Help an organisation thrive with agile practices

Wärtsilä set out to find a solution to the typical challenges of traditional business. One unit in the development organisation was under pressure when several different stakeholders had conflicting and overlapping demands. In the previous operating model, the lack of transparency and the limited knowledge of the actual delivery capacity of the organisation led to variation in deliveries timing, as the unit received assignments without full transparency of what was possible within the desired schedule. Previous attempts to improve the unit’s delivery capability had not resulted in the desired outcome. Wärtsilä wanted to find a solution that would give transparency and predictability to the work progress, and thus meet the schedules without overloading employees.

We began the cooperation by visualising the ongoing work. Problem areas and bottlenecks were identified, and we started prioritising work from the perspective of value production. We detected that the organisation’s inflow significantly exceeded the outflow, so we started removing the parts of the workflow that did not serve the desired outcome.

From the beginning, Wärtsilä understood that sustainable change requires commitment. The organisation’s management had a strong desire to support the success of the teams so that the change would have the desired impact. This practically resulted in extensive training throughout the organisation. This was followed by a series of workshops to put the new approach into practice, for example through joint planning. We started visualising the ongoing work together. At the same time, the dependencies causing delays were made visible, and several categories of work were identified. The JIRA tool was also configured to enable feedback through the backlog.

We continued training and coaching the employees in the different roles throughout the process so that necessary support for change was available at all times. Wärtsilä wanted to ensure the success of the change and therefore put significant efforts into the change from the beginning. This way, the SAFe® Release Train really got off to the desired start: right from the first Program Increment, the desired outcome was achieved. At the same time, we continuously improved the architecture so that the work would flow through the organisation with ease and as effortlessly as possible.

Photos: Wärtsilä