Four years ago, the software development organization at Getty Images went through a transition and adopted Lean and Agile principles as a guideline for the process of delivering business value to our customers. The Lean principles are rooted in Toyota’s TPS system, and more generically Lean Manufacturing, and the Agile principles are rooted in the Agile Manifesto created by software development leaders a decade ago.
What we hoped to achieve was a faster time to market for technology features to our business stakeholders and customers. We also wanted to achieve a higher level of quality, and a customer focused approach to software development. The basics of the process boil down to a focus on fast, flexible flow, the elimination of waste, and a focus on the people over process.
Since then, our time to market for a business request has dropped from three months (minimum) to as little as one week. In fact, we know that last year alone, our delivery throughput increased by over 20 percent!
In a series of upcoming posts on this blog, we’ll cover the world of Scrum, Kanban, Minimum Marketable Features, Waste, Business value, Flow, Queues, Test Driven Development, automation and more – all of which have been central components in our transition.
Image 1: Breakdancer-98325903. Photo by WIN-Initiative/Getty Images.
Image 2: Breakdancer-102638663. Photo by Piotr Stryjewski, Riser/Getty Images.
Image 3: Breakdancer-130899058. Photo by Multi-bits, The Images Bank/Getty Images.
The diagram here, is a visual representation of the collection of Lean and Agile principles that we found best fit our own values and objectives as a company. This diagram was our first step in the transition, because we knew that we needed to change our entire organization through our people, and through our managers and leaders. The house metaphor is nothing new, but we found it worked well as our visual communication for how we were going to tackle changing our organization. Overriding everything (the roof) is our business mission. In the center, the guiding principles, and on the outside the pillars holding it all together: Respect People (management style), Welcome Change, Eliminate Waste, and Continuous Improvement. And finally the foundation – Our people.
Since we took these steps, we’ve seen a dramatic change in what we can deliver as a technology organization. There is an enterprise-wide sense of focus and company prioritization. There is visibility into work that previously never existed to the levels it does today.
Jeff Oberlander is Senior Director of Application Development at Getty Images