Abstract

Application quality and business unit satisfaction had declined as a $5.5 billion dollar client’s software development practices had become increasingly complex, burdensome and unable to meet timeline demands of the business. Transformation of the company’s software development lifecycle was in order.

SDLC Partners’ IT Effectiveness Practice assessed the client’s current practices and introduced industry-proven techniques to enhance collaboration, consistency and agility. Working with the client, SDLC Partners planned and implemented a disciplined organizational change initiative to introduce and institutionalize the new practices.

Business and IT project teams using the new practices reported unprecedented levels of collaboration and stakeholder engagement that led to improved solution quality and schedule success.

Assessment Overview

SDLC’s IT Effectiveness accelerators expedited comparison of the client’s software development practices to industry-leading practices, facilitated insightful evaluation of improvement opportunities vital to the client’s business imperatives, and enabled the client and SDLC to develop a shared vision of the transformed SDLC, develop roadmaps to achieve the vision and launch a transformation program focused on early delivery of high-value improvements.

The Challenge

A large national health insurer needed to recharge its IT software development lifecycle in order to increase solution quality and increase business unit satisfaction.  IT was facing challenges including:

  • Burdensome, and inflexible software development practices: Practices were laden with unnecessary complexity and imposed barriers to achieving efficient software
  • Lack of cohesive SDLC guidance: Inconsistency from project-to- project frustrated business customers and eroded confidence in IT’s ability to deliver quality software development
  • Lack of measurement: Project results were perceived to be unacceptable but measures to demonstrate satisfaction of business requirements were not
  • Compliance Issues: Audit findings warned that software development practices were not compliant with company standards.

The Solution

The client called upon SDLC’s high-performing team of IT effectiveness experts to transform the company’s software development lifecycle. The transformation specialists utilized SDLC’s Value Creation Model to deliver:

  • Assessment & Gap Analysis: Assessed current-state software development practices against industry-leading practices, identified and prioritized opportunities and
  • Recommendations & Roadmap: Developed recommendations to close key gaps with road maps to achieve the
  • Transformation Program: Developed a set of defined improvement initiatives to achieve maximum value and address critical risks
  • SDLC Knowledgebase: Implemented a methods knowledgebase enabling the client to effectively define the firm’s software development practices, project roles, and responsibilities.
  • Tailored Delivery Processes: Enabled three software project delivery approaches (waterfall, iterative or scrum-based) to be selected based on project attributes, all using common requirements techniques.
  • Agile Requirements: Introduced techniques to infuse the SDLC with agility, including:
    • User Stories as a consistent, business-focused format for business requirements
    • Collaborative business requirement prioritization to align project activities with business priorities
    • Iterative techniques to manage project risks and enable faster and more frequent value delivery
  • New Wave Project Management: Introduced agile project management techniques that rejuvenated project planning, tracking and scope management using requirements size and burn-down metrics.
  • Organizational Change Plan: Developed the organizational change plan to communicate adoption accountability, assure stakeholder engagement, measure adoption rates and isolate adoption
  • Process Support Structure: Established an SDLC support structure including an SDLC training program and structured mentoring services that fully prepared business and IT leadership, management and professional staff to achieve improvement objectives.

The Results

Projects that executed the new practices experienced unprecedented business engagement and business/IT collaboration, increased business requirements delivered by 100% over prior methods, and increased customer confidence in IT’s ability to meet project schedules by 40%.

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