Organise well and prepare thoroughly

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Effective delivery requires an effective operating model. This model needs to be carefully designed to deal with the major challenges and risks of the work being undertaken. It needs to be resilient so that it can deal with the unpredictable behaviour of the wider world.

Things will just work

It is common to neglect to work through how a programme will operate. Either through omission or through an explicit or implicit assumption that existing practices are fit for purpose and coherent. People then figure out how to deal with situations on the fly. Poor choices with bad long term consequences are made. Programmes have failed because of a “things will just work” approach.

Common failings

Vague accountability, unmeasurable deliverables, missing disciplines, imprecise lines of command are common failings. They are common because they naturally occur when positive action has not been taken to remove them. They are also the factors that drag programmes down. Effective operating model design helps to minimise these sources of friction.

Invest in process and operating model setup

Successful solution delivery depends on a tailored delivery process and operating model. Intellect and time needs to be invested in defining an approach. Conflicts, competing pressures, technical challenges, uncertainties, knowledge gaps and risks need to shape the design. The result must be subject to critical appraisal and revision. Ultimately work must be done to move from a paper concept to a living organism with a clear purpose.

Our experience

From small software development shops to enterprise IT operations with thousands of developers, we have worked with organisations at many scales to help them improve the way they deliver solutions. We have:

  • Helped an established global fintech banking software supplier to revitalise delivery of a core product using “agile centric” techniques
  • Reviewed the organisation of software activities within an educational services supplier.
  • Reshaped software development in two embedded systems companies.
  • Championed the introduction of incremental delivery into an ERP programme.
  • Delivered an operating model and cost review for a global insurance company.

How we can help

We analyse how delivery operates and identify how it should operate to be more effective. We bring rigour to this analysis. Our experience gives us insight into the dynamics and pitfalls that exist in technology organisations. We can help define and establish far more effective delivery models.

Learn more

More information on delivery approaches can be found in our description of delivery operating models. Then to speak directly please send an email with your contact details to and we will get back to you at your convenience.

Our work

Enterprise Release Model - At the heart of this large business operations sits a diverse set of moderate to tightly coupled large scale systems. This includes IVR, CRM, billing, provisioning, and online applications amongst others, at a rough count the overall solution contained around forty core applications. Demands that the pace of change increate and that the cost of delivery reduce led to a campaign to transform how development was done and move it to an industrialised process. A change was made from a project oriented model to a consolidated coordinated model that secured and allocated capacity from the application development team. Coordinated waves of development, ultimately delivering releases where prioritised and driven through the release cycle by a core delivery leadership team. We provided primary input into the model and then operated as part of the delivery leadership team during the formative year and a half as the approach bedded in.

Delivery & Agile Adoption Review - The global CIO of this large financial service company need to understand why there was perception of a major imbalance between what development cost and what it delivered. There were also questions around the “move to Agile” the organisation had made. We undertook a review that clarified the state of play within the organisation covering both the overall delivery approach and how appropriate the way agile practices had been adopted was. It became clear that the organisation had remained very project centric and needed to industrialise to achieve greater value, throughput, speed and transparency.

Software Product Development Process - This produce development company need to revitalise the delivery of a core product whilst at the same time developing a strategic replacement and introducing a more modern approach to development. The existing setup had suffered from quality and throughput issues. A senior executive took over the area and we were engaged to assist across a variety of disciplines. One was the shaping of the development and delivery model. Once you move from a waterfall project centric approach this becomes a non-trivial process. We shaped a hybrid delivery model using sprint based development with periodic cuts taken for finalisation and release. An aligned testing model used embedded in-sprint exploratory testing alongside sprint plus feature and quality of function testing with separate formal product testing associated with the releasable cuts. This model got the balance right, quality improved and development of the strategic product accelerated.

Software Development Practice - This satellite operation of a major defense contractor needed a software development practice. The contactor had acquired a small niche supplier wanting to sell their technology into its military customer base, but to do so it needed a acceptable practices. The parent organisation’s existing practices were too heavyweight, designed to delivery complex primary sensor solutions used on warships. Something else was needed. A lightweight, small team, development practice was defined that balanced the transparency, traceability and control against flexibility and cost of operation. The definition employed principles and policies overlaid with a tracking and assessment framework rather than prescription of what was to be done. This was a different approach to defining the software practices within the organisation. Rather than dictate how to do things it spelt out what needed to be achieved and then had mechanisms to judge the level of achievement. The local team retained flexibility whilst the parent company established an appropriate level of discipline.

Hybrid Development Practice Code Management Process - Having agreed a hybrid delivery model, combining sprint based development with periodic releases of the product, we then defined the code management practices that supported this model. Encompassing branching, merging practices, promotion rules and change flow the approach provide identified effective patterns covering new development, standard changes and fixes, support for system and integration testing and emergency support.