Evolving A Continuous Improvement System

  Dan Craig, Fannie Mae

Dan’s presentation was one of the top rated sessions. He shared his top  learnings building a continuous improvement program across 240 teams. He highlighted his learnings and spoke to the reality that continuous improvement means more than a team sitting in a room for a team retro…it’s a complex and delicate ecosystem that requires intentional focus to pull it all together.   

Dan’s presentation and slides can be found here

Background

  • One single company, 2 large business units, 240 agile teams
  • Multiple scaling frameworks
  • Seeking to find ways to connect the teams with their customer/s & with leadership, engage them as true service teams

Challenges

  • No clear vision or the target state – teams were unclear of the desired target state
  • Leadership was disengaged from the teams, unclear on how to support them & relied on traditional management practices 
  • No consistent or meaningful metrics – there was significant variance in tooling and inconsistent process, making organic and quantifiable metrics difficult to capture and gain insights from
  • Little to no structure for improvement – newly formed agile CoE & the enterprise had limited change management plans alongside inconsistent metrics

Actions Taken

  • Pilot (30+ teams)
  • Defined a targeted vision
  • Created an agile maturity model
  • Published an agile playbook
  • Developed a metrics dashboard at the team & program level 
  • Measured with consistency 
  • Set-up a quarterly cadence for TeamHealth Retrospectives

Learnings & Results

  • Metrics and data was not enough
  • Quarterly cadence solidified maturity progress
  • Focus on managing growth items allowed teams the ability to escalate items just-in-time
  • Impediments started to move through the system with resolution
  • Growth Portal provided the opportunity to gain and share ideas
  • Engagement increased within both teams and leadership
  • Valuable insights were gained for future investment planning & gaps that needed to be filled
  • Ongoing issues & problem were finally being resolved and had a place to go for resolution
  • Leaders set an example, demo’d their results (at both the program & portfolio level)
  • Outcome-based metrics dashboard allowed focus on speed, stability, quality & satisfaction

While they are still learning how to best prioritize and focus on the delivery of outcomes with speed, today, the continuous improvement system consists of a structured approach, engaged leadership, a changed culture & meaningful metrics….not just empty words. 

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