At any given time, The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) can have up to 450 active projects under construction at a cost of about $3 billion dollars. High level stakeholders include legislators and other elected officials who often seek project updates such as progress reports, completion dates, and cost estimates. Because of complexity of projects, stakeholders were not able to receive simple answers without multiple sources consulting one another over the course of two to three days.
Project data was compiled in a single, comprehensive archive making it extremely difficult for dissemination while causing heightened frustration across departments. This was just one of the many fundamental hurdles TDOT faced when they partnered with The Braintrust Consulting Group to implement Agile.
Braintrust Consulting Group conducted training, coaching and periodic assessments of the Information Technology Division (IT) to determine its suitability for Agile methodology adoption. The IT division is responsible for computer application systems development and maintenance for TDOT. The division performs duties pertaining to the direction, planning, coordination and management of the department’s computerized information resources. Improvements needed to be made in order to better meet the needs of TDOT businesses.
Across the IT organization, there were obstacles directly affecting productivity, efficiency, group interoperability, coordination and communication. The major themes of challenges were as follows: transparency and visibility, workflow coordination, management and leadership, culture, roles, testing and technical debt.
1. Groups within the division expressed misunderstandings regarding project commitments as well as a lack of team engagement and communication involving decision-making.
2. A lack of alignment with all teams led to unclear project visions, goals and priorities across departments.
3. Groups struggled to understand roles, areas of responsibilities and even how to communicate with each other.
4. Meetings proved ineffective and lacked focus while the frequency of reporting rarely aligned with the pace of delivery.
5. TDOT IT division needed Agile skills and knowledge to shore up core operational practices, resolve obstructive leadership styles, and improve metrics, communication, and workflow coordination.