COUNT US IN, PLEASE
Recent months have taken an unexpected turn and in several ways demonstrated how 7N is maturing as a consulting firm. Aarhus Head of Consultants Helle Førgaard tells the story of how one of the greatest wins that summer came about in spite of initial difficulties:
Even though Søren Raaschou and Ole Rich Henningsen delivered an excellent presentation at our conference on the agile transformation they had carried out for Jyske Bank, I realized during June that 7N had not been included among recipients of Bankdata’s RFP dealing with agile transformation.
When I found out about the project, I asked management why we had not received the RFP. It turned out that Bankdata did not view 7N as a supplier of teams but rather as a supplier of individual consultants. I explained that we were able to handle the entire project and that we had the perfect team at the ready.
OUR COMPETITORS WERE A WEEK AHEAD OF US
Bankdata then invited 7N to bid. 7N was up against larger Danish and international consulting firms that had been preparing their bids for a week. Helle soon got in contact with Søren and Ole and set up a team consisting of just the right consultants for the project. The team created a bid during a series of workshops and shipped it off to Bankdata. After an extensive presentation to Bankdata, the 7N team won the job.
Helle Førgaard explains: “One key reason we won is without a doubt the impressive performance our consultants have delivered on previous assignments. Another key factor noted by Bankdata was our presence in Jutland and our local attitude. The mental distance from Bankdata’s staff to 7N in Jutland was far shorter than the distance to international consultants and consultants from the Copenhagen area. Our presence in Jutland really paid off for 7N.
Landing the project gave 7N a new competitive position. Now, the firm is on an equal footing with more traditional management consulting bureaus:Now we’re into management consulting
By virtue of our experience with a number of similar agile projects, and due to the fact that many of our consultants have senior management experience, we are able to work meaningfully with our clients on the technical as well as the business challenges. We can see that our consultants’ knowledge of the challenges facing management is a huge advantage.”
SMALL, AGILE DELIVERABLES
Bankdata provides comprehensive IT solutions to the financial industry. The purpose of the transition was to make Bankdata agile. Rather than delivering a huge turnkey system in which design, architecture, and the like are locked in at the outset, we want to deliver new systems in small chunks. The advantage is that we are able to show project progress consistently by doing development in sprints. When we break down all tasks into sprints, we are able to perform ongoing adjustments and tests. Another benefit is that the project personnel work in stable teams and get to know each other better all the time. The project requires not just the transformation of workflows, but a winning attitude from team members as well.
Our bold ambition is that team members don’t just learn about agility – they are to ‘be’ agile. That demands a specific approach to people and insight into change management. We work according to the motto “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn,” says Helle, who anticipates many similar agile transformations in the local environment.
In practice, the motto manifests itself in a series of workshops on agility given by the consultants (tell me). Then the consultants assist client staff in executing agile rituals and using agile tools (teach me). Finally, the consultants and the staff jointly design sprints resulting in presentations of small chunks of what the staff developed (involve me). In this process, 7N’s consultants sit side by side with the staff members and help them solve any problems arising from technology or from new strategies.
Bankdata is establishing four new development units in Silkeborg and Fredericia in early 2016, and those units will need additional agility coaches.
ABOUT OLE AND SØREN:
Ole Rich Henningsen and Søren Raaschou have previously performed agile transformations for enterprises of all sizes and have built up expert knowledge of the area. Søren is highly experienced with management as a result of his past work (e.g. as IT manager at Spar Nord). Ole is a co-founder of Scrum.org and was the translator preparing the original Danish version of the agility manifesto.
Our agile conference in May was a great success. We invited 200 clients and consultants and everyone enjoyed a wonderful day. Attendees included several Bankdata staff, and they listened intently as consultants Søren Raaschou and Ole Rich Henningsen gave their presentation on the agile transformation they had helped create for Jyske Bank.