the UK. In this Scrum@Scale case study, Simon was asked to help a major European telecommunications company in a large scale Scrum transformation. Simon explains how Scrum and key Scrum@Scale concepts were used to “rescue” a failing product and increase overall organization communication.

The initial situation included issues such as long time-to-market, low customer satisfaction, and poor performance and reliability of the product. Because of this sluggish output, customers were not satisfied, and retention rates fell off with 1-2-star app ratings.

Internally, there was also low team morale and conflict. Development was carried out by teams who were responsible for different layers of the technical architecture. Did someone say, “disconnect”?

This development business unit was chosen to undergo a transformation using Scrum@Scale. They were responsible for a cloud-based personal storage product. When we arrived, the main thing it was storing was failure.

Enter the cavalry, a.k.a. use of key components of the Scrum@Scale framework, created by Dr. Jeff Sutherland. The first step was to create multiple cross-functional teams, each with their own development team, Product Owner, and Scrum Master.

In addition, a MetaScrum was formed consisting of a Chief Product Owner, team Product Owners, and the all-important stakeholders, who were asked to participate in ongoing check-ins. The MetaScrum created a single consolidated product backlog, which was key for having teams talk to each other. Cross-team communication wins the day!

An Executive Action Team (EAT) coordinated the overall approach for introducing this Agile Transformation and helped to remove impediments. In the Scrum@Scale Guide, the Executive Action Team (EAT) fulfills the Scrum Master role for the entire organization. This leadership team creates and owns the Agile ecosystem, implements the Scrum values, and assures that Scrum roles are created and supported.

In Simon’s case study, getting support from senior management was (and is, usually) absolutely crucial. Some of the senior managers remain skeptical, but the few who became agile champions are working on steps to move this practice into other business units.

Key Results

1) Quality improved because defects were captured in increments, so they were easier to fix.

2) Velocity measured progress to make predictions on releases more valuable.

3)The number of active users increased and app store ratings improved from an average of 1-2 stars to 4-5 stars

4) People in the teams were happy, based on metrics gathered by ongoing retrospectives.

5) The product was awarded first place by a major technical journal in a review of competitive consumer cloud products!

Who is Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts is an experienced Scrum coach, mentor, and trainer with a strong background in software engineering. He has actively applied Scrum since 2002 and agile methodology since the late 1990s. Simon has been a Certified Scrum Trainer with Scrum Alliance since 2009.

Simon specializes in introducing and coaching Scrum in traditional enterprises, particularly in the financial sector in the United Kingdom and Germany. He has particular expertise in Scrum enterprise transitions, scaling Scrum and integrating Scrum with IT governance frameworks. 

Simon is co-founder of the Munich Scrum User Group, “Agile Tuesday” and is a frequent speaker (in German and English) at Agile conferences.

As a Certified Scrum@Scale Trainer (SaST), Simon is able to coach and train Certified Scrum@Scale Practitioners. Simon combines his years of experience in scaling Scrum and knowledge of scaling frameworks to deliver value and expertise to his students.

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