After struggling to blend Agile and Waterfall approaches in response to a large-scale transformation initiative, ICBC sought out Disciplined Agile to provide a solution that combined flexibility in project delivery with an approach that could scale across a large government organization.
CHALLENGE: Bridging the Gap Between Agile and Waterfall
ICBC underwent a multi-year large-scale IT transformation as it moved from a legacy-based mainframe system to a commercial off-the-shelf solution. Senior technology leaders realized this was the time to transition from traditional waterfall project management to an agile approach. While early attempts at agile projects yielded some successes, it became clear that ICBC could not adopt a one-size-fits-all agile framework. As a government-run corporation subject to annual planning cycles and other bureaucratic processes, ICBC needed a pragmatic, enterprise solution that incorporated agile where possible while accommodating the broader challenges inherent in the organization.
“We were using a hybrid of different approaches. We needed some consistency.”
SOLUTION: A Flexible Tool Kit, an Experienced Team
ICBC chose Disciplined Agile because it offered the flexibility to address more than one way of working within the organization. The Disciplined Agile consulting partner’s experience with organizations that had faced similar challenges was an important consideration.
“We weren’t going to be able to take a rigid framework and ram it into our IT Department.”
The initial training in Disciplined Agile focused on ICBC’s Claims team, which already had some experience with Agile methods. That team increased the cadence of its releases by sevenfold in the first two years, from 3 or 4 releases per year to 42 in two years.
As other teams underwent training, which provided a common vocabulary as well as a shared understanding of how new ways of working could lead to greater productivity, coaching offered an opportunity to talk through challenges, including cultural resistance to doing things differently.
“Without the coaching, we wouldn’t have been successful.”
After a combination of training and coaching, the IT department successfully delivered 36 transformation projects on time and on budget.
As Disciplined Agile took root, ICBC developed a Center of Excellence for in-house coaches who had been trained in Disciplined Agile methodology. These coaches provide support with practices and principles and help to foster the culture that enables team success.
ICBC’s Story: How a government organization partnered with Disciplined Agile for successful transformation
Our ability to deliver quick, rapid, small change to the business was extraordinary.
CHIEF INFORMATION AND TECHNOLOGY OFFICER, ICBC