700 Engineers, 72 Teams, 3 Continents and Self-Sufficiency in less than 9 months

700 Engineers, 72 Teams, 3 Continents and Self Sufficiency in less than 9 monthsCell phones, smart phones and tablets are pervasive. We live in a mobile world of wirelessly connected devices that have transformed the way we live, work and play.  The internet is now becoming so ubiquitous that half of the world’s population will be connected to the Internet by 2017.1 In 2012, 26% of Internet traffic originated with non-PC devices, but by 2017 the non-PC share of Internet traffic will grow to 49%.2

Behind the scenes of the services and technology that we often now take for granted are large equipment vendors who produce the software and equipment for mobile and fixed network operators around the globe.

Ivar Jacobson International provided its consulting services to one particular business unit at a large telecommunications equipment vendor, which had approximately 1500 employees, based in Europe and Asia with approximately half of these people involved in software development.

Business Drivers for Change

In 2013, due to intensely competitive pressures in a fierce global market, the telecommunications vendor decided it needed to change the way it organized its software teams in a particular division and the way it went about delivering software. They urgently needed to create competitive advantage by:

  • Improving responsiveness (delivering what customers really needed)
  • Increasing delivery precision (delivering product when customers needed it)
  • Building greater quality into the finished product.

The root cause of the issues lay in the existing, very traditional, stove-piped, development process, with many different handovers between teams. An agile approach was decided as the best way of meeting the improvement needs and transforming their software development operation.  However, simply adopting Scrum would not be enough due to the sheer scale of the organization. What was needed was an approach that could scale, both to the numbers of people involved, and to the large programs of work being undertaken. Based on previous positive experience of working with Ivar Jacobson International (IJI), in mid-2013, IJI was selected to advise on the way forward and assist with the agile adoption.

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