Water Utility Drives Digital Accessibility for Everyone

Water Utility Drives Digital Accessibility for Everyone

The client situation

On 1 July 2021, City West Water and Western Water merged to form a new water corporation – Greater Western Water (GWW). 

GWW delivers water services across Melbourne’s CBD, inner and north-west suburbs, through the Melton and Sunbury growth corridors, and to Bacchus Marsh and Macedon Ranges.
Over the next 30 years, Melbourne’s west is expected to double in population. This rapid growth has necessitated GWW to develop enhanced ways of working and engaging with customers to ensure high-quality, affordable and secure water services well into the future.

GWW recognises the benefit of customer first thinking and has already developed many digital capabilities to support the provisioning of services to their growing customer base.

The challenge

The newly formed GWW organisation recognised the value and opportunity in building on what they had already developed and creating a world class digital accessibility offering to all of their customers.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, Australian Government agencies and Australian businesses are required to ensure information and services are provided in a non-discriminatory accessible manner. WCAG 2.0 is a technical standard developed under the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

But by not meeting WCAG standards, companies risk excluding people with disabilities from their digital offerings or burdening them with inconsistent accessibility features. With this in mind, GWW wanted to build out and enhance their Digital Accessibility capabilities within their customer facing website(s), portal(s) and within all external facing content for all of their customers.

 

The solution

Building on the current Digital Accessibility capabilities already in place at GWW, the organisation planned to enhance customer facing digital capabilities.

Alchemy were engaged to lead and design the new Digital Accessibility User Experience (UX) and User Interfaces (UI) and to recommend methods that would enhance and expedite delivery of Digital Accessibility ongoing.

Our Digital Accessibility expertise combined with our experience in delivering a broad range of Digital Accessibility projects, Alchemy provided resources and knowledge to partner with GWW to deliver new Digital Accessibility designs and features.

The solution involved two clear methods of collaboration to ensure successful delivery. Both methods of collaboration were hands-on and within existing GWW team constructs to expedite knowledge transfer.
Our first method of collaboration was to take GWW’s existing development lifecycle and identify when, where and why it would use UX and UI practices and Digital Accessibility checkpoints.

Alchemy held workshops with senior digital stakeholders at GWW to identify all the strands within their digital vision; this included the creation of a set of best practice guidelines, the requirements and the creation of the internal Digital Accessibility System. 

The Digital Accessibility System was created to extend to all relevant external organisations and encourage a unified and practical approach to any future interaction with Digital Accessibility UX and UI.

The set of documents and training assets for public facing documents, created assists both GWW’s internal digital managers and third party partners to make sure accessibility is promoted at all stages of design and development of digital projects.

The results

Alchemy successfully designed and delivered the WCAG compliant GWW Digital Accessibility capabilities focusing on high-quality user experience. As a result we have helped GWW to effectively:

  • Ensure WCAG compliance and maintain compliance amid merging of digital assets
  • Support internal teams to maintain and evolve its digital vision in an evolving market landscape.
  • Review existing digital functionality and content, as well as assess all new projects across GWW with standard terms of reference.
  • Assist in delivery of projects in line with digital accessibility guidelines.
  • Put Digital Accessibility at the forefront of the organisations thinking and values, continuously advising on design and development cycles.

As a strategic Digital Accessibility partner, we have been instrumental in helping GWW work towards its organisational goal of achieving WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance.

Together we have developed a formal Digital Accessibility Policy and set of guidelines that can be used internally and with external stakeholders, to embed best practice within digital design and development lifecycles.

Our team continues to work with GWW to help nurture Digital Accessibility across the organisation and support the internal team to take a more user-centric approach within their work.

Our support includes developing solid foundations through Digital Accessibility reviews, strategy development and crucial testing. We also provide consultancy and training to support teams as required.

We work closely with both GWW and its third party suppliers to support continuous improvement of Digital Accessibility and usability for all stakeholders.

Final thoughts

Alchemy’s key GWW sponsor wrote:

“The Alchemy team we engaged have demonstrated digital accessibility leadership and know-how to team with GWW and enable digital inclusion and digital accessibility for our customers. Alchemy has been professional, passionate and a pleasure to partner with for this critical initiative.

Brining our experience in delivering a broad range of digital accessibility projects, Alchemy have partnered with GWW and delivered digital accessibility for everyone.

