Coordinating a Global Healthcare Product Launch
Product + Process
Program + Project
A healthcare company was preparing to launch a new medical device around the world. The group tasked with providing web-based access and data analytics for the device had a number of talented software teams, but was struggling to find the right fit within the overall product launch team. Additionally, there was little data on how the teams were progressing and whether or not they would be able to meet the overall project schedule. A delay would impact not only the software teams, but the entire product launch team, on what was a strategic product key to meeting annual revenue (and other) goals.
We stepped in to provide both ScrumMaster and Project Management services. Working with the software teams, we acted as ScrumMaster to improve Agile performance within the bounds of the larger software organization.
Some of the improvements we delivered include:
Crafting user stories that were smaller and more well-defined, leading to an increase in stories being completed each sprint.
Ensuring that sprint retrospectives were held on a regular basis, and starting each retrospective with a review of the previous one, improving team accountability.
Increasing team visibility into the overall product and organizational goals, which improved team morale by helping them to understand how their contributions impacted the whole organization.
Making daily standups be true standups in front of the sprint plan, and limiting standups to 15 minutes maximum. This led to more focused post-standup discussions that included only the necessary team personnel, maximizing productivity for the team as a whole.
Organizing outside-of-work events to help the team members get to know one another better and improve team communications.
On the Project Management front, the first step of our approach was gathering data that would help to determine if the teams were on track for a successful product launch. We worked with the Product Owner, Marketing team, and Software team to identify Minimum Viable Product (MVP) features, develop user stories, identify feature dependencies, and then used the resulting story point and sprint estimates to build a Gantt-style release plan.
The original plan showed a release date beyond the product launch requirements. To address the gap, we developed a series of strategic project planning options (e.g. bringing in another software team, reducing feature scope, re-evaluating the MVP feature list) with supporting data and presented them to the leadership team. The decision was made to add another Scrum team to pull in the release dates, and the teams were off and running again. Adding this disciplined but lightweight planning exercise to the beginning of the process shined a light on what could have been a major product release issue if it had not been discovered months in advance.
Another issue that had been slowing down the team prior to Greenshaw Consulting’s involvement was insufficient team communication with the product hardware team, exacerbated by the teams being in different locations and working a combination of in-office and virtually. Interface documentation existed, but the hardware was evolving faster than the documentation.
We improved cross-functional collaboration by developing relationships with key hardware team members, maintained a list of interface issues, and led a weekly joint meeting to talk through the issues.
The teams were progressing well towards the release plan. However, the software team had concerns that there had not been sufficient integration testing yet. We coordinated a Beta test along with the hardware team that both verified and validated product features. Test findings were tracked, communicated to leadership, and prioritized appropriately in the product backlog.
in Sprint Team Velocity
in Time to Market
Release on Time
The product website went live on-time with all agreed to MVP features, enabling the organization to start selling the product hardware with the necessary healthcare team access and data analytics, a major benefit for overall patient care. As a result of the release plan, the software teams were able to stagger feature releases, ensuring that neither development nor test resources were overburdened.
Both the leadership team and technical team were pleased with the launch, a result that’s achievable every time with the proper amount of planning and leadership.
Kevin provided an invaluable service to our organization in his project management and ScrumMaster role. His greatest strength was in managing upward and outward to stakeholders in communicating project status and raising/resolving issues on what was a high pressure, highly visible initiative. I would highly recommend Kevin to any organization wanting to step-up their project management and ensure greater collaboration and satisfaction with stakeholders!
Director, Project Management Office
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