Delighting Vodafone Turkey’s Customers Via Agile Transformation


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Vodafone, headquartered in the UK, has excelled in its mobile communication services across over 30 countries and corporated with more than 50 mobile networks. The company ventured into Turkey in 2006, and investments rose to over 12 billion Turkish Liras (over SGD 3 billion). Since 2014, it was ranked the second largest telecommunication company within the country, serving more than 20 million subscribers. Vodafone Turkey now has over 43000 stakeholders, 3300 employees working at the 1200 retail outlets. It shall lead and influence Turkey’s digital transformation by boosting its mobile communication services locally and globally.

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Problem Statement

Vodafone had two main issues which are the extended time to market period and production quality not met up to standard. These two are critical issues that will cause obstruction of the competitive advantage to the company’s business.

There was a weak team collaboration as the testing phase was conducted only after the development phase, meaning any detected problems can only be rectified during the testing phase as there were little or no reviews and testing done after each project phase. In short, it could take a longer time for them to realise where the problem lies. The releasing phase will be done after satisfying all the project requirements. Moreover, the project requirements might change overtime during the development phase. Therefore, the development team might have to rework on the process and designs to achieve their project requirements. This resulted in a longer time to market period caused by project delays.

There were communication barriers between the IT team and business analysts as they were unclear of their common goals among themselves before commencing development. Hence, it would be too late for them to comprehend after the development phase had started. This led to customer complaints due to undeliverable requirements of the project and poor quality of production delivered.

Why adopt Agile Methodology?

The main drive to adopt Agile were to shorten T2M and further improve the quality of production in order to increase productivity. Agile Methodology has shown effective results in improvements of productivity in the market. It enables prioritizing of requirements based on risk and tracking of progress based on sprints by sprints. This helps the pilot team to observe improvements and progress of the production.

In order for the productivity to be enhanced, there were three main situations that were needed to be resolved. Firstly, because of the increasing market competition, the business side has higher demand expectations for the IT team. Secondly, T2M was pressured because of the unacceptably long duration to market period which was caused by the latency in waterfall silos between developers and testers. Lastly, the communication levels between analysts, developers and testers were weak due to lack of common goals and teamwork among them.


Vodafone’s had split their implementation plan into 3 different steps. Firstly, an experimental pilot step, where a pilot team will be formed to test out Agile methodology. Secondly, Scaling step, where more teams will be brought in to adopt agile. Lastly, Enterprise Adoption to help not only the IT organization within Vodafone to adopt agile, but other departments as well.

Pilot Step

At first, Vodafone wanted to experiment with adopting agile to look at the benefits and results before scaling up to a higher level. Through the support from management, in house experts were moved away from their projects on hand to form the bulk of the pilot team. Along with a dedicated Scrum Master and the Product Owner, Vodafone’s Scrum pilot team of seven, Team Cheetah was formed. The pilot team was to work on B Type1 business demands as a start. B Type1 business demands are projects that required 50 days or less of development work. The pilot team was located in a special meeting room reserved for them, and members were seated around the table. In order to encourage teamwork and transparency through communication and collaboration, the team adopted the Kaizen Approach. The team then went on to run bi-weekly sprints for 3 months.

What Went Well

The Pilot team was able to achieve significant results throughout the 3 months of sprints. With the practices implemented, the team developed strong communication and collaboration with each other, along with high dedication from each member and an overall enhanced work rhythm. This lead to faster deliveries. By doing task prioritization at the beginning of every sprint, the team knows what was needed to be done and had a higher confidence.

In terms of statistics, the team was able to finish 11 business requests and bring in millions of annual cost savings. They were able to produce 120 man days of work in only 40 days, more than doubled their sprint velocity. Stakeholders were satisfied with these results and supportive of further expansion of agile adoption.


When first assembling the pilot team, there were two problems that came up. First there was the issue of finding members with the appropriate skills to join the team as the suitable candidates had other projects they were currently working on. Through the support of management, the candidates involvement in the pilot team was prioritized and they pilot team was formed successfully. Secondly, there was a dilemma in which kind of projects the pilot team is most suited to work on first. After going through all the options, B type business demands was chosen due to a few reasons. B type business projects itself required 50 or less man days of development work. Also, due to an ongoing transformation project for the past year, a lot of the B type business projects were on hold, making these projects ideal to start on for the team.

Scaling Step

After the success of the pilot team, the support for Agile grew stronger and it was decided to increase the number of team adopting agile. This time around, the focus was on transforming the configuration management team. External Agile coaches guided and trained some of the team members with prospects of being scrum masters. Four teams of six to eight were formed from the members of the configuration management team. A newly formed department which handled business demands for online channels also joined in adopting agile, bringing the total number of scrum teams to six. The new teams were to focus on teamwork and transparency, similar to the pilot team. However, standardization was also added this time around to their focuses, in order to improve the quality of the work produced by these teams.

For Teamwork, teams used scrum practices such as co-location, daily stand up meetings, where members would share their progress and impediments, and committing to a sprint goal. These practices encouraged communication, raised morale and improved teamwork among the team members.

