A New Digital Customer Centric Ecosystem | Vincent Dempsey, GM of Digital, Vodafone | Tiffany Overton, Lead Consultant, ThoughtWorks
As the new GM of Digital at Vodafone, Vinnie has an ambitious mission to revamp and transform their digital ecosystem.
Vinnie and Tiff will take you through Vodafone’s digital transformation journey, full of technical constraints, siloed platforms and teams, KPI hurdles, cultural clashes and volatility up and down the value stream… along with incredible wins along the way.
Hi, I am Tiffany Overton, Consultant at TWOursession shares the digital transformation journey at VF…full of IT challenges, funding cycle shenanigans, KPI hurdles, cultural clashes and volatility up and down the value stream… along with incredible wins along the way.We will talk about Learning what to do: get leadership buy-in, engage stakeholders, shift funding cycle Learn what not to do - delay teaching the Why, presume KPIs are something to “work around” Learn what to do sooner: prepare IT for the changes in requirement gathering, documentation, communicating status Learn how to do it: you need friends----- Meeting Notes (29/04/14 15:21) -----
TIFFOur story begins with Vinne joining VF as the GM of Digital ChannelsHe is a waterfall guy, a Command and Control leader, someone who has experienced much success with these traditional methodsHe finds … An Agile transformation of the digital teams in already in flight And also identifies a need to massively change customer experience in parallel.He is already facing a Pivot point, can they do both at the same time, does he become a barrier or a facilitator of AgileThis is the crux of our discussion today. How do you go from waterfall to agile/lean as a leader, as a Digital group… It is harder than you might expect and even more rewarding than you can imagine… and finally, we proposeIf you don’t figure out how to be agile as an organization, you can’t deliver to the customer and you quickly fall behind your competitors who are also working very hard to do the same.
So let me introduce you to Vinnie Dempsey, GM of Digital Channels, Vodafone Australia
VINNIEI needed to get a common view on what we were trying to achieve with this program and to shock the exec into understanding that for Digital traditional Telco methodologies would not serves us well. This was the main catalyst for engaging ThoughtWorks to assist with this.Touch on NPS shiftsTouch on ability to deploy faster, learn what the customer needed and deploy againThis was a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious GoalAnd we have succeeded
TIFFSo, back to Vinnie’s story …In the first 90 days, he starts to frame out his current condition and starts to define what his future state could be.He sets 2 initial goals related to the Digital department transformation,GOAL 1-Define CUSTOMER end to end journeys that reflect BRILLIANT BASICS.We needed a methodology that would champion the customer.
TIFFAnd GOAL 2- Assistance structuring Portfolio level ManagementHe need to :Find a way to communicate across newly decentralized Agile teams And clearly communicate back to the business what the current condition of features in those delivery streamsAND reflect interdependencies within the delivery teams and outside of digital eg. IT, test environments etc to the wider business to preemptly address risks and issues in real time
VinnieWhere were we starting from:We had great thought leadership from our Head of Digital Delivery Craig Rees, he had already start the process of moving to an agile delivery model but there was a lack of clarity around what we should do and why we should deliver these items.
VINNIE, we needed help and fast.So as the GM, I decide to bring in a TW team for an 8 week engagementI issued an RFI to seek assistance in defining the customer journey work and to also engage and gather the varied perspectives re digital in the business. I wanted to provide the business and the team with a clear north star that could anchor the project. I also made the decision to keep working on delivering what was already underway so as to keep momentum while trying to stabilize the teams.ThoughtWorks had 3 initial directives:portfolio alignmentagile coaching and mapping the digital customer journeys’ future state while clearly reflecting current condition in that thinking.
VinnieWe needed to leverage the visual and collaborative tools that Agile and Lean offer to bring what we are trying to achieve to life. We needed a way to allow the teams to have a north start of what customer experience we were aiming for and then overlay this with the activities that we were doing to deliver on this. These Journeys have become the centre of how we work and the link between the customer and the roadmap.
Vinnie We also need to make the roadmap come to life and be accessible by all at the team and also the wider business level. The teams now use this to collaborate and discuss up coming work. All these walls are within a few meters of each other to allow cross pollination.
TiffI translated this initial direction from Vinnie into a mutli level approach by our TW teamsAn Enterprise Level coaching team from ThoughtWorks spent time gathering the business view - while in parallel- The Experience Design from TW team mapped what customers expected and desired with the long term aim of aligning both at the end of the project And while I was a part of the Enterprise level coaching, I also had the opportunity to develop the visual systems and lean enterprise thinking required to allow VINNIE and his HEADS OF to manage the multiple programs of work in a new way.Vinnie The portfolio wall established by Tiff was QUICKLY becoming part of the fabric of the teams. Collaboration and planning were now at the wall, as it was the real time source of truth.The portfolio wall has been helpful in many ways I hadn’t expected. We were using it for Digital Steerco and Executive Updates… It has also spawned the roll out of similar tools across the wider business. It is quite rewarding to see impromptu meetings at the Portfolio wall. Devs and Managers solutioning interdependencies in real time with real status reflected. These walls facilitate the right conversations.