Utilising Alchemy’s checklist guide to developing a Digital Accessibility Strategy our expert team and GWW were able to follow our proven approach which is summarised below:

  1. Determine your website and digital collateral accessibility scope.
  2. Fix the automatically detectable errors.
  3. Manually test key pages, templates, user flows, and forms each year.
  4. Identify and plan for videos and non-HTML documents.
  5. Include an Accessibility Statement on every page of all websites.
  6. Test all new content using WAVE as it is created.
  7. Start with accessibility in mind when updating your website template(s).
  8. Consider the accessibility of all new software purchased.
  9. Simple ongoing Accessibility Training for web creators.
  10. Develop content management and compliance policies in line with accessibility.
  11. Monthly cadence of automated testing of each page on your website and digital collateral.

This outline, if followed, will enable your organisation to exponentially improve the accessibility of website(s) and digital content quickly. Digital Accessibility isn’t achieved by simply adding a plug-in to your website(s), but it can be achieved by simply engaging expert Digital Accessibility practitioners who can enrich the capability of your teams in addition to delivering accessibility improvements immediately.

Automation of buying a car

Automation of buying a car

The client situation

Our client is present in thirty three global markets and operate as a key strategic partner to the world’s foremost premium and luxury car brands providing an effective, well-financed and customer centred route to market for vehicles and parts. They operate across every link of the post-factory automotive value chain for our original equipment manufacturer partners, providing a highly efficient, customer-focused route to market that delivers shared rewards at every stage.

With digital disruption affecting every industry across the globe our client had to act to ensure their shift to a digital era and accelerate its plans to build and automate the purchase of a car online.

The challenge

Building on the Salesforce platform and automating a number of key processes Alchemy commenced a design phase to design and engineer the new car configurator – Key to the solution was the mapping of “to be” customer journeys to streamline and ultimately Automate the processes.

Alchemy were engaged to lead and design the new car configurator and the method of delivery and to suggest methods that could be quick wins to expedite delivery. We provided a complete plan to partner with our client to deliver the car configurator.

The plan involved two clear collaborations to ensure delivery. Both collaborations were hands on and within existing delivery team constructs to expedite knowledge transfer.

1. The utilisation of Alchemy’s hybrid agile method Ei5™ as the delivery method to Automate processes and build the car configurator.

a. to map all to be customer journeys and map out processes to form the design of the build of the car configurator

b. to increase collaboration and ownership and involvement in the delivery of the projects by all global stakeholders

c. to align global sub solution integrators, customer and internal business and information technology delivery resources to a single method of delivery which could easily be communicated and utilised by the projects

d. to create a cadence for the project that allowed for the appropriate levels of engagement in rituals and also working time to achieve results

2. Provision of an Alchemy agile delivery squad to lead, oversee and coordinate all delivery of the global project.

a. squad included the following roles; agile portfolio lead, product owner, business analyst, process automation analyst and a UX designer

b. agile portfolio lead and product owner operated at the executive level of business and customers to ensure buy in and support

c. squad roles and responsibilities included the coaching and mentoring of all global solution integrators, customers and internal business and information technology delivery resources
The urgency of delivery required a priority to be placed on the unification of all delivery resources across multiple global locations and groups of stakeholders. The aim was to create a high performing team where people could work hard on focussed and clear tasks, enjoyed spending time together and felt part of a bigger purpose.

The solution

Building on the Salesforce platform and automating a number of key processes Alchemy commenced a design phase to design and engineer the new car configurator – Key to the solution was the mapping of “to be” customer journeys to streamline and ultimately Automate the processes.

Alchemy were engaged to lead and design the new car configurator and the method of delivery and to suggest methods that could be quick wins to expedite delivery. We provided a complete plan to partner with our client to deliver the car configurator.

The plan involved two clear collaborations to ensure delivery. Both collaborations were hands on and within existing delivery team constructs to expedite knowledge transfer.

