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Case Studies - ACT, Inc.

Scaling Agile across the Enterprise.  Taking Agile Teams

to the Next Level.

True
Fact
   Genesis Delivers...    

Why Genesis... >

Agile COE Lead

The Challenge.

 

ACT is a global, mission-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. They are trusted as a national leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. While millions of individuals take the
ACT college entrance test each year, there are many other products and services that ACT provides its customers related to education, learning, assessments,
and research.

ACT was well on their agile journey, successfully delivering technology solutions while scaling agile teams for over 3 years. However, they had reached a plateau and wanted to take their teams' performance tot he next level.

 

There were 16 teams with over 250 people on a single train. There was a lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities.  ACT had tried to implement SAFe across the teams, but performance was flat. Teams were not able to complete work planned and committed. Business process and product owner engagement was limited.  Value Streams and flow of work from Epic to Feature to Story was not clearly defined.  There was limited activity at the Portfolio level regarding Epic Planning, and Lean Budgeting. 

 

The Solution.

 

Genesis Consulting provided Enterprise Agile Coaching and Transformation services for ACT. Our focus was to optimize Lean, Agile and SAFe practices across the enterprise. Genesis coached ACT Leadership to define the agile transformation mission, desired outcomes, and challenges. Genesis worked with leaders to drive Executive sponsorship and alignment. 

Genesis worked with Product, Services, and Technology teams to define and streamline company Value Streams, Agile Release Trains, and Feature and Component team structures. We aligned roles to SAFe approach for Portfolio, Program and Team levels. Additionally, Genesis helped define the Portfolio and Program level Kanbans and flow of work including Kanban stages, exit criteria, Definition of Ready and Definition of Done.

 

Genesis conducted a series of role based training and workshops to engage the teams and stakeholders on the updated approach. We focused on improving agile practices and introducing new concepts such as: Estimating, Capacity Planning, Capacity Allocations, Prioritization using Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF).

This led to continued work with the DevOps teams to define operating processes integrated with Agile teams, optimize DevOps practices, and create regular release schedules.

An outcome-based Agile Transformation Roadmap was developed to focus on key areas for improvement and optimization including: Time to Market, Built in Quality, Productivity and Efficiency, People and Engagement, and Delivering Value First.

 

The Value.

 

Genesis’ exceptional performance has aligned company leadership around Agile principles and objectives. The Outcome Based Roadmap is the basis for Executive Agile Transformation goals. Portfolio level Kanban and stages were designed to align corporate vision, strategy, investment to initiatives and epics. Value streams were defined to align products, markets, and services delivered to customers. Release trains were defined to better represent the business products and services and value streams. This was all completed to better manage the flow of work, decompose work to smaller batches, monitor work in progress in efforts to deliver work to customers in shorter cycles.

 

Team roles and responsibilities were streamlined and updated to reflect SAFe recommended roles for Portfolio, Program, and Team requirements. Genesis conducted role-based training and workshops to over 500 participants that included Product Managers and Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Solutions Architects, Business Analysts and Portfolio Teams to enable them to work in their newly updated roles.

Genesis coaching resulted in streamlined processes, reduction of dependencies, and development efficiency gains in ACT. Results of Genesis coaching is reflected as follows:

   

  • Product Owners are working closely with teams and clear acceptance criteria are defined for work resulting in a decrease of defects by 95%.

 

  • With an increased focus on DevOps, teams are releasing features to customers at a faster rate, increased by over 35%.

  • Teams have improved their Completion of Work in a Program Increment by 30%. 

  • Realigned teams by Value Streams and launched three new Agile Release Trains with over 250 people.