Mylab decided to reorganise its operations by adopting a product and software development model that is based on the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®).
It combines the best aspects of Lean, Agile and DevOps methods. With the scalable framework, operations can easily be expanded in response to new requirements.
We commenced operations using the SAFe model last autumn. The line organisation remained the same, but we detached the operational organisation to form its own entity in the Solutions department.
Its basic element is using self-regulating, cross-functional development teams formed with experts from across different sectors. Experts can now develop their competence to cover larger tasks than before and share their knowledge within the team – as well as develop software functions all the way from basic requirements to completed products, Solutions Vice President Mikko Sipilä explains.
Even before implementing SAFe, the agile development team developing the My+ blood centre was close to operating along the lines of the framework’s model, where teams operate independently and autonomously according to Scrum principles. When products and software are developed in short intervals known as sprints, changing objectives can be met more quickly and easily, says Sipilä.
How does the change appear to customers?
Mylab’s product development proceeds iteratively on the release train in approximately three-month periods, which development teams divide into three-week sprints. The common objectives of the release train are distributed between teams who plan their actions independently. Teams have weekly discussions with each other about the progression of the sprint and dependencies between teams.
We are also adding automation practices from the DevOps model to our product development in order to speed up safe deliveries. They enable us to release new features in small batches, less obtrusively and more smoothly and continuously. It also improves overall product quality, says Sipilä.
Adopting the SAFe model has already shown significant benefits, even though everything did not always go quite as planned and some support tools were developed along the way. Still, lean principles have sharpened the continuous development.
Mylab’s story began towards the end of the 1980s, so the software developed by us have exceptionally long lifecycles and our customers often use sections of software hailing from different eras. We improve the functionality of software one piece at a time, and the SAFe model is very well suited to this. We prioritise new customer needs, and from now on, we can meet them and make necessary technological revisions faster.
Mylab is recruiting software experts for newly created diverse roles
We have created two completely new positions at Mylab. The Release Train Engineer (RTE), who directs the release train, is responsible for monitoring the progression of product development, for synchronising the work of different teams, and for developing SAFe practices, among other things. The RTE directs planning and organises regular planning meetings in line with the SAFe model. In addition to these tasks, the position includes some important distribution management responsibilities.
The other new job that Mylab has created during the change is the Competence Area Manager. The Competence Area Manager takes care of developing staff’s wellbeing and competencies, so that they can focus on customer-need-driven product development. The manager will also participate in development of the organisation’s job descriptions, roles and collaboration, as well as commercial cost-efficiency.
The majority of Mylab staff are software experts. Besides these members of staff, Mylab also employs professionals for products, requirements management, usability and testing. Mylab has a great need for new software experts, so we are always actively recruiting.
We have many different fields where you can develop and deepen your competence. We use all kinds of technologies, and program mobile and web applications, make device interfaces and integrations, and require members of staff with competence in software platforms.
Sipilä emphasises that at Mylab, people feel that the work they do matters. Mylab has recruited a number of new employees to fulfil customer needs, and our growth continues. Expansion to international markets is constantly creating opportunities both for new Mylab employees and for those who have worked with the company for a long while.
Patients receive care 24/7 and we have an important job serving healthcare and people’s wellbeing. Mylab offers people in the software sector diverse and interesting roles, so I highly recommend joining our ranks, Sipilä says.
Would you fit in as a member of our team? If you too are excited by agile methods and developing yourself and your work, please do come and have a look at our available positions and submit an application to join us!