1. The utilisation of Alchemy’s hybrid agile method Ei5™ as the delivery method to Automate processes and build the car configurator.

a. to map all to be customer journeys and map out processes to form the design of the build of the car configurator

b. to increase collaboration and ownership and involvement in the delivery of the projects by all global stakeholders

c. to align global sub solution integrators, customer and internal business and information technology delivery resources to a single method of delivery which could easily be communicated and utilised by the projects

d. to create a cadence for the project that allowed for the appropriate levels of engagement in rituals and also working time to achieve results

2. Provision of an Alchemy agile delivery squad to lead, oversee and coordinate all delivery of the global project.

a. squad included the following roles; agile portfolio lead, product owner, business analyst, process automation analyst and a UX designer

b. agile portfolio lead and product owner operated at the executive level of business and customers to ensure buy in and support

c. squad roles and responsibilities included the coaching and mentoring of all global solution integrators, customers and internal business and information technology delivery resources

The urgency of delivery required a priority to be placed on the unification of all delivery resources across multiple global locations and groups of stakeholders. The aim was to create a high performing team where people could work hard on focussed and clear tasks, enjoyed spending time together and felt part of a bigger purpose.

The results

Alchemy successfully designed and delivered the new car configurator by utilising journey and process mapping to automate the online purchase of a car.

Alchemy’s hybrid agile method Ei5™ use ensured common language and understanding for the global team and stakeholders.

The executive team were delighted with the delivery approach and in particular the customer journeys and process maps. These key deliverables not only were utilised for the automation of process, marketing and dealerships also utilised the processes for key campaign and training capabilities.To that they were also impressed with the outcomes and praised the professionalism of the Alchemy team for driving delivery.

Today, the car configurator has enabled significant online sales growth, during a period where purchasers were physically limited from accessing the traditional car showrooms. It has provided customers with the ability, online, to choose their model and any options and accessories wanted, place a fully refundable minimum deposit of $1000 and then wait for a dealer to contact them to arrange delivery either at home or at the closest dealership.

Final thoughts

The Alchemy team have delivered a world class automated car configurator enabling shoppers to purchase a car online, and the Alchemy team now oversees the roll out of the new technology to the Latin America and Asian markets.

Alchemy’s successful leadership of the global team involved establishing a clear delivery plan and approach supported by the following Alchemy tools and techniques

  • Alchemy’s Continuous Improvement model – is designed to create a purpose fit effective plan to minimise the risk and disruption to people, current process and technology in order to create a climate for change, engage and enable stakeholders and implement and sustain new behaviours.
  • Alchemy’s Ei5™ method – designed to be engaging and clear for business and technology resources and identifies business ownership as critical to delivery success. The use of agile techniques, tools and rituals ensure that everyone understands their role and conflicts are resolved quickly.
  • Partnering Framework – Alchemy’s partnering framework ensures a clear pathway for everyone involved to experience success. Alchemy’s people and culture transfer knowledge and provide a collaborative environment and tools for all parties to engage in a safe, visible and positive way.

Alchemy’s key sponsor wrote “The Alchemy team have demonstrated digital leadership and know-how team to deliver the Australian car configurator. The automation of our process through the techniques Alchemy brought to the table have provided us with a powerful set of delivery tools and a configurator that we will roll out globally for our customers. Alchemy will lead the next roll outs to Latin America and Asia and we feel in safe and reliable hands for these implementations”

Creating and operationalising an Agile PMO

Creating and operationalising
an Agile PMO

The client situation

In the state of Victoria the Essential Service Commission (ESC) is an independent regulator that promotes the long-term interests of Victorian consumers regarding price, quality and reliability of essential services. Our client is one of the water utilities that fall under the remit of ESC.
In 2018 the PREMO water pricing framework was introduced by the ESC, focusing on five key attributes: performance, risk, engagement, management and outcomes. The Framework is designed to not only set maximum prices a water business can charge but to also incentivise Water businesses to find innovative ways to deliver greater value to their customers.
In response to the introduction of the framework, our client’s strategy and planning team clearly articulated what their customer goals were and a submission was provided to ESC. In parallel a “Customer First” team was established with the responsibility of enabling the strategy and operationalising the PREMO targets and commitments.

The challenge

Our Client provides water and wastewater services to major parts of Melbourne, the city that has been recognised as the ‘world’s most liveable’. Their service area is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia’s fastest growing capital city, which includes over 430,000 homes and over one million residents of diverse cultures. They also have a diverse business customer base that includes some of Victoria’s largest manufacturers right through to the ever-growing hospitality sector.

