Company: Multinational cyber security software company
Industry: Information Technology
Products: HCL Accelerate
Lack of visibility across vertical and horizontal software delivery activities prevented the organization from improving end-to-end efficiency and understanding how IT investments support business and success factors.
Development teams within the organization began using HCL Accelerate’s value stream visualization, insights, and pipelines to achieve a greater level of software delivery visibility.
With their unified value stream and key metric reporting, development teams at the company increased their customer feedback response time and overall speed to value.
Balancing autonomy with governance
Autonomy can be a beneficial aspect of a company’s culture. Allowing teams and individuals to select the tools and processes they prefer instead of mandating specific ways of completing tasks can lead to happier employees and better work outcomes. However, this can also lead to gaps in measurement and governance and difficulty in communication between teams. This is the situation a multinational cyber security software company found themselves in.
“Our company has a deep culture of team autonomy and can select the most suitable behaviour and flow for their development. However, with our DevOps transformation we needed more alignment across customer feedback and product delivery,” said a transformation leader at the company.
Removing the teams’ freedom to choose their own work processes was not an option, since this autonomy had become a hallmark of the company’s culture. But in a DevOps pipeline, these disjointed tools led to slow customer support responses and a lack of visibility across vertical and horizontal software delivery activities.
Further complicating matters was geography. Since the software company has offices across the globe, it was difficult to get fast answers or status updates on work items because teams were separated by time zones.
Most importantly, the software company was struggling to align the business’s goals with development’s priorities. Big business initiatives can span across multiple teams, but these teams were not aware of each other’s work or aligned on strategy. The business team spends time planning, funding, and setting goals, but feedback from the development team comes too late to manage risk in the process. Without a way to trace progress, the company is open to risk in completing initiatives promised to customers.
To fix this, the company wanted a way to continue to empower their teams to make their own decisions about how work gets done by arming all groups across the global organization with up-to-date data and work item visibility so everyone can be aligned and make better decisions. In other words, the organization needed a way to align business agility with IT agility by proactively managing decisions.
Making work visible
To gain the tracking, visibility, and governance needed to unite this organization’s teams and business goals, the HCL Software DevOps team recommended the HCL Accelerate value stream management platform.
HCL Accelerate makes work visible by connecting all the disjointed tool across a DevOps pipeline. Since HCL Accelerate is tool agnostic, the teams at the software company can maintain their autonomy and continue to use the tools they prefer while the data from all those tools is aggregated into one place for easy tracking and measurement.
The “swim lanes” and “dots” functions in HCL Accelerate are especially useful for this organization. Swim lanes shows users who is working on each item in the value stream so managers can more successfully track and distribute work. Dots are an easy-to-understand visual representation of every piece of value in a DevOps pipeline, and provide traceability from idea to execution. Global teams no longer have to wait for work hours in different time zones to overlap to get answers on work items. Status update meetings can be eliminated since all that information is always up-to-date in HCL Accelerate. And both business and development teams can have clear visibility into work progress and prioritization so goals are better aligned.
Achieving business agility
The software company is a few months into using HCL Accelerate and has already seen the benefits of greater visibility into their DevOps pipeline.
By having a single source of truth to see all the data from all their disjointed tools, the software company was able to respond to customer feedback faster. The business team has greater visibility into the development team’s progress on initiatives and can align their strategy and customer communications around that. The development team has a clearer understanding of how work moves through their pipeline and has been able to reduce time spent in meetings and realign resources to match business initiative prioritization. This was all achieved without any team having to replace the tools they were already using.
Value stream management adoption has three stages – flow, realization, and optimization. The software company is at the realization stage where inefficiencies and misalignments are being brought to light. As the software company continues to use HCL Accelerate, they will enter the optimization stage where HCL Accelerate will enable them to improve processes to become an even faster, more competitor player in the cyber security industry.