VINNIEIt is important to understand how different the teams feel at this point.The Digital floor is alive with conversation. You guys should all come have a look - as I did at Suncorp
TIFFLet’s talk briefly about the specifics of the wall. It reflects current overall health of the teamReasons for concerns that relate to the iteration2 qtrs worth of features delivered earlier or to be delivered in the upcoming iterationsRelease dates for those features…find me later if you are curious about the details of a Portfolio Level wallVinnie talks about culture
VINNIEThe E2E journeys and the Portfolio wall are helping me, at this point, to warm up to Agile teams and Lean enterprise thinkingBut let’s be clear… it is Not a walk in the park this transformation thing. The Journeys and Tools are not enough to change he way you work, you also need to win the hearts and minds of your team and the wider business and this takes time and effort beyond what you might think.
Vinnie elaboratesLarge corporates operate on rigid funding processes and gates. This is completely alien to the way agile works so I needed to find a way to marry both worlds.Solution: I stopped taking about agile, as to most Exec’s it means nothing and also can sound preachy. I instead focused on fast and efficient delivery and that I could start showing business benefit early. I picked the parts of the journey that if picked would deliver the most value and focused on them. I also ensured that we linked the deliverables to KPI movements and signed up to keep showing results to keep the funding flowing.
VINNIEYou do need to have at least 1 exec sponsor who understand why you are moving to agile and what this means so that in the beginning you get the alignment for funding and also for the resource model. Need to link it to in year business KPI improvements.You also need a strong business case. I also suggest getting the CTO/CIO on board, help them by providing a controlled experiment on how to work differently, work with them to find a way to roll it out to the wider organisation, pick a project and trial integration.When we went to SUNCORP…. It is all about proving you can be trusted…. Once you prove you can be trusted, then you get leeway
VINNIEAs a leader, I was super uncomfortable to not have certainty about what was being delivered. We all know the BRS is a pipe dream, but in the traditional world, I could hang my hat on it.If I had that and reviewed the content, I could hang responsibility outside my teams if things went wrong……I needed to find away to define enough detail to allow a roadmap to be agreed while allowing the team to have autonomy to define and own what the detail of these items were. We have spent significant time over the past 9 months to improve our planning processes, forums, workshops, roadmap sessions. The “wall” and it’s equivalent Roadmap “wall” was key to this and also as a very visible view what we are working on and when we can deliver.The inception phase upgrade journey change in the Estore was a pivot point for Vinnie trusting this new way of collecting and reflecting requirements. Helping stakeholder up and down the value stream to understand these methods, trust them and make them work within their existing structures is important
TIFFThis is not just anexercise in managing technology and businessrequirementsIt is about people and culture and managing changethere too. IT HAS TO BE…
TIFFOur Digital Transformation required that we Engage teams in the process and get them to a place of outcome ownership – Digital Council , a new mid level meeting, started to address this – This is not a fast process…to empower those in the middle – they need to trust you before they are willing to step forward… we began to communicate that we wanted a new way of thinking and doing. We believed that Subject matter experts should inform all of our next steps in their domains. Decisions from above are often ill informed without the right people involved. We wanted those people involved AND We wanted them to speak up when we missed them accidentally or were going down a path they couldn’t support knowing what they knewWe also invested in them – Ran StrengthFinders exercises, Taught about waste and quality the first time and Ran workshops on limiting WIP, the down side of context switching, encouraged them not to be “busy” but to be accountable….We began to introduce PDCA and the six sigma equivalent – DMAICAnd finally, We let the mid levels know that there was a learning curve to this new process. If they failed, it wasn’t them it was us. We would see those as opportunities to improve. We would also be close enough to be available when they or we saw signs of trouble to address issues in the moment. We could fail earlier, more often, and still land in a better place. Not an easy concept to introduce…..But we did…And 6 months in to this part of the journey – we are seeing incredible outcomesWe also started the LEADERSHIP SOLUTIONING MEETING This gave the leadership team a forum for real debate, a healthy family fight, to call out concerns – NO PPT slides, No spinning issues so that we can say everything is great…We were getting to the root cause and holding each other accountable for taking the correct next steps and helping each other land where we needed to be as a leadership teamVINNIETalks about how much they appreciate this meeting now and how skeptical they were at first
