Swisscom is the leading telecommunications company in Switzerland. Within the Enterprise Customers business unit at Swisscom, the Online Interaction Management team manages the online experience for major customers. The current aim is to optimize the different communication channels, in order to guide customers away from traditional support via hotline or mail, to web-based self-service portals. For this purpose, the various web portals are continuously improved and expanded.
As some business areas of the Swisscom already have made positive experiences with agile procedures, it was decided to create an agile organization instead of five separate agile projects. Its aim is the continuous development of the portals and the improvement of user experience without start/stop delays and the resource overhead of parallel projects. An agile expert of Q_PERIOR consulting was appointed for the implementation of this transition and the subsequent coaching. In contrast to the project approach, in an agile organization, the requirements are less focused on, but rather the implementing team or the organization. Individual resources are not allocated to requirements. Instead, stable, cross-functional teams are formed and budgeted, which can map the entire added value chain of a product (e.g. portal). These teams continuously receive new requirements and implement these. The result is a continuous value stream.
Based on the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), the model for the future cooperation was developed in first workshops and adapted to the needs of Swisscom. The result was an agile map with initially three teams, who work in parallel and in synchronized iterations according to SCRUM principles. The Program Board is subordinated to the teams. This is a body which forms the funnel for all requirements to the organization. This Board includes, among other, the product owners of the individual teams, who, together with the product manager, prioritize new topics and bring these to their teams. Outside of the organization, a steering board monitors the goal achievements and provides the budget.
To bring about such an organizational change, some essential points are required:
In addition to the iterations of the teams, the so-called program increments (PIs) represent the heartbeat of the organization. These comprise exactly four iterations and form the team-wide planning level. ALL members of the agile organization come together in person in the PI Planning for one day, and together, plan the content of the following PI.
At the end of the day, all participants may express their confidence in achieving the planned goals, if sufficient confidence is expressed, the work on the PI contents can start. In 8 weeks the cycle starts again.
We successfully held the first PI Planning on 04/12/2017 with over 30 participants. Here are some impressions:
This completes the first phase of the transformation. The next phase includes the contextual coaching of the project members and the continuous improvement of the agile methodology. For this, the Q_PERIOR consultants accompany the team in the practical implementation of their theoretical knowledge so that they are able to work independently according to SAFe. For the future, it is planned to connect additional teams to the agile organization.