KDDI's Agile Transformation - Learn by Doing
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Summary

Challenge 

Digital Transformation: Modernizing and improving KDDI project management through Lean Digital Transformation.

Solution 

Implementation of digital Lean principles within the company, with the Agile methodology as the main pillar.

Project Overview

KDDI is one of the Fortune Global 500 and among the telecommunications giants of Japan and Asia. The company has been promoting and deploying agile development internally since 2012, and in recent years has been working to apply agile development to its corporate development services for its clients.

Although the company had steadily built up a track record of internal success and expanded its organizational efforts, it was finding it difficult to provide stable services in development services, where differences in understanding of agile development with clients, especially when there are contractual relationships, occurred.
KDDI saw the potential in CI&T's Lean Digital Transformation and Lean-Agile development process to provide its clients with a more systematic digital solution and selected CI&T Japan as a partner.

The Goal

Organizational culture is an important key to digital transformation, and after gaining insight into how CI&T was applying Lean Digital Transformation to its own and other companies, KDDI decided to follow CI&T's approach and create a new agile development process. To do this, they selected one ongoing project and worked with the CI&T team to implement a "Learn by doing" approach. They worked hard to ensure that the project met its original agile delivery goals on a daily basis, while also sharing the culture through "Shu-Ha-Ri".
 
・Assessment of skills and expectations, the team's roles and behavior, in relation to  the current Agile process;

・Increased project productivity and visibility - generating greater assurance to stakeholders that the Agile project could be delivered and customer expectations met;

・Cross-pollination: during the journey KDDI wanted everyone on the team, including executives, to learn together with CI&T - and eventually be able to apply these improvements 

How CI&T Executed

By conducting frequent "Gemba" sessions to review the current status of the development team during the evaluation process, we succeeded in gaining the active participation and endorsement of the KDDI leadership team. Before beginning a full project, strategic methods such as A3 and design thinking were used to identify project issues, causes, and realistic goals, and then the entire process was designed by creating a roadmap. CI&T also shared a definition of the role of the project manager (PM) in agile development to facilitate the schedule, cost, risk, and team management.

CI&T then joined KDDI's development team to help implement the agile processes and tools, and derive improvements to technical decisions on a daily basis. The use of metrics and goal management processes, such as roadmap building and daily meetings, enabled us to check the status of the project in 2-week sprints, visualize the value delivered and adjust the project directions flexibly, bringing more assurance to the initiative stakeholders. 

Results

At the end of the engagement, the KDDI team was able to take advantage of the further developed agile methodology. In terms of an Agile operating model, it became clear that KDDI is more confident in engaging in new initiatives whose uncertainty is high (e.g.: disruptive ideas that do not have much data or comparatives). The project has also led to a change in mindset across KDDI as a whole, evolving into a more agile and flexible company. CI&T continues to expand its partnership with KDDI and acts in several areas to support them in their own digital transformation as well as their clients.

Feedbacks

”Many companies require agile development to have a clear rationale for settling budgets, including scope and schedule. Even if you are able to flexibly control the scope at the outset, the involvement of many stakeholders can impede project flexibility and team autonomy.

For this reason, KDDI has worked with CI&T, a company with a large track record in corporate agile development that achieves both team autonomy and maintain its processes, to visualize project status and learn how to control customer expectations, while adding KDDI's own arrangements to provide customers with more advanced processes. We have built a system that satisfies our customers.

In the 5G and IoT fields, where even greater needs are expected in the future, we will add agile development systems and processes for corporate customers to KDDI's capabilities as a telecommunications operator, and together with our customers we will create new business value that only KDDI can provide.”

Ryusuke Nagasawa, Cloud Solution Manager at KDDI

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