The challenge was clear to achieve their commitments in the submission to ESC they had to adopt a well-conceived and detailed delivery approach with Customer First at the centre of everything they do every day.

The solution

It was quickly acknowledged by the leadership team that in order to achieve their ambitious targets our client required:

a) an Agile PMO framework that could help transparently manage project portfolio priorities to ensure that they were doing the right things and resourcing adequately

b) an increased cadence and access to delivery data, and

c) their IT capability had to be capable of supporting a shift in focus and process.

Alchemy Solutions worked with the leadership team to maximise the contribution of the individual Customer First team members through the development of a Prioritisation Matrix and the introduction of hybrid agile techniques such as weekly “rally and mobilise” sessions designed to facilitate an improved flow of important information across the team and to act as an important feedback mechanism for the team members.

Central to these changes was a shift towards a “High Performing Teams” mindset that considered strengths and weaknesses across the teams which resulted in a prioritization areas that needed to be addressed and allowed the sharing of portfolio management knowledge tools, frameworks, business case updates and customer insights.

This was complimented by the introduction of resources such as Microsoft Teams as a central method for communications and to support team members working from remote locations. Wiki’s were also created to share knowledge, processes and information; the team was co-located where possible and this helped drive an improved appreciation of what the teams were achieving and how the shift to the Customer First initiative was starting to gain momentum.

Final thoughts

Operationalising into an Agile PMO the “how”, of how our client meets their customer needs in accordance with the high level strategy of Customer First transitioned the purpose of the customer transformation team from being a team that would just make a project “better”, into aligning the roles and responsibilities of its team members directly to the needs of their customers.

The Agile PMO now revolutionises the way in which our client now runs Customer First projects as they start to “live” the intent of PREMO: “to find innovative ways to deliver greater value to their customer” rather than just “tick-box” requirements

Alchemy’s Agile PMO lead created a plan to execute and engage all stakeholders and ensure a common language and approach were utilised supported by the following Alchemy tools and techniques:

  • Alchemy’s Ei5™ method – designed to be engaging and clear for business and technology resources and identifies business ownership as critical to delivery success. The use of agile techniques, tools and rituals ensure that everyone understands their role and conflicts are resolved quickly.
  • People First – Alchemy brings a distinct and holistic people, process and technology approach to each engagement which helps in identifying and remediating blockages to communication and process flows. The identification and prioritisation of customer and employee journey’s ensures line of sight to what’s important – People!

Case Study: Strategy and Planning

Case Study:
Strategy and Planning

The challenge

Our client had employed an outsourcing strategy since the mid 1990’s an approach that was echoed across the large Industry Superannuation Funds. They had began internalising IT and building Tech Services capabilities in 2015; the next phase of the journey was to invest in additional foundation enabling technology, uplift the capability and align with the business strategy

A local consulting firm had been engaged to develop a well-defined plan to support the shift:

  • An integrated technology strategy had been developed to uplift and extend the Fund’s technology capabilities and transform Tech Services into a highly capable and trusted partner over the following 3+ years
  • The future technology operating model was designed to allow for responsive engagement between business and technology with a federated structure, improved capability and simplified management governance
  • The future technology architecture must enable the fund strategy with modern flexible and scalable systems – Member, Investments and Shared Services already had well formed plans with a number of greenfield technology components – supporting infrastructure, network and data need a step change to enable the business units
  • The technology roadmap guided the Fund-wide technology initiatives according to business priorities and technical dependencies
  • The technology economics and risks analysis illustrated the medium to longer term financial impacts (likely cost profile and mapping to business benefits) of technology required to support the fund’s strategy, as well as mitigation for the risks of the strategy
  • A detailed transition plan had been proposed with a program governance construct to increase delivery confidence in the technology strategy and roadmap, supported by a 30/60/90 day mobilisation plan

To support the maturation of the core Technology Services capability a sophisticated Maturation KPI tool (KPI performance management lifecycle model) had been designed by a global consulting firm and was being implemented to track capability growth.

However, despite the investments made and support from the Board the fund was faced with the realization that while the size of the prize was significant there was chronic misalignment of the internal teams, the past initiatives to build out core capability through use of the Contractor market and high turnover rate highlighted a weakness around teaming and a past history of program delivery failure did nothing to instil a confidence in driving the required change.

