TCS Enterprise Agile - Largest Transformation to Business Agility

The session is about the transformation of TCS - one of the world’s largest IT service provider’s talent and cultural transformation into an Enterprise Agile Organization thus providing best-in-class DevOps services to 550+ customers.


Mohammed Musthafa Soukath Ali

Head - TCS Strategic Initiative, Agile Practitioner, Author, TCS


Manikandan Balasubramanian

Enterprise Agile Coach, TATA Consultancy Services


Muhammad Tabrez

Agile Ninja Coach, DevOps Consultant, TATA Consultancy Services



Hi, I am Moham MUFA. I'm an author, an agile coach. I lead the agile and DevOps develop transformation for PCs. Today. We are gonna talk about it today. I have my colleagues money and Tabun with me. We are PCs. We are a very successful, uh, company. We offer it services and business solutions for many customers. It's a successful company and you can see from the revenue graph of pieces for last two, that it delivered outstanding increment only year on year. And we are a large company with half a million employees on its payroll and how TCS is very successful. It always ho scans the horizon for NH and be prepared to embrace the change. In 2017, PCSR agile develops, pulled from the industry. It knew that it had to be prepared, but there are three specific, uh, problems. Number one is thesis had legacy roads, almost 140 number of legacy projects. Only 10 percentage was <inaudible> rest of them bad. The mass portion is not it's internal processes though. Their agility was better than the competition. It was not matching with its growth aspiration further researched on AJ and found out that most of the organization in the industry, they applied AJ and develops within the it department, especially for application development projects, not even for maintenance. It knew that the potential for agile is not at a project level beyond to it. And even beyond to the enterprise, uh, level,


Uh, most of our hold on, uh, what is enterprise agile mu?


So, uh, our CEO declared that we have to begin enterprise agile company in 2070, and we had the same question, uh, money organization had that. What meant to us as a company, whatever we do, not just the it alone, not just the it project alone, but the principles of agile DevOps must be applied. Their philosophy is so amicable to any work that we do, right from marketing to sales research, to production and compliance and, uh, whatnot. That is enterprise. So that's a bot that we


So considering most of our, we have half a million employees. Was it even possible?


Yeah. Uh, so it was just a portion of <inaudible>. It was not a joke, half a million employees. We had upgrade. We also had to upgrade our infrastructure from non-collaborative non-op non workplace to, uh, very, very, you know, develop facilitating workplace. We had to transform our service delivery projects. Remember 10% only usage. So doing all of this within three, uh, years was definitely a challenge, but we went at it, but the challenge, uh, at that point to us, we have this vision and the, uh, uh, dimensions. How do we move forward? There were two choice spots. One is the world way of working phase Gator delivering to value mission. The second one is DevOps way of, uh, working, eat our own medicine, right? Uh, apply you to daily initiat DevOps initiating itself flow feedback, continued experiment. So we had to take, uh, decision here.


So what, what does vanity measures here mean? So


Let let's assume that we have taken the world <inaudible> to do this work. We were taken all of this dimensions together, right? Workforce workplace, all of them together. And we would've done a new, huge data crunching analysis across the company. We've done a huge planning for all of them together and it'll move through those face gates analysis, planning, design, and every stage when we cross, we will mark that we are 20 percentage complete, but realistically we have not created a single value for anybody. Nobody has consumed outcome that is still an analysis. This increase. So delivering to this 20% complete 15% complete is a risk, but we chose that there was three 14 where we looked at, uh, our appetite workforce of place. And then we looked at what is that minimal thing that we can do, so that can be end to end and it can create value.


So we narrow down to an aspect called, uh, role transformation because we had upgrade, remember one $14. And within that, we looked at the most written role, which was manual testers. We had 7,000 nano testers on our payroll. We knew that they were nots in the digital develop mode. And, uh, where are they? Most of them are in north American region and they're in the <inaudible> assurance. So go to smallest level, pick up this non-value adding role and then work on it to upgrade, right? So the first part is flow. Second part is feedback, apply them, upgrade them on the ground and deploy them to project and see the improvement there. Um, the listen to the feedback, then eventually what kinda value they're bringing back, right? Uh, is the, uh, customer satisfaction improving? Are they doing better than how they were, uh, doing earlier? So that's the continuable, uh, experimentation and that pivot team. So overall, uh, we were able to do this minimal viable product of upgrading or manual testers to quality ins just within informants. We had moved them up, uh, near career, as well as what PCs to be, uh, future foot in terms of its


Most of what are the other MVP. Uh, we did


This gave a lot of confidence to us, uh, money that first me then, uh, we knew that there were other roles that we had work on. We took up, uh, roles such as project managers, uh, middleware, uh, developers, and upgraded them to, uh, modern future fit roles. Those were our, uh, subsequent, uh, MES,


Uh, Mr. Every organization does roles transformation, but it not necessarily means maturity in agile way of working culture change is critical.


