Reduce Time to Market
In 2009, it was typically taking Cerner’s development teams about 30 months – from concept to client adoption – to introduce major innovations. Cerner knew it had to accelerate its products’ time to market to help clients navigate healthcare reform and to stay competitive in the rapidly changing industry.
To achieve this, Cerner’s developers needed more agility in their software development processes. The solution was the adoption of agile practices across the enterprise. Matt Anderson, director, Cerner Technology Services and Cerner’s leading agile champion, calls the company’s approach “pragmatic agile.” In other words, the enterprise focuses on ensuring that agile principles and values are followed and the teams decide the agile approach they will take.
Successful organizational change must simultaneously incorporate people, process and tools. While Cerner had a great team who was committed to agile processes, they needed an enterprise agile application lifecycle management (agile ALM) platform that would enable the people and processes to succeed. After reviewing several options, they selected VersionOne as their primary tooling partner.
Platform for Easy Adoption
Cerner has more than 3,000 developers, with teams having different needs, different markets, and different preferences in the way they work. Scrum works best for most of their teams, while other teams prefer Kanban, XP, Lean or other variations.
The company selected the VersionOne agile ALM platform because it had the flexibility to accommodate the various agile methodologies being implemented. In addition, they found the platform intuitive and easy to use. “People can focus on doing the real work of software development,” explains Anderson.
“VersionOne is a great partner. The company continues to innovate to meet the needs of the agile marketplace. They are justifiably one of the top agile ALM vendors.”
Cerner Technology Services
Transition to Agile Yields Significant Results
For Cerner, success was about having more time to focus on adopting the agile framework rather than adopting a tool. The VersionOne platform’s inherent ease of adoption enabled Cerner to quickly start seeing the benefits of agile – in this case, a 75% reduction in time to market. Other measurable improvements include:
Productivity increased by 24%
Development costs reduced by 14%
Quality improved by 6% based on internal KPIs
Turnaround time for resolving critical defects reduced by 50%
In addition, by choosing VersionOne, Cerner development teams can estimate software delivery more accurately, allowing them to forecast and consistently meet their commitments to stakeholders. Developers can identify problems earlier and make midstream adjustments very quickly. And teams can innovate and test prototypes because VersionOne is adaptable enough to support changes to the underlying process.
The flexibility of the VersionOne ALM platform promotes a proactive approach to problem solving across the enterprise. Instead of reacting to issues, Cerner can develop solutions that prevent issues from arising. The flexibility also allows teams to try different things. If the experiment works, Cerner teams incorporate it as a part of their process.
If the experiment works, Cerner teams incorporate it as a part of their process. If the experiment doesn’t work, they just throw it out and try something else. As Anderson says, “That’s the true spirit of retrospectives.”
Improved Reporting Results
Another key benefit of VersionOne is the ease of creating roll-up reports with the ability to drill down from big picture into what teams are doing. With VersionOne, Cerner’s leadership can get a one click view of a release at any point in time. They no longer needed to deal with project management via spreadsheets or Visio, which often contained outdated information and rarely provided the needed level of detail.
Beyond Development Teams
Non-development teams have even started using the VersionOne platform for its flexibility and ease of use. Harper has been helping the consulting teams apply the agile framework to their existing process and figure out what language to use if epics and features don’t work for the team. Similarly, Anderson has been helping client implementation teams leverage Lean and Kanban for process improvement. He says, “The VersionOne platform helps our business units break their processes into epics and user stories and roll things out much faster.”