Removing bottlenecks in the IT support

SELF-MANAGEMENT IN TEAMS WITH SCRUM AND AGILITY

Region Midt has achieved great improvements with the establishment of a High Performance Team in the IT support team in the Diagnostic Products department.

Region Midt logoRegion Midt (Central Denmark Region) is responsible for the IT solutions in the health sector to function optimally. Collaboration and flexibility in individual teams and units can help ensure that patients in the hospitals receive the optimal and most effective treatment when a critical situation arises. An example might be that a surgeon must prepare for an emergency surgery but has problems viewing the patient's x-ray in the IT system: It could potentially be a matter of life or death. This is where the IT support team in the Diagnostic Products department comes into play. Their task is to ensure daily operations of the IT systems, but also be able to quickly address and solve urgent problems.

Region Midt approached kaastrup|andersen with a desire to strengthen the IT support team in the Diagnostic Products department to make the daily work more organized and structured, so that unauthorized tasks would not end up here and to increase cooperation to ensure that no tasks would depend on one specific person. The journey towards more agility and self-management was already well underway, but Region Midt wanted to partner up with kaastrup|andersen to inspire, take ownership and drive the process.

Read the case description below.

Do you want to learn more?

Harald Høi Andersen

Director
+45 70 27 77 19
Contact me

Our lead time on solving incidents has decreased significantly, which has resulted in a sharp reduction in our backlog. This directly benefits our users and patients who experience a much better service from IT.

Johannes Øbing-Thomsen
Area Manager, IT, Region Midtjylland

Challenge

In an everyday life where the region's IT systems are crucial in the daily tasks of the hospital, there is a need for quick and flexible 3rd level support. This means that the IT support team has a very dynamic everyday life. There are several balls in the air and new incoming cases often require, that the employees abandon what they are working on to solve the challenge immediately, ensuring that the work with patients can continue effectively and smoothly.

The IT support team managed their daily tasks as required, but the structures and organization of tasks, roles and frameworks were not optimal, for example was the division of responsibilities not clearly defined. Some of the tasks were sent directly to a specific person and the dependency on that one person could create bottlenecks. At the same time, the team was often assigned extra tasks that did not belong there. The consequence was that it could be difficult to keep an overview, that the work at times became ineffective and that the motivation in the team was at risk.

High performance teams in RM

Solution

Before a solution could be identified and implemented, the situation and area were analyzed. There was also a large task in identifying the ongoing tasks and duties that was placed incorrectly and should be assigned to another department. The analysis concluded that there was a need to create a clear framework for the way tasks were assigned to the department, to identify roles and responsibilities and to change the daily work routines. The analysis also pointed to a need to expand the skills of the team so that incoming tasks would not have to be solved by specific people.

The solution took inspiration from agility and scrum and was based on self-management and contained three parts:

  1. Two work streams were established,
  2. scrum - roles were assigned and
  3. tasks were clearly defined and prioritized.

It can be difficult to design a solution that is readily suitable for both the people involved and the environment in which the work takes place. It is usually necessary to spend the first time after implementation to monitor and assess whether the solution works and in this case the first operating period of the new framework and meeting structures resulted in several adaptations as the department gained insights and experience with the setup.

Along the way, the team participated in a workshop held by kaastrup|andersen's agile team. The insight into the agile field and the ways to work agile provided the team with good foundation and thorough understanding of the elements that the team was introducing in their department.

High performance teams - solution

Selected results

The IT support team has reduced the stress in their workday and have established a more close-knit department, which acts as a team rather than as individuals. The work has become more structured with daily short and efficient stand-up status meetings, which give each employee a better overview of the work assigned to him/her and the meetings offer quick sparring with colleagues. The meetings are literally stand-up meetings where employees gather around a large touch screen and review the day's tasks at a kanban board.

The new structure also helps to distribute work more evenly among employees so that everyone only gets the tasks that he/she can solve within a short time frame. The improved distribution of tasks also prevents the accumulation of old issues.

The efforts in the department have subsequently become best-practice and other colleagues are copying the concept, gathering inspiration and ideas to change their daily work approach. Region Midt plans to roll out similar concepts to the rest of the organization.

Decrease in incidents

Do you want to learn more?

Harald Høi Andersen

Director
+45 70 27 77 19
Contact me