Sketch helps the State of Nebraska’s development team adopt modern methods to deliver customer value better and faster

The State of Nebraska’s software development team was tired of following a frustrating process and falling short in the eyes of its customers. They came to Sketch in hopes that training centered on Agile concepts and modern best practices would unite their team and help them ensure high-quality software was delivered to the delight of their customers.

The team had been using a traditional Waterfall method of software development for quite some time and were meeting with customers up front to gather input, but lengthy week- or month-long feedback loops and misperceived client needs resulted in wasted effort. In some cases, work needed to be redone or entire sections of code needed to be scrapped, and in other cases they would find themselves building entirely new features based on input that should have been captured the first time around.

“This would go on for a couple of months as we worked and showed off our progress, until we finally completed the project,” said State of Nebraska’s lead developer, Caleb Wederquist. “In many instances the solution would not meet their needs, would be past due and over budget.”

Sketch sent in a highly experienced training facilitator with real, in-the-trenches knowledge to introduce Agile concepts to the State of Nebraska’s software development team. Wederquist noticed an impact within just a few weeks of training that still carries on today.

“It was a complete change to how we thought about our daily processes and how we carried out our work individually and as a team,” he said. “It required change on our part and coaching to help us shift our mindset, but ultimately it continues to make us a better team, one that gets work done faster and actually provides customer satisfaction.”

Wederquist declared that the chaos his team used to experience has been replaced by a methodology that emphasizes collaboration, order and the clear delivery of customer value.

“We now have product owners who work directly with the customer on their projects, checking in every week or two to make sure everything is where it should be and demonstrating what has been built to the customer every sprint,” he said. “Every day you and your team know what you will be working on, what hurdles you have encountered, and you where you want to be tomorrow. Within just a few days of a sprint, the whole team has an idea of how things are turning out and whether you are going to hit your goal.”

The State of Nebraska’s product owners now work more closely with the developers to ensure customer needs are being satisfied and changes are made earlier in the process. They are also finding great value in utilizing a scrum master to organize the team meetings, regularly identify and alleviate barriers, facilitate ceremonies and plan against realistic goals.

“We are now getting projects completed on time, under budget and delivering solutions that meet or exceed the customer’s expectations,” said Wederquist. “Every day I see the benefits from working in an Agile team. I see the excitement we get from completing an initiative and planning the next one. And every few months, we embrace a new change that helps us perform better and faster work.”

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