The solution

The incoming CIO recognised the pressing need to establish an experienced leadership team with a main initial focus being around the Planning and Strategy function. The Planning and Strategy group was responsible for:

  • Strategic Planning and Direction setting
  • Strategy and Architecture leadership
  • Architecture Governance
  • Requirements Development for new programs
  • Architecture Reference Models, Roadmaps and frameworks
  • Project and Architecture alignment
  • Vendor Management
  • Documentation Management


Alchemy Solutions was engaged to fill 3 keys roles:

  • Head of Strategy and Planning,
  • Head of Cloud and Emerging technologies, and
  • Lead Enterprise Architect.

The Strategy and Planning team had been decimated by a series of resignation and transfers to other roles within the fund. The most important step was to reconstitute the function; once this was achieved the team was assigned discrete tasks to help accelerate aligning the Technology strategy with the Business Strategy to ensure the Technology function could support the funds planning to become a global fund with officers in London, New York and Asia.

The team collectively recognised the need to develop an innovative approach to support the global expansion and set about designing a Global Presence initiative that centred on the Microsoft Azure Cloud capability.

Core Cloud platform designed work that had been undertaken as part of the Technology Uplift program was re assessed by Microsoft’s Consulting group to ensure alignment with best practice and the design activities were complete and the Investment Business function was engaged to gain their support to implement the strategy in partnership with Microsoft and other local Microsoft partners.

The results

Alchemy Solutions engagement resulted in a number of critical outcomes:

  • Redefined organisation structure for the Strategy & Planning Team that enables greater focus on strategic business outcomes.
  • A comprehensive Governance model that addressed all aspects of the overall function.
  • A Technology Roadmap and framework that positioned the fund to accelerate key initiatives such as the global expansion and adoption of Cloud as a kernel of the Technology strategy.
  • A Cloud Strategy that allowed the fund to move to the adoption of Microsoft Azure platform. The strategy addressed all the Guidelines for Cloud adoption provided by APRA.
  • The establishment of a Microsoft partnering arrangement to assist the fund in the deployment of the Hybrid Cloud strategy.
  • The design of an Agile Cloud Deployment squad, leveraging Agile methods and practices to expedite the Global Presence program.

A new way of working for a digital era

A new way of working
for a digital era

The client situation

Our client is now a global business that is United Kingdom based. The business offers a proven commerce, subscriber management and data automation platform, built for high-volume and complex ongoing service management for customers and small to medium enterprises. In 2019 the income earnings tipped US$535m. Since starting out in late 2009, our client’s business has grown at a remarkable rate to now support over twelve global offices in Asia, Europe and the USA. The business when we were engaged was just entering the Asia market and required expertise on how to roll out better methods of delivery to support sales and marketing activity in new regions.

The challenge

The catalyst for change for the business came in mid-2015, when the team had to deliver four programs of work within weeks of each other. These were large projects for clients in Australia and the deadlines were driven by enormous benefits to end-customers, new product offerings and finance uplift. The business had marketed the platform and brand to Australia for the first time and successful delivery was paramount for future sales opportunities. Customers were trying to ascertain status on important delivery milestones and found a maze of process and role uncertainty. Existing portfolio management and delivery processes simply couldn’t cope with the workload, existing teams and individuals were stretched to the limit and at breaking point.

The solution

Understanding our capability for a previous global roll out in which Alchemy supported in utilising agile ways of working the Global CEO of the business reached out to Alchemy Solutions ‘’Alchemy’’ to request advice and help. Alchemy were engaged to perform an urgent review of the current method of delivery and to suggest improvements that could be quick wins to stabilise and expedite delivery. The review was performed with the existing team and a set of recommendations were established to manage the change to a new way of working for delivery. The recommendations involved two clear interventions to stabilise delivery and get delivery back on track. Both interventions were hands on and within existing team constructs to expedite knowledge transfer.

