Telstra goes agile after $11.9bn transformation

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Telstra goes agile after $11.9bn transformation

New approach to IT welcomed by staff.

Telstra has adopted the agile methodology in its approach to IT and software development in response to internal feedback from the telco's $11.9 billion transformation.

The new approach is expected to enhance collaboration on projects between IT and the business units and "see projects delivered faster and benefits realised sooner", according to chief operating officer Michael Rocca.

The announcement was made on the telco's intranet approximately a fortnight ago.

"The IT Delivery Excellence program, developed under the leadership of our CIO, John McInerney, represents an entirely new way of doing things - a more agile and engaged approach aimed at getting better results, improving speed to market and delivering value all the way through a project lifespan," Rocca said.

"Starting immediately, the IT team will change the way it delivers IT capability and engages with the rest of the business."

Agile methods are typically iterative approaches to project management where work is completed in small lots. It is most commonly used in software development.

One of the key advantages to the approach is that IT does not work in isolation but rather in continual collaboration with stakeholders. That tends to mean the outcome meets the business's requirements, even if those requirements change over the course of the project.

Rocca outlined four elements of Telstra's "agile manifesto".

They included "individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documents, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan."

Rocca said that Telstra business units and lines of business "will now have IT service managers close to the business."

"Greater collaboration between IT and the wider business will determine what needs to be done to provide value in a project - managing project and other changes and challenges in real time," he said.

He said "people across the business will welcome the new approach," he said.

A Telstra spokesman told iTnews the telco was "practicing what we preach" about the role of IT in improving productivity, a theme of a regular indicator the telco publishes.

"Agility is one part of Telstra's much wider workforce productivity program," the spokesman said.

"The workforce productivity program is focused on leveraging our networks, tools and processes to drive greater productivity across Telstra."

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