CASE STUDY: IAS SUCCEEDS WITH SCALED AGILE FRAMEWORK (SAFe®)

After Implementing SAFe, IAS Sees a 30% Improvement in Predictable Delivery

Summary

In September 2017, IAS engaged TecVeris to perform an assessment of the engineering and product organization and processes. IAS subsequently chose the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as a solution to mitigate issues with predicting delivery of features to production and to overcome impediments to delivery, like cross-team dependencies. TecVeris then led an agile transformation to implement the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe),

See It in Action

Take a look inside IAS’s PI-1 big room planning.

The Challenge

Integral Ad Science helps drive digital results for global brands across the advertising ecosystem. IAS ad intelligence allows advertisers and publishers to protect their investments, maximize their impressions, capture consumer attention, and drive global business impact.

IAS has had considerable success in the ad tech industry and business was good. However, a proactive leadership team identified that the organization could substantially improve their ability to release more value to market by addressing delivery issues. In the summer of 2017, IAS hired a new CTO who addressed impediments to value delivery, including:

 

  • Clear business priorities—Are we working on the right things?
  • Cross-team dependencies & team structure—Do we have the right resources on the teams to deliver the full solution? Work delays when teams have hand offs.
  • Partnership between engineering and technology—We need to trust one another and work together!
  • Transparency—Teams and stakeholders need to understand what we are working on, why, and when we expect it to be delivered

TecVeris Delivers

IAS engaged TecVeris to provide a lean-agile/SAFe advisor, an advisor with Product Management leadership experience, an advisor with lean architecture expertise and a SAFe trainer.

IAS followed the recommended SAFe implementation roadmap. They executed a quick training and implementation path and completed all training and preparation for PI-1 in Q1 2018.

TecVeris provided the leadership, personnel, and support for this transformation. TecVeris coached teams, promoting collaboration and communication. With a slew of agile implementations to improve planning and execution, IAS quickly saw improvements in predictable delivery (an estimated 30%+) and a positive change in energy. The roadmap included the following activities:

  • Executive (C-Level) workshops to prepare leadership team and answer questions
  • Leading a SAFe certification class for all Engineering and Product Leadership: ~30 people
  • SAFe Product Owner/Product Manager Certification class for the full product management team: ~20 people
  • SAFe Scrum Master Class: ~20 people
  • SAFe for Teams: multiple classes totaling ~120 people
  • Story-writing workshop: ~20 people
  • ART identification and preparation for PI-1, including team restructuring to reduce cross-team dependencies
  • Coaching and support during PI-1 and PI-2
  • Metrics implementation

IAS started to see real change the evening before its second PI-2 planning event with TecVeris.

Teams are finding the process more effective for communicating and planning for dependencies across teams. They are enjoying the focus on delivering value—that is, having a clear set of priorities to execute against, delivering against that commitment, and then having the gratification of seeing the new functionalities they’ve built live in production. —VP, PMO, IAS

For their PI-2 event, individuals came together to gain a broader understanding of cross-departmental projects. Global teams connected in person, some for the first time. Camaraderie developed and the teams tackled challenges together, while they prepared to plan out the next 10-12 week increment of work.

Six months after working with TecVeris to implement SAFe, Integral Ad Science shared the following comments:

We’ve achieved my two main objective in adopting SAFe: increased development velocity and predictability. We’re delivering more product capabilities and meeting commitments at a much higher rate. —SVP Product, IAS 

In addition to the huge gains in predictability, we have also gotten a lot of positive feedback from the teams and have seen other important benefits and changes at the team level as we adopted SAFe and the PI Planning process. For example, PI Planning events give us dedicated time, which helps ensure all the teams are working on the right projects to deliver value and gives them a way to communicate their plans to stakeholders upfront. This upfront planning and communication helps avoid changes in priorities and context switching during implementation so that teams can work more efficiently. —VP, PMO, IAS

The company has seen an estimated 30%+ improvement in predictable delivery. Vista Equity Partners has bought a majority stake in IAS. TecVeris remains engaged with IAS, continuing to support their SAFe implementation, providing coaching assistance as needed at the team and program level.

Company Name:

Integral Ad Science (IAS)

Size:

500+ employees, 22 offices in 13 countries

Industry:

Advertising & Technology, Privately Held

Locations:

  • Headquarters: New York, NY, USA
  • Global Office Locations

TecVeris Team:

  • 4 Advisors/Consultants
    • SAFe Coach/Engagement Lead
    • Product Management
    • Architecture
    • ITSM Process
    • 1–2 SAFe Trainers
  • 2 Staff Augmentation Contractors
    • Scrum Master
    • Compliance Program Manager

Duration:

11+months, ongoing management advisory support and staff augmentation