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Agile Case Study at Leading Credit Bureau

Leading Credit Bureau
agility@IQ


Agile Case Study at Leading Credit Bureau

In today’s highly competitive environment, companies are constantly seeking better business results. In order to
achieve this, they aim for:

  • Faster time-to-market for their products.
  • Earlier return on investment.
  • Better customer satisfaction.
  • Improved quality of their products.

Agile enables these outcomes when compared with a traditional software development approach.
The Agile transformation project at a Leading Credit Bureau was no exception. The organisation wanted their teams to go faster, be more productive and produce better quality technology products. Through various discussions with IQ
Business the decision was made to adopt the Scrum framework and partner with IQ Business to help the Leading Credit Bureau
start their Agile journey.
The IQ Business team was appointed to do an initial assessment of organisational readiness, facilitate 2-day
Scrum training (Agile Boot camp) for three pilot teams and coach these teams in order to embed the Agile principles,
practices, tools and techniques with a focus on implementing Scrum as the selected framework.

Case background:
The Leading Credit Bureau offers various product offerings to both consumers and businesses through several operating divisions: Credit Bureau, Analytic and Decisioning Services and Auto Information Solutions. For consumers, the Leading Credit Bureau provides information resources and helpful tools for a clear understanding of their credit history and financial reputation, and to guard against the theft of personal information and potential fraud. Consumers also rely on this organisation for car value and history reports. For businesses, the Leading Credit Bureau provides powerful analytic and decisioning solutions, backed by professional service and current, comprehensive data for all Southern African businesses.

Key business challenges:
Some of the main challenges which IQ Business’ team faced at the Leading Credit Bureau were:

  • Co-location – teams were distributed across multiple areas of the office.
  • Roles – Scrum was a new process for some of the teams and team members had to step into new roles and responsibilities such as Scrum Master and Product Owner.
  • Testing – most of testing efforts were outsourced to a vendor in India.
  • Dedication (100% allocation to projects) – some employees were shared between multiple teams.
  • Business understanding of Agile – most stakeholders and executives were new to the process and some of the concepts were not clear to them (i.e. sprints, stories, story points, velocity and other).
  • The Agile transformation project for the Leading Credit Bureau took place between October and December 2013 over three phases:

1. Initiation (five days) Review and assess the current Leading Credit Bureau project environment in relation to the proposed pilot projects selected to assess the constraints, governance requirements, team structure, infrastructure and other factors which were to be considered in order to tailor the Agile approach most suited to the selected pilot projects.
2. Tailored Agile Boot camp (two days) Scrum training for 30 attendees with the following key objectives:

  • To provide an overview of the Agile approach to projects including values, principles and demystifying the myths.
  • To provide a detailed understanding of the Scrum Framework focusing on roles, ceremonies and artefacts.
  • To provide a practical walkthrough of the Scrum Framework by using practical exercises to reinforce the theory learnt.
  • To provide an understanding of how to estimate and plan in an Agile environment.
  • To provide additional learning content covering engineering principles (XP), a brief overview and application of Kanban, Scaling models and integration with traditional approaches and roles.
  • To workshop requirements and produce working Agile artefacts that would be used in the projects.

3. Agile Coaching Over an eight week period We assisted teams with their practical implementation of Scrum focusing on the Agile principles, practices, tools and techniques learnt during the Agile boot camp. The objectives of this phase were:

  • To provide guidance and support to team members new to Agile.
  • To work through initial challenges in practice.
  • To facilitate the Agile ceremonies such as Sprint Planning, Backlog grooming, Sprint reviews and retrospectives in Sprint 1.
  • To coach allocated Scrum Masters and Product Owners during Sprint 1 as well as handover knowledge during Sprint 2.
  • To ensure adequate handover to the allocated Scrum Masters for each team to ensure that the Leading Credit Bureau has the necessary skills and knowledge to own the process going forward at the end of the engagement.

The next steps – Future plans:
IQ Business recommended the allocation of a skilled Scrum Master with 2-3 years of Agile experience through contracting engagement, or a permanent hire to help with one of the teams. This will result in better execution of work during sprints and will speed up development. We also recommended the implementation of Agile coaching circles. Agile coaching circles are an opportunity to share experiences within the Leading Credit Bureau and to learn from peers. Coaching circles allow for spreading learning to avoid making mistakes already made by other teams, and to build stronger teams through collaboration. The Leading Credit Bureau will need to continue to educate business on Agile through hosting knowledge sharing sessions with business and executives. This will bring stakeholders closer to the team and improve communication. Other steps include introduction of Agile to other teams (already running and new). We also recommended establishing Agile metrics for all teams (such as velocity, burn-down rates, time to market, cost of delay, etc.). This will assist in the measuring of progress, performance and success. On conclusion of the initial engagement, the Leading Credit Bureau sent through an additional 16 delegates to further Agile training to further embed the learning.

How we helped their business grow:
Included in the engagement was a report presented to the sponsor and key stakeholders which represented the key observations, outcomes and recommendations.  All teams improved their productivity with one of the teams increasing their average velocity by 78% by the end of coaching.

Our approach:

Agile Case Study at Leading Credit Bureau

Initiation (five days): Review and assess the current TransUnion project environment.


Agile Case Study at Leading Credit Bureau

Tailored Agile Boot camp (two days) Scrum training for 30 attendees.


Agile Case Study at Leading Credit Bureau

Agile Coaching.

Benefits to the client:

Agile Case Study at Leading Credit Bureau

All teams improved their productivity with one of the teams increasing their average velocity by 78% by the end of coaching.


Agile Case Study at Leading Credit Bureau

Included in the engagement was a report presented to the sponsor and key stakeholders which represented the key observations, outcomes and recommendations.


Agile Case Study at Leading Credit Bureau

All teams received positive feedback from stakeholders.

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