1. The utilisation of Alchemy’s hybrid agile method Ei5™ as an alternative method to the current waterfall approach.

a. to manage the portfolio process for work priority, resource allocation and delivery oversight

b. to increase customer engagement, ownership and involvement in the delivery of the projects

c. to align sub solution integrators, customer and internal business and information technology delivery resources to a single method of delivery which could easily be communicated and utilised by the projects

d. to create a cadence for the projects that allowed for the appropriate level of engagement in rituals and also working time to achieve results

2. Provision of an Alchemy agile delivery squad to lead, oversee and coordinate all delivery of the projects.

a. squad included the following roles; agile coach, change manager and at a portfolio level agile portfolio lead, product owner and scrum master

b. agile coach and change manager operated at the executive level of business and customers to ensure buy in and support

c. squad roles and responsibilities included the coaching and mentoring of all solution integrators, customers and internal business and information technology delivery resources

The urgency of delivery required a priority to be placed on the unification of all delivery resources across multiple groups of stakeholders. The aim was to create a high performing team where people could work hard on focussed and clear tasks, enjoyed spending time together and felt part of a bigger purpose.

The results

Alchemy successfully delivered the four projects within weeks of each other and completely transformed the way of working for the business.

The key recommendations resulted in positive change for the business and the practices introduced by Alchemy now are utilised globally by the business which has been an outstanding success. Alchemy’s hybrid agile method Ei5™ use ensured common language and understanding.

Executive engagement by an experienced Alchemy agile coach and change manager ensured that change was business led and messages were consistent and clear. Executive support became paramount as the agile teams took effect and the new method adoption was trained on the tools.

The portfolio management processes were completely rebuilt around agile practices with new prioritisation processes and engagement with software development teams increased to ensure line of sight.

The business resources felt instantly engaged and took on ownership and delivery decision making. Starting to chunk work down immediately. The internal information technology resources and solutions integrator team members had instant buy in to the leadership and methods that Alchemy brought to the table.

Alchemy shared methods and tools without fear of any commercial or intellectual property constructs. There became no us and them just a cohesive collaborative team that shared the same delivery desire which then showed in effort and results.

Final thoughts

To address the delivery concerns of the global CEO, Alchemy had to take a hands on leadership approach. Providing expertise for executive engagement as well as establishing new portfolio processes meant that at the macro level the alignment was clear and strong right from the beginning. By starting with a top down approach the change was a reality right from the beginning with clear call to arms by the executive.

Alchemy’s leadership on the ground with sleeves rolled up provided support and leadership guidance to all people involved supported by the following Alchemy tools and techniques

  • People First – Alchemy brings a distinct and holistic people, process and technology approach to each engagement which helps in identifying and remediating blockages to communication and process flows. The identification and prioritisation of customer and employee journey’s ensures line of sight to what’s important – People!
  • Alchemy’s Ei5™ method – is designed to be engaging and clear for business and technology resources and identifies business ownership as critical to delivery success. The use of agile techniques, tools and rituals ensure that everyone understands their role and conflicts are resolved quickly.
  • Partnering Framework – Alchemy’s partnering framework ensures a clear pathway for everyone involved to experience success. Alchemy’s people and culture transfer knowledge and provide a collaborative environment and tools for all parties to engage in a safe, visible and positive way.

Alchemy’s key sponsor wrote “I just want to say thank you. Alchemy brought an enormous amount of leadership to the roll out of agile within our business. Right from the beginning we all felt as a leadership team that our trusted advisor had arrived and this was replicated by each Alchemy resource involved. The work Alchemy did for us was transformational.”

World first digital marketplace

The world first digital
marketplace

The client situation

A digital marketplace is seen as the foundation of generational change for the education sector with a combination of digital, on-premise and virtual learning brought through a single platform for students and learners on a global scale.

With the delivery of the digital marketplace program critical for the university’s global growth ambitions for students and learners the need for digital delivery expertise and product knowledge was required.

The start of the program had not gone smoothly with a third of the budget already spent and the main tier one information technology solution integrator, business subject matter experts and internal information technology teams not all on the same page creating angst and an us vs them segregation. In addition, the university was attempting to move to an agile way of working that required a change to the delivery approach across all stakeholder groups.

The challenge

The university faced difficult decisions. Not only did they need to deliver a complex 300+ cloud component integrated solution they also needed to amend the business, solutions integrator and internal information technology teaming situation, start to deliver working software at pace and shift to a more agile way of working.

As a delivery organisation the maturity of agile delivery was mixed and as there was no established one method of working. Each contractor that was engaged was brining their own method of working exacerbating the gap between business subject matter experts and the internal technology teams. The solutions integrator was unable to bridge the gap due to contractor push back and a lack of overall program leadership being shown by internal capability.

