As one of Turkey’s largest software companies, we have embarked on a journey to improve quality & speed, where the most important milestone is the Etiya Agile Transition program.
Starting mid 2015, we have implemented the agile42 transition framework. agile42 has been our most valuable partner in the agile transition with their training and coaching services.”
The Need for Change
Etiya is serving the Telco industry since 2004, and is customizing its core products according to customer needs as well as regulations. To meet these ever-changing customer demands and requirements not only in the domestic market but also internationally, Etiya has transformed into an international player that has grown rapidly from 20 to more than 500 employees in the past years. In such a fast-growing environment, Etiya needed to establish a company culture where employees are able to work collaboratively and innovatively. Due to the various cultural and company backgrounds, the adaption of large companies like Etiya is often more difficult as it is for small companies. In order to be competitive in the worldwide markets that are full of large international companies, Etiya needs to differentiate itself also with its agility. An agile way of doing business will support Etiya to reach its goals and to serve its customers.
Early 2015, Etiya decided to begin the transformation from a plan-driven project management method to an Agile approach. Experienced coaches from agile42 trained and coached two pilot teams. When Etiya wanted to move forward with agile methods beyond a couple of teams in fall 2015, they again chose agile42 and the comprehensive methods brought by the company. Unlike competing offers that replace the internal processes wholesale, the Enterprise Transition Framework™ (ETF) offered by agile42 lets companies grow more agile on their own terms. Using ETF, organizations can implement the Agile principles and values globally in a structured manner and still retain the strategic knowledge embedded in their culture and processes.
First, the agile42 coaches led a 2-day assessment. Through workshops with groups of company members and one-on-one interviews with employees that reﬂect a maximum of diversity in terms of roles and responsibilities, agile42 uncovered an objective and independent view of the organization from both top-down and bottom-up perspectives. A transition team consisting of middle level managers from the company was formed and the findings of the assessment were discussed with a larger senior level management team and alignment was achieved in the management team.
The assessment provided both a business and a cultural analysis in order to understand the best approach for introducing Agile into the organization, and agile42 provided short-, mid- and long-term suggestions.
The assessment revealed that the company is strong and growing rapidly, with a strong vision to become an international company. It needs to have clear short term strategies and skilled people with common ways of working. The company culture is mostly people- and possibility-oriented which is an excellent basis from an Agile perspective. Team cultures ranged from Market culture fostering competition between departments.
After the assessment followed a Strategic Planning phase. Like any major change, transitioning to Agile requires a clear strategy. The strategy sets the guidelines for how to support the teams as they adopt new working practices like Scrum, and it informs and supports the rest of the organization which will be inevitably affected by them. Under the guidance of agile42 coaches, the Agile Strategy Map™ was created with the Transition Team and some managers. The Strategy Map is a powerful tool developed by agile42 that helps define possible short-, mid- and long-term improvements. This work brought together the insights gathered during the assessment, aligned them to the overall business goals and helped identify the success_stories criteria and tactics about how to move ahead to reach their business goals in a more agile way.
The outcome of this study was a defined and measurable strategic goal with possible success_stories criteria, pilots to run and tactics to potentially make these things happen.
By making the strategy explicit, it was possible to identify which areas of the organization needed to become more Agile first. This work resulted in a plan for training and coaching a umber of high-priority teams. These teams acted as “Pilot” teams to experiment with new Work methods, approaches and techniques. Besides being useful for the teams themselves, the experiments allowed the transition team to learn from their experiences, and also learn how to replicate positive results to other areas of the organization.
The 4th step was putting theory into practice. The coaching phase began with training sessions for the teams. This provided the theoretical knowledge and main Agile practices necessary for the teams to understand agile methods, and help roll out common terminology. Coaching built on that and agile42 coaches focused on assisting people and teams to discover the most important steps to become Agile. The first sprints started and coaches worked with the teams for several sprints until they were able to deliver value at small and regular intervals of time, start learning and adapting and improving customer satisfaction. Delivering often and quickly allowed teams to better manage their risk and adapt to real customer feedback.
The agile42 coaches also worked with Scrum Masters to develop their capabilities to become a Servant Leader. The first few sprints, agile42 coaches acted as role models, showing the Scrum Masters what it means to facilitate and lead a team. The coaches also worked with Product Owners to create initial backlogs and user stories, and coached them through sprints how to maintain their backlog in the best way. The coaches also helped the Scrum teams as well as the Transition Team to align and facilitate Release Planning and Release Retrospective activities for a continuous and sustainable improvement journey.
What About Challenges?
As with any major change, there were challenges on the team side and also the management and Transition Team side. While transitioning, the company also needed to continue serving their customers in a rapid and high-quality fashion.
On the team side some of the teams overcommitted in the first sprint and could not deliver all the features in their sprint backlog. Supported by agile42 coaches, they soon started to deliver much more valuable features in the upcoming sprints. The most important thing was the support from the Transition Team enabling teams to work in a safe-to-fail environment.
On the management side there were times when some departments were hesitant to change their ways of working; lots of small pre-studies were done to make them feel comfortable and be aware of what is going to happen.
There were lots of challenges for the transition team to overcome, for example worries about existing roles and responsibilities. Nevertheless, by the help of experienced agile42 coaches and the support from the Transition Team and the rest of the company, all the impediments were worked on transparently and lots of actions and small steps were taken to overcome the impediments.
Transitioning to Agile is a continuous journey of learning day by day. Needless to say, the company is facing some impediments and removing them or making them transparent and trying to find solutions.
With the help of agile42’s unique empirical approach and trademarked tools, the company has eight self-sufficient agile teams and more teams in the immediate pipeline. By managing work in more Agile way, it continues to increase its delivery speed, increase transparency and collaboration between departments.
Etiya is the leading Independent Software Vendor providing comprehensive Telco CRM, Catalog-Driven B/OSS, Social CRM, and Big Data Analytics to Communication & Digital Service Providers. With its award-winning innovative products, rapid deployments, and end-to-end implementation capabilities, Etiya provides the most complete offer in the market. Etiya is a nominee for TM Forum’s Outstanding Contribution to Enabling Improved Business Agility Award 2016 and the winner of the TM Forum Excellence Award for Customer Centricity 2015. Founded and run by engineers, Etiya has become the fastest growing software company and largest B/OSS provider in Turkey with offices and customers in Canada, Azerbaijan, UK, Singapore, and Turkey.
agile42 offers training and coaching of agile methods to organizations of all sizes and from all industries. Providing proven practices and trademarked tools, agile42 enables companies to find solutions and optimize processes for continuous improvement. With coaches across the globe, agile42 is the only agile coaching company that can deliver a consistent coaching experience throughout an entire organization, recognizing and supporting different time zones and cultural diversity. agile42 is present in 10 countries and also in Turkey since September 2014.