Our client was a large, global higher-education institution that was going through rapid change due to reorganization and the arrival of a new CIO in the past year. We were brought in to design the IT department's agile change management roadmap to improve IT project delivery time and quality while managing stakeholder communications.
Upon completing an agile assessment across people, culture, processes and technology through surveys, one-on-one interviews, as well as focus groups, we found several key problem areas:
- Unclear project ownership, roles, and responsibilities
- Siloed "us vs. them" mentality between functional teams, e.g. "We don't talk to them."
- Hierarchy was limiting project progress and decision-making, causing resentment
- Processes were unclear due to rapid changes
- Important documents were not easy to find/scattered across multiple systems
- Lack of understanding between IT and business stakeholders
From there, we were able to prioritize the internal changes that would be necessary to address these pain points and ensure we could capitalize on low-cost, high-impact wins. Immediate steps on the roadmap were:
- Developing and facilitating a cadence of all-hands cross-functional meetings, where program value streams could be mapped visually, pain points could be addressed across teams, and decisions on new policies and processes made collectively.
- Implementing the use of Slack as a two-way collaboration and feedback tool, as well as a central repository for IT process and RACI documents.
- Creating and leading an ‘Innovation Lab’ series for IT Project Managers to share ideas, adopt agile mindset, and train in new habits and behaviors.
- Developing training strategy for IT leaders across schools in agile management and servant leadership
After a period of 3 months, we launched an agile pilot across a subset of the IT department's projects.
Despite initial challenges with scoping and roles/responsibilities, 4 out of 6 of the pilot projects resulted in increased stakeholder satisfaction with quality and delivery time. Based on our survey, we found that employee engagement had also increased by 41% across pilot teams, and 25% as a whole across the IT department. Employees noted that they felt they had a"better understanding of stakeholder and cross-team needs," and "greater trust in peers/other functions." Based on improvement in metrics, we were also able to make a successful business case to scale out agile project management beyond the immediate IT department.