How to improve your digital production line
Success in almost all organisations results from delivering features that are highly valued by your customers, at a rate that is faster than your competitors. As interactions migrate to digital channels, more of the value that your organisation provides is in its digital products - websites, apps, APIs etc.
A digital production line can be defined as your organisation’s business, design, development and operations teams working together to create and enhance digital products for your customers.
Focus on Time-to-Value
Achieving faster delivery of customer value means improving the volume, speed, and quality of your digital production line. How can this be done?
A very effective way to do this is to focus on improving Time to Value.
This is the time it takes your organisation from identification of a customer need, to developing the feature to meet the need, to then delivering this to the customer.
Improving this metric is obviously of direct benefit as business value is delivered sooner. However there are also a number additional benefits to speeding up this process:
- earlier feedback means faster improvement of the customer experience
- less time is required per feature which means that more features can be delivered for the same cost
- quality improvements are driven by process automation and reduced repair cycle time
- team engagement is improved as more time is spent creating value, and less on dealing with inefficiencies
High performing organisations design and deliver features in days rather than months, spend 22% less on rework, and have employees that are over 2x more likely to recommend their organisation as a great place to work.
In our experience initiatives to improve Time-to-Value should apply the following principles:
Involve the entire team (business, design, development, operations) – this is for two reasons. Firstly we need every area to contribute to establishing what the end-to-end process is, and where the problems are. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it gives everyone an understanding of the entire process, and collaborative decision making gives everyone a stake in ensuring a successful outcome.
Optimise globally - It is important to consider the end-to-end process from ideation to release when deciding what to do, and in what order. Focussing on just one part of the feature delivery process may miss more effective changes that can be made in another area.
Measure first – it is critical to establish the actual time taken for all activities to get a feature from conception to a customer’s device. This sets the baseline to enable quantification of any improvements, but more importantly it provides empirical data about current state rather than relying on individuals’ views that are often biased towards local issues.
Test ideas – ensure that the production process allows for fast experimentation and customer feedback. An effective value creation process needs to be able to get feedback quickly so that ideas can be accelerated, modified, or discarded to maximise value delivered to the customer.
Start small – when deciding where to act first the team should aim to implement changes that will make tangible improvements quickly. Early success will build momentum and enable ongoing improvement.
Our goal is to enable your business to create more value. By applying these principles in collaboration with our clients’ teams Solnet has
- Increased the frequency of digital product releases by 3x for a large Health Sector client
- Reduced overall effort per feature by 15% for a large Government Agency
Solnet can empower your team to firstly measure and then improve your organisation’s Time to Value.
 Compared with low performing organisations – Puppet State of DevOps report 2016
Nick began his career in the New Zealand engineering industry. Prior to Solnet, he worked in France for 10 years on the Eurostar train construction project in a variety of project and financial management roles. He joined Solnet in 2000 as a Project Manager, later moving to lead the Wellington Solutions Delivery team, and then to be National Operations Manager with responsibility for creating and leading high performance technical teams, organisational improvement and managing delivery of superior IT outcomes for Solnet's clients.
He has recently moved to a role as our Enterprise IT Transformation Director and is responsible for helping our clients successfully transform their IT assets and teams to enable rapid, customer-centric digital innovation.