NHS Blood & Transplant Department Adopt the Agile Method
4 May, 2017

Part three of our co-production series discusses a successful case study where an agile development framework and co-production techniques were used within the healthcare sector to improve processes and minimise disruption when moving to new systems.

“Adopting SAFe has set in motion the skill development and mindset for successful organisational change even as we scale to new programs, release trains, and people”

– Gary Dawson, Assistant Director, Solutions Delivery.

The NHS Blood and Transplant department (NHSBT) is a joint England and Wales Special Health Authority service. They deliver blood supply and solid organs to to hospitals nationwide, which requires safeguarding, collecting, testing, processing and storage that contribute to saving countless lives each year. With an increased need for this service, NHSBT recognised that effective technology was crucial for delivering a safe service for patients. Replacing an ageing infrastructure, migrating to cloud-based technology and replacing critical operational applications was the goal. This required careful consideration with regards to choosing the most efficient way of working, since so many other agencies were interdependent on the current infrastructure and the transformation was of a complex nature.

Adopting a scaled agile framework would allow them to implement the required systematic changes with minimal impact on the existing culture.

The challenges:

  • NHSBT needed to improve business processes and supporting IT environment, realigning infrastructure to cloud based technology
  • The project would also evaluate current IT systems in line with organisational needs
  • NHSBT were challenged to incorporate new technical platforms and architecture with minimal risk to management – the threat of effects on the culture of the organisation

The results:

  • The teams involved worked collaboratively to introduce solutions and training so internal changes were manageable and everybody was working from the same page
  • Introduced SAFe – Scaled Agile Framework: hands-on software delivery
  • A two day workshop to managers explained SAFe
  • Management were given definitive roles within SAFe
  • Planning sessions were organised across the larger organisation to explain SAFe to all employees
  • Developed and worked effectively as a team and projects delivered on time
  • Early delivery of significant business benefits  
  • Skillset and mindset for successful organisational change

Bitjam recognise the ways in which these modern working methods are highly adaptable and efficient, and have been adopting them across many projects for some time now. One example of where we used co-production with a client to create a project that was delivered on time and to a high standard, was Logga – a system for communicating timetables, homework and student progress in collaboration with Sixth Form College. We ran a number of design workshops with the students and set up beta testing groups via Android and the Apple app store. Meeting with teachers and admin staff weekly also contributed to the success of the project, as regular progress was updated and we were all given the opportunity to “give and get”. Read our case study for more details here.
In summary, the adoption of co-production within an agile framework for working, when applied within the public sector has some proven powerful benefits for improving efficiency with the NHS. It’s encouraging to see that the healthcare sector are trying and testing new and better ways of working in order to ultimately improve the end experience for patients, whilst upholding a duty of care to NHS staff who are subject to a fast-paced and evolving environment and need extra support from management during projects and changing processes.