Our Extended Delivery Centre there employs many IT professionals who deliver services to Deloitte in other countries including Canada, the US and the UK.
Hiring and building the small team in India has been very rewarding and resulted in us adding additional experienced people to work with the Sydney-based IT team of business analysts, project managers, developers and the CoE manager.
Our BPM CoE initially called for an Agile approach to projects with a service request being broken down into work packages, which include user case studies to assist with solution development.
Each software release contained several prioritised work packages, which would subsequently be released to production.
Agile wasn't working
What we experienced next was, in hindsight, not surprising. It became increasingly clear that the Agile delivery methodology wasn't working as well as we'd planned.
Various "in-flight" projects experienced delays, which resulted in dissatisfied users. This is never a good place to be.
As part of the process to get everything back on track, we spent time talking with teams in India and Australia.
Closer analysis told us that some projects had a high number of change requests, some of which actually had conflicting or unclear requirements, and this made it very difficult for our Indian team to make steady progress.
They couldn't simply walk over to a business analyst and ask for clarification — a challenge that was made more difficult because of limited time zone overlap between Sydney and Hyderabad.
So, while we are using Agile successfully on other projects, it became clear that we'd have to modify our approach for the offshore team.
We wanted to lock down requirements and minimise uncertainty to ensure delivery was possible within agreed timeframes as well as ensure our designs incorporated as many requirements as possible upfront to minimise the need to re-work.
For now, we have moved to a waterfall approach to development, which is working well, and we are trying to focus on smaller initiatives to get more throughput, adoption and benefits across the firm.
Like any significant new technology being introduced into an organisation, challenges like those we've experienced can and do arise. They are often magnified when the technology itself means change and stakeholders get to grips with the implications of that change.
As we fine tune our BPM capability we are continuing to monitor the successes and setbacks.
These are providing us with an insightful and useful feedback loop which will be used to modify our approach for future Appian process builds. It is likely that we will again make changes to the way things are done as our teams mature.
This is a small snapshot largely focusing on our development approach which has moved from Agile to Waterfall over the last six months.