CASE STUDY

 

Improved Collaboration for Multi-Million Dollar Cost Reduction

 

Background

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Born from a merger, this privately-held enterprise company, empowers people and businesses with end-to-end, industry-specific solutions to address complex business challenges. The software applications and professional business services enable more than 9,000 customers across 100+ countries, to satisfy their customers, operate most efficiently, and stay at the forefront of their industry. The combined company has more than 5,000 employees with offices in 18 countries.

 

Challenges & Opportunities

 

Dispersed Development Centers. Through a software engineering assessment by senior members of Crosslake, we discovered that there were 28 distinct development centers across the world.

This vast number of development centers produced time zone difficulties, numerous process variations, inconsistent people capability, increased operational costs, attrition issues, and a host of other problems.

Collaboration Challenges. The merger took two different sets of methodologies (actually, more) and knowledge and combined them, but the groups had minimal collaboration with each other at the start. As a result, the development transformation that was already underway prior to the merger was much more difficult as another team was brought in.

Skills Gaps. In conjunction with many development centers and teams, the development transformation required disparate teams to learn new processes, tools, and ways of working with one another, with a focus on Agile principles.

Vacant CTO Position. To further complicate matters, the company was without a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the initial part of the improvement plan implementation and was in need of some direction on the engineering side.

 

Crosslake has demonstrated expertise in implementing agile development and QA practices and was instrumental in rolling out a new, enterprise class development model from us.

Jerry L.

Director of QA

Solution

 

Dispersed Development Centers. Through a software engineering assessment by senior members of Crosslake, we discovered that there were 28 distinct development centers across the world.

An improvement plan was devised that included elements such as the following:

  • Head-count and product transitions across centers.
  • Dealing with organizational excess and filling gaps.
  • A hiring plan to fill the vacant CTO position, with Crosslake providing interim leadership.
  • Improvements to cross-team collaboration using a product leadership team with shared commitments and regular updates.
  • Training and coaching to familiarize and put into practice methodologies, practices and tools associated with the development transformation.
  • Consolidation of various customer support platforms into one to improve collaboration between support teams and engineering teams.

One of the top priorities was to reduce the overall cost of development and improve collaboration by consolidating development centers. Crosslake worked with the board of directors to develop a plan to reduce 28 centers down to 3 (2 primary offshore, one primary US) over just a few months, accounting for people and product issues.

To fill organizational gaps, Crosslake helped interview and hire a new CTO according to specific criteria. Additionally, the client leveraged Crosslake’s expertise to assess the right fit for candidates for other engineering positions across the company.

A product leadership team was formed consisting of key leaders across the company. Regular sync meetings aided collaboration.

Additionally, Crosslake trained engineers—both remotely and in person–on the new tool set to address skills gaps as quickly as possible. Crosslake also coached various teams on release planning and QA processes, for example.

Another area where Crosslake helped was determining a plan and architecture for a common support platform that integrated with the new tools with the goal of improving collaboration and bidirectional flow of records between the support and engineering teams.

Results

 

Cost Savings. By significantly reducing the number of development centers, costs were reduced by approximately $2.1 million. In addition, the improved co-location resulted in significant cost savings in the delivery of products and services.

Improved Cross-Team Collaboration. The formation of the product leadership team, as well as a common platform for support and integration with engineering tools, brought teams closer together and aligned to the same goals and milestones.

Improved Development Efficiency. Crosslake trained and coached a large number of teams over a 6 month period on new tools and processes. Crosslake’s hands-on approach received accolades from the team and resulted in engineering changes quickly.

Enhanced Leadership. Ensuring the right people were in the right positions greatly decreased the time required for the overall transformation.

 

Conclusion

 

Crosslake’s focus on people as a key part of software engineering helped create a lean organization with an efficient cost structure and high return on investment.