Genomics Case Study
How we helped: Coaching and Leadership
Improved expectations and delivery quality
As teams stopped overcommitting to work
Better communication and collaboration
As trust between the engineering and analysis teams deveopled
More efficient teamwork
As they adapt to a more persistent approach that is cross-functional
Genomics England is a company set up by the Department of Health and Social Care in 2013.
Genomics was founded to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project. The flagship project is currently sequencing 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients with rare diseases, and their families, as well as patients with common cancers. This is to offer benefits to patients, enable new scientific discovery and medical insights, and kickstart the development of a UK genomics industry.
In 2018, the project was expanded to enable sequencing of 5 million genomes over the next five years.
“Discord between the engineers and analysts was increasing due to a lack of mutual understanding and trust. An absence of product ownership also caused challenges around requirements and the gathering of data.”
Director, 101 Ways
Genomics had a scrum development framework in place, but it wasn’t working. The team was overcommitting to work due to a lack of prioritisation and weren’t finishing sprints. Plus, it had outdated infrastructure in place. This led to it not being able to test work in the same sprint properly; reducing confidence and predictability.
The engineers and analysts weren’t working towards shared objectives and were heavily siloed. By pushing against each other, they were causing delivery and quality to suffer.
“Discord between the engineers and analysts was increasing due to a lack of mutual understanding and trust. An absence of product ownership also caused challenges around requirements and the gathering of data,” explained Emma Hopkinson-Spark, Director, 101 Ways.
101 Ways brought in a Scrum Master onsite to help redefine and rebuild the culture. They facilitated a safe space in which to share and enabled conditions for success.
101 Ways then provided coaching across junior to senior levels to encourage the teams to stop over-committing on work. This was done by helping teams with improved estimate techniques so they could better review capacity and plan the amount of work they could do.
To address the main challenges around requirements – particularly gathering data up front where user stories can be used and adhered to – estimates were provided using t-shirt sizes, which the teams responded well to, along with overhauling the quarterly planning process to be a more realistic predictor of what outcomes were achievable.
“The aim was to make it relatable. This helped the teams forecast in a meaningful way and quickly got them to a point of calculating and reflecting on their own performance,” commented Hopkinson-Spark.
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