How do you stop history repeating itself?

The challenge

Like many other companies, this global shipping firm relies on its IT to deliver strategic initiatives. Everything from product launches to customer service and operational efficiency. To stay ahead of its competitors, the company has pledged a commitment to leading through innovation.

When we were called in, the company was already in the middle of developing a new global customer service booking system, upgrading its enterprise services architecture, and creating new customer facing systems. Past attempts at digital transformation had failed with new ways of working repeatedly failing to gain traction.

But IT was simply unable to keep up with business expectations. It took an average of 150 days to get value out of its development pipeline. A quarter of all requirements took over a year to develop. Meaningful change took at least two years to deliver.


Rather than introducing new tools or practices, we spent time understanding why change was needed and what had to change. This was not about ‘solution delivery’. It was about helping our client build, adopt, and adapt the tools that would work for its particular, unique context.

We put education on the principles of Value, Flow, Quality (VFQ) at the heart of our work. The aim was that everyone working on innovative products was equipped to prioritize ideas, optimize the flow of work, and deliver value early and often. Crucially, we encouraged people to gather feedback and build this into on-going product development. This, we all agreed, was more important than any particular toolset.

It shouldn’t matter whether a team chooses Kanban, Scrum or something totally different. If everyone shared the same understanding of why they were doing what they were doing, then each team could pick the “how” that suited their context. And because two IT teams working on two different projects would still have two different sets of technical requirements.

Our impact

We cut the average delivery period to benefits realization in half – from 30 weeks to 15 weeks. Time from idea to release was reduced from 208 days to 104 days. And the throughput of enhancements increased by 15%.

Our work with the firm’s centralized booking system team saw turnaround time reduce from 208 to 108 days. This contributed to an overall increase in ROI from $4.10 (average across the portfolio) to $26.30 per dollar spent. We also helped the team achieve an 8.8% reduction in defects.

Our input into the company’s major SAP project saw turnaround time cut by almost a two-thirds – from 168 to 60 days – and ROI increase from the $4.10 average to $44.80 per dollar spent.

104 days

Time from idea to release was cut in half

$26.30 per dollar

ROI achieved by the booking team, up from $4.10

60 days

Turnaround time on SAP project, down from 168

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