Our Global Agile Transformation Journey – Part 1

Our Global Agile Transformation Journey – Part 1

In 2013, I put my reputation and senior leadership career on the line by initiating a change program. A program that would change how a global team of 150 would deliver a $20m portfolio of projects. Projects with mandatory regulatory and market-driven deadlines.

Was I crazy? Let’s find out!

During this and the following series of posts, I will share the challenging journey we went through together: warts and all.

Let’s Set the Scene

I joined the team in 2003 as a senior software developer working in a team of about 20 people in London.

Over the next ten years, the team’s responsibility, size and locations expanded.

At one point in 2009, the team was over 300 people in London, New York, Raleigh Durham and Singapore.

With the team’s growth, my role and responsibilities also grew and in 2009, I was asked to succeed my favourite boss and mentor Mike.

Following corporate reorgs, workforce change programs and ruthless takeovers, the team was now 150 people in London, New York, Singapore, Mumbai & Pune.

What Sparked a Change

The global team had a reputation for delivering on its commitments and worked long hours and weekends to ensure targets were met.

As I was reviewing the portfolio of projects to deliver this year, I reflected on what we had achieved in 2012.

It was a tough year for the team –

  • The technical debt was increasing estimates and production quality issues.
  • The regulatory project requirements were volatile until nearer the deadline, which introduced more technical debt and quality issues as we pushed an increasingly tired team to meet deadlines.
  • The lack of automated testing was causing the QA budget to increase year on year as they needed more staff to manually test the new functionality as well as a regression test the old.
  • Although attrition levels were not rising, I could see the motivation levels starting to drop as the team worked longer and longer hours to hit a deadline and then rush to the hit the next one while also dealing with dissatisfied users.
  • The number of corporate promotion slots, bonus pool and pay rises was also reducing year on year.
  • Lots of noise and difficult conversations with my seniors, heads of trading and operations.

If I wanted to deliver this huge portfolio of projects this year, reduce the noise and inject some enjoyment back into the team, I had to make a radical change.

But what was I going to do and how was I going to do it?

Find out more in part two.

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