TIFFTo get where we needed to be together, wehad to Build trust with these highly intelligent, discriminating,critical thinkers. EVERYONE. LEADERSHIP TEAM, DELIVERY TEAMS, PRODUCT, MARKETING….Skeptics vs. Criticshttp://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130506120216-658789-skeptics-vs-cynics-know-which-are-toxicThe Difference Between A Skeptic and a CynicLet’s define the terms. According to the Oxford Dictionary:Skeptic: A person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.While I don’t think anyone is skeptical all of the time – especially of their own opinions – there are people who tend to question statements, opinions, and conclusions. I’m sure you know people like that.Cynic: A person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting for honorable reasons.I like that definition, but here’s one from the Free Dictionary that goes more to the point:Cynic: A person whose outlook is scornfully and often habitually negative.Unfortunately, I’m sure you know a few people like that, too.In business terms here’s the key difference between skeptics and cynics.Skeptics can be extremely useful members of a team. They don't just accept ideas, proposals, opinions, or even “facts” as offered – they need to be convinced.Skeptics like to look at data. They like to analyze. They like to assess. Skeptics like to weigh and measure and draw their own conclusions.Skeptics don’t wear rose-colored glasses. Skeptics temper the enthusiasm – often in a good way – of the instantly enthusiastic and in the process often apply a level of analysis and rigor that transforms a good idea into a great idea — and just as important, help recognize bad ideas.Cynics, on the other hand, are toxic. At a fundamental level they don’t believe in goodness. Cynics don’t believe in the capability of other people to overcome, to rise up, and to achieve. They don’t believe in new ideas because, at heart, they don’t believe in people (including themselves.)In short, cynics poison a team – and the people on that team.
TIFFVinnie and I strategized about FY 14. I proposed a three pronged approach to the learnings for the year.1-Up skill delivery teams – ALL BESPOKE Workshops on better Story mapping and release breakdown, improved inception facilitation, a new Agile Product management process, UX continuous design, Ibetter iteration management, better planning and estimation for the FY and then at much higher fidelity for the QTR, qtrly burn up charts, epic summaries, Flow and cadence and cycle times and building a control central… all in Q1-2 … Q3 and 4 we will bring the teams more theory including Root Cause Analysis, quality, waste and teach Personal Kanban.2-Engage and Empower mid-levels– D Council, subject matter experts making decisions not waiting for “what do you want”In IT’S YOUR SHIP, Captain D. Michael Abrashoff says- “…I FOUND THAT THE MORE CONTROL I GAVE UP, THE MORE COMMAND I GOT….SHOW ME AN ORGANIZATION IN WHICH EMPLOYEES TAKE OWNERSHIP, AND I WILL SHOW YOU ONE THAT BEATS ITS COMPETITORS. CAPTAINS NEED TO SEE THE SHIP FROM THE CREW’S PERSPECTIVE. THEY NEED TO MAKE IT EASY AND REWARDING FOR CREW MEMBERS TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES AND THEIR IDEAS, AND THEY NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW AND WHEN TO DELEGATE RESPONSIBILITY.” We moved the needle toward engagement and ownership and proactive solutioningAll of this was to ultimately achieve….. Improved employee engagement and in return better CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE3- Leadership LearningsTheory, engaging directly with midlevels, reviewing what delivery teams are covering…THEN VINNIE “It was like a deprogramming….success before came from totally different methods….”it is important to invest the time in taking the direct management team on the journey of how lean and agile works. Allocate the time needed for such training, and find a way to allow people to feel safe to discuss their concerns and lack of understanding.THEN TIFFGary Hamel’s quote speaks to the change in thinking required… “Management, like the combustion engine, is a mature technology that must now be reinvented for a new age”.In order to lead well, today’s managers need to trust their subject matter experts – their people. Making decisions without going to the source – the shopfloor, the delivery team, the person doing the actual work is not acceptable. Those who do the work need to own the decision making process and the outcomes. Managers become the facilitators of action not the dictators of ideas.
TIFFIt is a JOURNEY – THESE CHANGES DON’T COME EASY OR QUICKLY but they are worth the effort. They produce results. This may sound a bit “fluffy” or “grass skirts and ukuleles” but those who know me, they know, I am the least fluffy person in the room.We can produce resilient teams that work to outcomes customers want …This transition to a different management model delivers measureable improvements. AND it does so while improving the work environment. People were not in a good place a year ago. The digital floor is no longer that unsafe, confronting environment. It is a great place to be now. Our story doesn’t stop here though, we have lots to do over then next few Qtrs…VinnieThis is where we want to go…….
