At the recent Shibumi Virtual Summit, Roger Phillips of Vodafone in the UK presented on the role that Shibumi had played in helping Vodafone to accelerate their digital transformation program. Roger’s presentation is a perfect example of how some of the leading global brands such as Vodafone leverage technology to help them deliver superior, accelerated outcomes from the investments they make in transformation. The video of the original presentation, together with a transcript of the talk can be seen below.
Hi, all. My name is Roger Phillips. I’m the benefits realization manager for the Radical Simplification and Automation Program in Vodafone UK.
Vodafone UK, at the moment, are undergoing a huge transformation from being a network-based telecom, focused on providing telecom communications to its customers, pivoting all the way to being a technology company; so that we can serve and connect our customers better in the future.
My role within that transformation and being on the leadership team is to ensure that the benefits of all the activity is captured so that we can identify the impact of the transformation, and really learn from our experiences increasing the efficiencies of our deliveries going forward, whether they’re delivered in an agile or a waterfall methodology. What I wanted to cover today was just a brief overview of why we’re using Shibumi, what we’re trying to achieve by using it, and certain little bits of functionality that we’ve found really beneficial to its rollout, and also, how we’re accelerating that rollout program across other operating companies, across the Vodafone Group network.
The transformation program itself was set up 18 months ago. Since then, we’ve had a team of 30 of us in the UK being involved in delivering or starting around about 100 transformation opportunities across all areas of the business. We’ve started activity in the technology function within IT, within networks, within business and consumer-facing products; but also, really importantly, in customer operations as well. Think of that as the call centers. Tracking the benefits and governing all of this activity would have been impossible using traditional methods such as spreadsheets, minuted meetings, back corridor conversations. It just wouldn’t have been able to do but what we’ve done by using Shibumi is we’ve transformed the way that Vodafone operates.
Vodafone itself now is moving from being a darker murky place to get things done to a really quick, agile, and a much better place to deliver new technology into. Shibumi’s been instrumental in this change and this approach towards digital transformation. That’s because the use case for Shibumi is really clear, and really simple, and easy to distill into two main factors. We use Shibumi for governance. It’s an excellent governance tool and it’s been designed to replicate exactly how we want our deliveries to happen within the business, within a simple flow.
Secondly, we use it as a business benefit tracking tool. Now, ultimately, Shibumi is just an application but by being specific with the holistic business benefits that we want Shibumi to capture at various stages within delivery, it’s really driving a mindset change across the operating company. All our delivery agents, be it the Scrum Masters or Project Managers, are orientating now towards deliveries that are focused on realizing benefits rather than delivering certain technology with unknown impacts on the business. That’s a real fundamental change that Shibumi is on the forefront of driving.
By delivering against those two simple and clear goals, I find that Shibumi is critical to the success of both the UK transformation program but also the global program because it’s a fundamental part of what we package as transformation methodology. We package the benefits realization framework and the approach towards benefits, the best-in-class governance methodology that we’ve developed, and Shibumi. Those three things consolidate together, give you an out-of-the-box solution towards how you approach transformation, whether you be in the UK or in our operating companies around the world; whether in New Zealand, South Africa, Egypt, and so on.
Shibumi has had two releases in Vodafone. The first release was really focused on getting the governance aligned into the templates within Shibumi. We really focused on making sure that that methodology was really captured and the right level of data was mandatory fielded in each of the templates at the right stages. We launched that after about two to three sprints working with Robin and Mike. Then we waited two to three months and captured all the feedback from the user group community, the Scrum Masters, and the Business Process Architects who input all that information.
From there, the second release really focused on making Shibumi as easy as possible to use. We really worked on the user interface, be it the color, be it the workflow, be it the way that we’re capturing the information and adding user help tips and guides on every page. That really transformed the user experience. It went from a clunky piece of operating tool to a really well-loved application―one that people could see the benefits of one that really saved people time. I’d recommend that as a rollout process. It worked very well. Now we get great feedback from first-time users and established users within our community.
What I wanted to focus on was just recommend them a couple of bits of the functionality that we’ve built-in, particularly, in release 2, that’s really sped up the adoption of Shibumi and increased the MPS that we get from our user group. The first one is focused all around approvals. At different stages within Shibumi, different approvals are required according to our governance methodology. What Shibumi does for us is by making the roles and responsibility of all our stakeholders and our deliveries really clear, it means that Shibumi automatically sends notifications to these people at the right time. It saves time in the scrum masters chasing to get those approvals. It saves time in waiting for meetings with these attendees, which can take weeks to organize. It means that those approvers can nip into Shibumi, review the data they’ve been asked to approve, and approve it quicker. This really improves it and increases our delivery cadence. We find it saves a lot of time there.
It also means that we don’t miss approvals. In the old way, it was often the case that we just carry on to the next stage of delivery without having the right approvals at the right time, just because there was nothing fundamentally stopping you. Here, in Shibumi now, you can’t move forward without those approvals. It means there’s much stronger, stricter controls but also less effort involved in getting those controls. That’s a win-win.