The business being use to a waterfall approach for delivery was refusing to sign off on specifications and requirements leading to delay in delivery and funding burn not associated with any code development.

In addition, expensive software experts that were provide thought leadership lacked the practical hands on business and delivery experience to deliver a working solution instead debating what cloud product performed what function.

The program was at a cross road, should the university progress or stop the program.

The solution

Alchemy Solutions ‘’Alchemy’’ was initially engaged to perform an urgent review of the troubled program. The review was performed and the core reasons for delay were established and recommendations were suggested. Impressed by the business and technology product knowledge of the Alchemy team the university requested that Alchemy provide a proposal to stabilise and deliver the digital marketplace.
The recommendations involved two clear interventions to stabilise the program and get delivery back on track.

1. The utilisation of Alchemy’s hybrid agile method Ei5™

a. to increase business engagement, ownership and involvement in the delivery of the program

b. to align all solution integrator, business and internal information technology delivery resources to a single method of delivery which could easily be communicated and utilised by the program

c. to create a cadence for the program that allowed for the appropriate level of engagement in rituals and also working time to achieve results.

2. Provision of an Alchemy agile delivery squad to lead, oversee and coordinate all delivery of the program.

a. squad included the following roles; program lead, product owner, scrum master, change manager, business analysts x 2, user interface designer and a deployment lead

b. squad roles and responsibilities included the coaching and mentoring of all solution integrator, business and internal information technology delivery resources

The urgency of delivery required a priority to be placed on the unification of all delivery resources across multiple groups of stakeholders. The aim was to create a high performing team where people could work hard on focussed and clear tasks, enjoyed spending time together and felt part of a bigger purpose.

The results

Alchemy successfully delivered a “world first” digital marketplace for the university.

The key recommendations resulted in two positive turnarounds for the program.

Alchemy’s hybrid agile method Ei5™ use ensured common language and understanding. The business resources felt instantly engaged and took on ownership and delivery decision making. The internal information technology resources and solutions integrator team members had instant buy in to the leadership and methods that Alchemy brought to the table. Alchemy shared methods and tools without fear of any commercial or intellectual property constructs. There became no us and them just a cohesive collaborative team that shared the same delivery desire which then showed in effort and results.

Within a short period of time working software was deployed and the business digital marketplace became a reality.

The solution integrator lead for the account quoted ‘’Alchemy have provided the talent and leadership that has made this program as pleasure to be involved in for our people. We have seen no difference in the way our team has been engaged or treated to that of the business or Alchemy resources themselves. We would love the opportunity to work with Alchemy again”.

In addition to delivery the expertise of the Alchemy delivery squad resources, the business and technology knowledge of the complex cloud software was utilised for the university’s digital marketplace design and build.

Quote from the digital marketplace sponsor – “you know what, it’s been a fantastic delivery result. This program has really brought our business together. We have one team working together who delivered a great result. Our biggest challenge now is to unlock the full power of what we have built through new innovative products and services. This technology will truly change the universities business and we are very excited about it”.

Final thoughts

Bridging the gap between business and information technology is a constant issue facing many of our clients.

To address this gap, Alchemy has a proven approach to mend the bridges and open up effective engagement. This approach is built on successful engagement and delivery experience and contains the following key elements.

  • People First – Alchemy brings a distinct and holistic people, process and technology approach to each engagement which helps in identifying and remediating blockages to communication and process flows. The identification and prioritisation of customer and employee journey’s ensures line of sight to what’s important – People!
  • Alchemy’s Ei5™ method – is designed to be engaging and clear for business and technology resources and identifies business ownership as critical to delivery success. The use of agile techniques, tools and rituals ensure that everyone understands their role and conflicts are resolved quickly.
  • Partnering Framework – Alchemy’s partnering framework ensures a clear pathway for everyone involved to experience success. Alchemy’s people and culture transfer knowledge and provide a collaborative environment and tools for all parties to engage in a safe, visible and positive way.

Alchemy’s key sponsor believes “the whole digital marketplace program was transformative for our university. The business has a world first digital marketplace delivered and working that can be leveraged by the whole university for new online digital and traditional products and services and in addition our agile influences and approach created people capabilities within our business and technology teams that just did not seem possible prior to engagement of the Alchemy team.’’