For Transparency, a number of common metrics were tracked. The metrics fell into 2 categories, Productivity Metrics and Quality Metrics. Productivity Metrics consists of Number of Delivered Business Demands, Sprint Velocity, Commitment vs Done Ratio and Emergent Demand Ration. Quality Metrics consists of Defect Rate and Customer Complaints. These metrics were shared with the stakeholders and members of the scrum team.

The number of teams were eventually increased to eight after improvements were seen in the teams. An Autonomous Unit, named Agile Solutions, was formed within Vodafone’s TR IT department. The team had three goals in mind, protecting and growing the agile culture without outside disturbance, building an experience centre with a body of knowledge and being the role model unit for agile adoption throughout the IT organization. Agile solutions itself was further split into two separate teams, each focusing on consumer side or enterprise side demands.

What Went Well

Similar to the pilot team, after adopting agile and scrum practices, teams were able to work better together, self-organize and higher dedication to the project. This resulted in two times the productivity before agile and scrum implementation. By doing performance metrics reports sharing, team and business units were more aware of the project status. Through the results of the original six teams, 2 teams were further added, resulting in the formation of the Agile Solution unit to handle the increasing size.


The first problem that came with the increased amount of teams was finding more dedicated members. In this case, testers were needed badly, but they were handling many different projects at once and were at the testing branch, away from the scrum teams, so some of the testers were moved to locations nearby the scrum teams. The second problem was the lack of trained Scrum Masters for each of the new teams. To solve this, external coaches were hired to work with the suitable candidates for being Scrum Masters and all Scrum team members attended a foundation level course for Scrum.

Enterprise Adoption

With both Pilot and Scaling steps proving to be successful, the next step was to implement agile transformation throughout the enterprise, with Agile Solutions being the role model. To achieve this, three key focus point to improve on within Agile Solutions were set out. The key focuses were Transparency, Communication and empowering the scrum masters.

Transparency Focus aimed to improve the team’s transparency to better align and communicate with business. The team moved the scrum boards from windows to wall for easier access. Business surveys were also conducted for customer complaints to get better insights on the problems customers are facing.

Communication focus is about enhancing communication and experience within teams and when working with business units for better alignment. This is done by sharing of status reports within teams and business units, along with frequent communication through various means.

Lastly, Scrum Masters have to improve their skills as they hold a key position in enabling a learning organization, starting with the team they are in. A special training program will be held in order to empower the scrum masters with these necessary skills.

Other than these focuses, Agile solutions themselves need to expand their skills and responsibilities. The team needs to expand their own skill set in order to lessen the need for external dependencies while ensuring the quality is the same or better. The team also needs to focus on automation and leading the IT organization, and the company in the future. The current goal is to be the sole handler of all Type B and C projects within the IT department.

Agile Solutions cannot carry the burden all by themselves, however, as agile adoption grows widespread throughout the company and other departments. In the future, there are plans to have a new separate team of internal and external coaches with goals parallel to the Agile Solutions team.

What Went Well

With Agile Solution at the forefront of Agile transformation, the team planned key areas of improvements for the team, and were able to work on, and achieve some of key focuses. Vodafone themselves also has plans set for the future, as more teams within the company starts to adopt agile. With goals for the Agile Solution to be able to adapt to the growing agile culture and solid plans to help the team ease the burden, Vodafone is on path to company wide agile adoption.


As the number of agile teams grew within the department, it became harder for Agile Solutions to handle the teams. Hence, they set goals of improvement for themselves to be able to tackle the oncoming growth. However, once agile is planned to be adopted by the rest of the company, it is predicted that Agile Solutions will not be able to cope with the large scale of teams. Vodafone counters this by having another internal team of coaches to aid the Agile Solutions team.


The Cheetah pilot team did not adopt any new engineering techniques when they adopted Scrum, as such improvements between the team are largely due to the adoption of Scrum, Teamwork and Transparency such as strong communication and collaboration among the team which resulted to a faster delivery.

The team had made significant cost saving and more productivity by implementing 11 business requests that projected to bring few millions of annual cost savings. By the end of first 3 months of transition, the team started to produce approximately 120 man/days of work request in its each sprint by spending only around 40 man/days. They also started with a sprint velocity of 75 points and have reached 180 points at the end.

Hence those significant cost saving and productivity, the stakeholder were satisfied with their results and supported for wider range of Agile transition where they completed in 3 steps (Pilot Agile, Scale Agile and Enterprise agile). At the end of each steps of Agile, new Scrum teams was formed with new focus areas to improve such as standardization was the additional focus area for the team to undergo.

Lesson Learnt

In this case study, Scrum adoption has helped the Cheetah team to improve in several areas such as teamwork, transparency, communication and efficiency. After preparing the case studies report, we have identified some of the key takeaway as our learning point which are the importance of teamwork and a strong support from the management.

As much as possible, team members should be physically working close together. This ensures everyone to be part of the discussion and no one is left out in the team. This also creates better communication between the team members.

Strong support from the management is crucial so that the team members know that the management sponsor are investing in them to support for the change. The team will then have positive mindset to work on the projects. Hence, the team was more productive.

Working with experts achieving positive results by practising Agile methodology approach in their companies allows a company to gain advices, guidance and support from them, which will help in reducing time to market period and enhancing quality to achieve business goals and objectives, as well as to boost customers satisfaction level. It requires much time and effort for a company to get used to agile transformation.

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