Agile Transformation – Large Teams

Agile Training


EMIS Health

Project Background

Egton Medical Information Systems (EMIS Health) are a healthcare software development company with locations throughout the world. They have over 25 years of working with the NHS and entrusted with over 40 million patient records.

EMIS clinical systems are already used by over 5,000 healthcare organisations across the UK, from GP practices and out-of-hours services, to community care and sexual health services. By using the same system, everyone can access the same information about their patients – no matter where they are treated – making the prospect of integrated care a reality.

This project involved McKenna Consultants building a close working relationship with EMIS and it’s staff by delivering a successful, companywide agile transformation, incorporating Scrum, Kanban and some Disciplined Agile Delivery (D.A.D) techniques.

The Challenge

The EMIS software development department is huge, comprising of over 250 members based throughout the world.

As the market leader of clinical systems, EMIS has grown dramatically over the years and wanted to continue on building a high quality system and empowering their software development teams. Traditionally, working with the NHS and delivering these types of systems has been a long, waterfall approach. As the Government are moving to now requesting software development projects to be delivered in a more agile manner (something that we at McKenna Consultants have prior experience of), EMIS wanted to be ahead of the competition and embed an agile mind-set first.

As with any large scale project, there are huge challenges with scaling. The agile transformation was being driven by the Development Director, but he required some support in order to deliver the training and give it the 100% commitment that it required. At McKenna Consultants we often hear about Agile transformation projects failing due to the people in the organisation driving the change not having the time, resource and availability to fully commit to the transformation. This is why EMIS were looking for a proven agile partner.

The Solution

We delivered a 6 month companywide Agile transformation at EMIS comprising of the following:

  • Delivery of our unique Introduction To Agile Software Development training course
  • Delivery of a bespoke  Introduction To Lean Agile Software Development training course exclusively for the Service Improvement Teams
  • Delivery of our hands on  Introduction To Product Ownership training course
  • Team coaching sessions
  • Agile Retrospectives delivery and facilitation
  • Multi-team Agile Retrospectives delivery – run in a similar way as to the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) PI planning event
  • 1-to-1 ScrumMaster and Product Owner mentoring
  • Project Manager specific workshops
  • Executive Agile training
  • Contribution and facilitation of aligning the development departmental objectives
  • Team building activities
  • Increased visibility through Kanban
  • Facilitated the creation of new teams, most significantly the reduction of a 25+ person service improvement team into 3 more agile teams
  • Coach the coaches – Implemented a coaching culture, where team members are now confident and competent enough to deliver agile coaching to other teams

The Delivery

We worked closely with the Development Director and his Senior Management team to deliver a structured and effective agile transformation of these large teams. The training programme was delivered by our Senior Agile Consultants and Agile Consultants.

The project was structured in our recommended agile coaching template, on a team by team weekly basis. This usually consists of:

Day 1: Introduction to Agile Software Development training course
Day 2: Team Coaching
Day 3: Team Coaching
Day 4: Agile Retrospectives

From our years of experience, we know that it is vital to undertake team coaching sessions immediately following the initial training course. This ensures that the team have the chance to work with one of our experienced coaches to experiment with ideas from the course and increase their chances of fully embracing, implanting and embedding an agile mind-set and way of working within their team.

“McKenna Consultants have successfully supported and delivered the agile training programme that has been going on at EMIS since February 2014. They have provided training and hands on coaching to over 250 members of our development team including developers, testers, product owners, project managers, senior managers, UX and commercial. They have helped our development teams to implement ideas from Scrum, agile and lean to make us a more efficient department resulting in happier teams. McKenna Consultants’ outstanding knowledge and experience in creating and improving agile teams meant that they were the perfect agile partner for us. We will continue to work with McKenna Consultants to enable us to continually improve.”

David Weir, Development Director