VINNIEWhat we have achieved… read the slide bulletsTIFFWe have change management wins apart from the technology as well.We now have won trust in the teams We have a culture of collaborationAnd transparencyAnd enthusiasm in the processTwo Devs arguing story – set the stage – one dev is Sr, a blocker, spends lots of time telling why he can’t vs. figuring out how he can… he tells the Junior Dev “I can not make you happy”The junior Dev replies “I don’t want you to make me happy, I want you to make the customer happy” In that moment, I have achieved success as a change management person. I have given the tools to the jr.Dev that he needed to confront actions that will not benefit the customer. He has eliminated waste by assuring the right thing was done, not the easy thing, but the action that would champion the customer.
VINNIE – Final ThoughtsWe started out thinking some Agile training and we were good to go…So far from the truth….Thought if we taught them how to do it the teams would be game - In fact, they were scared.Our Voice numbers (employee engagement)dropped significantly – ZHAMAK, a ThoughtWorker you will hear from later today was called a bully – wait until you meet her… so far from the truth…she was firm, direct, challenged thinking but no bully, but my people we feeling vulnerable through all this change.Change agents within Vodafonewere hard to find. This new way of working was against the Telco cultural default…We hadto pace the rate of change, bring more of the Why not just the How to everyone so that they could become part of the change, part of the solution, part of the growth.We are doing that now and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. TIFF - The TW / Vodafone partnership has facilitated results.We got where we are together. Working to move the DIGITAL GROUP towards delivering better CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE conscious of what it take to manage change, shift thinking, support new process and engage our people in that process…
TIFFWe are becoming what we need to be at Vodafone –– This is essentially our Vision Statement for Digital collaboratively produced by the ENTIRE DIGITAL DEPARTMENTReads the slide VinnieEnds by saying something like this….My people are enthusiastic about where we are heading. That enthusiasm will translate to a better experience for our customers and this has already been noticed by the wider business.Thank you
Back up questions if the audience has nothing for us…How did you manage to persuade VF to invest in the Why not just the How???What has not worked???
A New Digital Customer Centric Ecosystem | Vincent Dempsey, GM of Digital, Vodafone | Tiffany Overton, Lead Consultant, ThoughtWorks
Vincent Dempsey and Tiffany Overton
Who are we?
1. Over 400 million customers
2. Operate in 30 countries
3. 44 billion GBP in annual revenue
1. ~ $3 billion company
2. Operating in an ~ $18 billion mobile industry (~$39b total)
We needed to
1. Saturated market
2. Highly competitive
3. Forefront of Digital Revolution
4. Less than ideal customer satisfaction across the industry
1. Weathered some brand challenges
2. Needed to refocus on the basics
3. Needed to rebuild trust with our customers
4. Customers are demanding to interact with us Digitally
Needed to define what transformation means, what do we
1. Digital will be a primary differentiator
2. Digital is no longer niche
3. We need to change the way we work to deliver this transformation
How we work
what we do
We needed a methodology that
put the customer at the core.
We needed new tools to manage this new
way of working:
• Allow isolated Agile teams share status and reach out
• Highlight interdependencies in real time
• Clearly illustrate to the business the current condition
of features in flight
• Permit delivery teams and business to proactively
respond to risks and issues that could impact WIP
and the roadmap of work quarterly and annually
But let’s be clear …
It is NOT a walk in the park, much more
than this was needed to ensure success.
Don’t mention it = agile,
find early wins with lots of visibility,
tie current KPI to the business case &
Get finance on board:
Budgeting, Cycle Time,
Requirements to draw down,
Find a champion, identify common
goals & collaborate
Build a coalition of the
The Portfolio Wall and then
the Planning Roadmap
The unknown …
WHERE IS MY BRS??
Building Engagement, Ownership and Transparency
• New meetings, new thinking
– Digital Council
– Leadership Solutioning
• Engage the Skeptics
• Put the cynics on notice
• And let everyone know we want the truth –
we can’t help if we aren’t aware of the pain
• Failure is an opportunity to learn not
something to hide
Up skill delivery teams
• Better product development
• KPIs that are Quality focused
and Outcome based
• Iterative partnering with IT
• Expanding our spheres of
• Expanding our base of
The To Do/
Just a few wins …
• We are Customer focused not silo driven
• We can release 5x a week vs. 5 times a year
• Deployments take 5 minutes vs 6 hours
• Idea to deployment cycle time of 2 weeks
• Digital hasn’t had a failed deployment in 12 months
• We have significantly reduced the effort required deploy software
– Failure demand then to Value demand now
• Cost associated with release reduced by an order of magnitude
• We respond quickly to needs of business and customer
• We have the ability to validate ideas via several methods of testing
• Last but not least we have built trust with the wider business.