Jim Sartain, Adobe Systems
This session will discuss how to inspire, enable and drive continuous and significant quality improvement across large organizations. Participants will learn what has worked and not worked at several well-known commercial software companies. Key success factors are outlined as well as an overall methodology for driving the improvement effort.
An overall approach to garnering leadership support, identifying key improvement opportunities and driving progress is shared. Specific success metrics are shared as well as data on what constitutes world-class, what is typical for commercial software organizations and how several large software companies are delivering for their customers in a world-class manner. Specific suggestions are discussed on how to help organizations become more customer focused to ensure they are working on what matters most to external and internal customers.
This discussion includes the use of the Net Promoter concept to discover what is delighting customers and causing them to recommend the product or service to others, as well as how to identify detractors and what needs to be most improved with the software.
The benefits of a number of key engineering best practices including personal reviews, peer reviews, unit testing and the Team Software Process and Personal Software Process are discussed as well as key barriers to their adoption. A roadmap is shared for how to approach quality improvement initiatives with a multi-year view, starting first with eager (innovative) adopters and ensuring they are rewarded and recognized for their initiative. Next, you work with early adopters, who will be attracted by the innovators, who will be promoters of the changes as well as supplying proof point that these changes pay off for employees, customers and ultimately the business.
Self-directed teams adopting engineering best practices including TSP and PSP were able to ensure that quality, schedule, scope and cost were not strict trade-offs. Through a combination of better planning and estimation, improved project execution and effective use of quality best practices, such as unit testing and peer reviews, these teams delivered high quality software on schedule and budget, with good work-life balance for the team. Knowledge gained from retrospectives and improved metrics helped drive continuous and significant improvement in product and process. The biggest change was in the mindset that a team owns its work processes and has primary responsibility for defining and improving it.
The goals and metrics used to define, track and drive improvement will be discussed. Often establishing what’s important and mechanisms, including relevant metrics with the right altitude and precision, are key to progress. These metrics assess progress from a customer, employee and business stakeholder perspective and demonstrate the continuous improvement required to ensure continued individual and organizational commitment. Lastly, the long-term results from one large organization are shared to serve as a proof point for the value of adopting these best practices from the viewpoint of all key stakeholders, especially employees and customers.