Shibumi is also configurable for different size and different types of delivery. If you’re running a small, quick-win piece of activity, well then, you can elect into that. It means that you’re going to get less approvals, and less governance, and it’s going to be quicker to deliver. When you’re doing a wide, multi-functional piece of automation activity across many lines of business, then you’re going to need more approvals, and it’s going to be slightly slower in governance, because that’s the right thing to do, because it means that the users will accept the technology when it’s launched. Therefore, we’ve got more approvals at that stage. But either way, Shibumi can cope with many different types of delivery.
That’s also really important because we don’t just do automation. We do elimination activity, which is often a much quicker, much straightforward benefit tracking approach versus automation, which often requires more and more benefits to be captured post-delivery. The second one is, the functionality that we built in is the benefit capture. We really prescribe in the templates at the right time versus the governance exactly when benefits should be both notified, planned for, forecasted, and then, actualized within the tool. That’s great. That’s really good because it means you don’t need a central PMO to guide, and steer, and help people. It means that Shibumi is a self-learning tool.
Because the next action is always really clear, the scrum master knows when they have to focus on benefits or capturing details of the delivery. But making it really simple and clear in stage two, that means that the scrum master’s super happy and it saves them time. We also leverage the presentation functionality within Shibumi. In the old world of delivering things, scrum masters often spent a lot of time putting together PowerPoints, pulling together Excel charts, and things like this, so that senior leaders could review and understand the benefits, and really sort of drill in and question.
By standardizing that approach in the presentation function, that’s got benefits both on the scrum master side because they don’t only have to do that rework, that planning, that review, all that activity; but it also means that there’s senior stakeholders that have to approve at various stages have those documents to hand in the same format every time, delivered to their inbox, there’s no time spent scratching their head understanding what the scrum master’s done. All the delivery, all the input benefit details are there standardized, ready to go.
Previously, we think that the time spent in delivery was around about 72 hours per individual project. The reason for that is, as I say, the time to waiting for meetings, time in meetings with people, review time beforehand, all the time spent making sure the document was accurate to be reviewed, we think that that’s gone down to around about a quarter of that now. If you multiply that saving across all of the hundred different opportunities that we’ve done in just this 18 months, then that saving to the business is absolutely huge. Also, by having those documents stored and saved in Shibumi, it means that there’s no ambiguity about it. It’s really clear and simple. It’s another example where Shibumi is a win-win―saves us time, makes it easier for us.
The fourth and final real sort of piece of functionality that we’ve leveraged from Shibumi makes my life easier. I sit within the PMO effectively within the transformation team. My role is to present the benefits. I consolidate the benefits across all of the different pieces of activity. Doing that on a spreadsheet where we didn’t have one source of the truth, where people had different approaches to capturing time saved, and KPIs, and operational benefits, as well as those financial benefits, would have been a ridiculous concept, as in it would have taken too long and it would have cost the business a lot to track those benefits.
By really leveraging the charts and the roll-ups, and the consolidation of the benefits, and using metrics within Shibumi, we’ve really found that that has sped up the game. That’s something we really want to focus on release 3 as well. If we’ve had release 1, was doing the governance; release 2 was really focusing on the user interface; release 3, we really want to look at being able to push the boundaries of the technology that Shibumi can report those benefits and tabulate, and make them simple and quick to disseminate to our stakeholder community. Those are the four bits of functionality that we really want to focus on.
Now, where we are within our transformation program is because the UK has shown such good results in its 18 months, we are now packaging up all of the behaviors and the tools that the UK have, and rolling that out across all our other operating companies in different markets. We needed a plan to accelerate this rollout. With that and with regards to Shibumi, we’ve got a clear framework in which we we’re looking to really lean on Shibumi and make sure that that is, again, one of the core principles of all these operating companies when they do transformation activity.
It’s really important for us that each individual market that adopts Shibumi has a clear Spock―a special person of interest who owns Shibumi. We’re ensuring that everyone has a benefits realization manager in each team. That’s really important because then, they can provide feedback and they can train the people within the markets. We’ve also got a real clear sort of user guide both for day-to-day users such as scrum masters and business process architects, but also the approvers as well. That’s really important. It makes it really clear and easy for people to use. It’s a real page-by-page and click-here-next document. That was really useful and it had been accepted very well.
The final thing that I think personally is the most important thing is building a community around Shibumi. It’s a new way of doing business. Previously, PMOs were very reliant on spreadsheets. We need to ensure and handhold all the different users around the globe to make sure that they are involved and they’re at the forefront of using Shibumi in a standard and consistent way across all the different markets. We’re going to have a monthly session to provide feedback, and user tips and new technology to make sure that everyone is engaged and is supportive of using Shibumi for all their transformation activity. That’s been really important in the UK. In the UK, we’ve held user communities and the scrum masters have found it really important to be engaged and share ideas of how they use the tool to make sure they’re getting the most from it.
There we have it. We’ve covered what Vodafone is doing. We’ve covered what we’re trying to achieve in Vodafone by using Shibumi. We’ve looked at some of the functionality that we’ve rolled out. We’ve also covered how we’re accelerating that roll out across the wider, exciting new frontier of different markets across the world. If you’ve got any questions about the Vodafone instance of Shibumi, let me know, but otherwise, I’ll be available for our contact after the meeting.
If you have any questions about how Shibumi can help your organization with a digital transformation program or any program for that matter please schedule a call here.