Like many organisations wanting to improve, a focus on AS IS – TO BE mapping is often considered the best approach
CEO, Basis Team
An Agile Approach to Delivery
In Waltham Forest Development Management Service this was the case until we intervened and encouraged focusing on a problem solving, prototyping, and taking an Agile approach to delivery.
We started by holding a large workshop with all staff to ask how they felt about the service they delivered. We took this opportunity to share with them how we’d like to work in collaboration with them (not at them) and our approach to change.
We shared with the service that instead of making plans we can’t deliver on without causing a lot of pain we’d rather work iteratively and in an agile way by working in ‘sprints’ of time-boxed effort. This meant that every two weeks we would collaboratively ‘plan-do-review’ outputs delivered in the preceding two weeks and agree together the focus for the next sprint of work.
How we helped
We also set up an online workflow board using Trello so everyone could see the work being delivered as well as a huge ‘information centre’ in the corridor. Instead of hiding work in spreadsheets or wasting time making pretty plans, all the work was on the wall for all to see.
Through our engagement and discovery, we were able to highlight numerous issues and opportunities. One of which, that we felt was a root cause of other impacting issues, was 'the front door'. Through our work, we focused on the whole service but paid special attention to customer-facing processes. This meant focusing on the Customer Journey and initial validation processes that could unlock improvements falling in to place without having to focus effort downstream.
One of the key pieces of work was a rapid improvement event called 'the validation prototype'. Starting out with one person for half a day every day and only looking at householder applications only, we created a backlog of potential improvements and started to test the ones that we agreed might provide the highest impact for the lowest effort, on live cases. By doing this we were able to quickly implement easy, obvious improvements (or just do solutions). This created 'breathing space' to tackle the more deep-rooted issues (namely quality).Over the duration three sprints, we were able to grow the prototype in size (of people) and scope (the type of application), adding one person and one type per-sprint.
One of the key pieces of work was a rapid improvement event called 'the validation prototype'. Starting out with one person for half a day every day and only looking at householder applications only, we created a backlog of potential improvements and started to test the ones that we agreed might provide the highest impact for the lowest effort, on live cases.