This was a huge learning for us too. Uh, we thought that the role upgrade will, uh, bring agile behavior. <laugh> it didn't, uh, example is that quality engineers were thinking that they will collaborate with the developers and they'll prevent the different, uh, but they didn't right. They were still thinking the mass separate QA team, they're waiting for the development to complete capture the defect and so on and so forth. So we knew they had to be J their behavior should be changed. So we, we brought games, right? Agile games, DevOps games, many people don't. We also send them to external certifications, but none of them work. Then finally we, uh, found out our own external vehicle called living agile, where every employee has to take two days, three days real project and, uh, work hard to create value. If they didn't have agile behavior, DevOps behavior, they'll not be able to create value.


So they'll be told about an assessment. So if you look at the entire, uh, process, right, uh, first we assess them on their current behavior. For example, you know, are they still bringing the world hierarchy based mentality, et cetera. Uh, then, uh, we, uh, allow them to take, uh, two day, three day project in the project. Coaches facilitate them to see the non non behavior and they retro, they change it. So the end of the three day, most of them actually understand an, that, uh, behavior. So that'll come out late. So suppose they were, uh, not getting that behavior. One second. They have repeat the project. One example of a project that we have done is part one Indian state called west Spinall where, uh, the government asked for us beach safety app, a Printy of people who visited the beach. Sometimes they get into and they had let the guard know, so they wanted a safety up.


So we let the employees through a living agile three day project to develop, uh, the, uh, mobile lab safety up on the third day morning. The team actually rolled it out in front of the features. So that's an example of real projects, not a game, it's not just a training so real time. And most, most times you may fail also if you is not changing. So that's, uh, fantastic mechanism. So all, if you notice now, uh, we have this, um, computer roles, as well as we have the agile drained, uh, uh, associates with that actual agile mindset. So we are able to move from 114 legacy roles company to a seven roles company, and we create a world largest <inaudible> workforce in that process, they improve the productivity for, but yeah, noticeable, uh, margin. That's why we have, uh, done, uh, as respect to that, uh, people part,


But still, uh, <inaudible> uh, half a million employees, uh, cannot sit in the same room, right? They have to be distributed. Uh, was that a challenge?


Yeah. PCs, uh, by its business model is very distributed. Many of our customers are. So when we, uh, applied, uh, agile DevOps initially, uh, know if you are distributed between lets say, India and us, uh, for you to participate in the daily scrum, if you are, uh, in, uh, different time zone, then you have to come in a graveyard shift, right. Non office and participate. Initially they did it out of interest, but it didn't last rubber, bad effect. They came back, uh, to the, you know, I'm not going to make up, right. I'm not come in the <inaudible>. So we knew location was a constraint. Uh, we had to figure out, uh, to ask for face to face communication. So we came up, uh, with a model called three for five, three, uh, models, four enablers, five principles. See the first of all, you had to find out which time zone that your team is distributed.


If it is one hour, uh, like, you know, India and Singapore, then probably you are, uh, uh, em, one model, uh, you need some enablers, but if you on opposite geography, six hours plus times of difference, you are M three model, for example, uh, between APAC and, uh, Euro, right? Large, the time zone, uh, difference. And you need four enablers product request, two, four M three requests, four, one example of enablers product, uh, Warner role. Uh, if you are in the opposite time zone, the other time zone, people may need the duplication of the product Warner role. So you have to create a product specialist, you have to create sales provision infrastructure so that every member in a project in feel first class, they can, uh, trigger the build. They can set up the data by themselves so that it's on cloud it's available, uh, not just like the self permission. So these are some of the enablers overall. We are able to improve the productivity of our, uh, uh, location, depend teams, as good as colo teams, some cases it went even, uh, beyond that.


Uh, Mr. Far digital sounds interesting. I understand different digital tools to enable this. So what kind of investments you made?


So we, uh, the digital routine is part of the collaboration infrastructure money, um, see, uh, for you to be really location independent, you will be able to log in from the device of your choice, from the place of your choice and the time zone of your choice. So the answer was give them collaborative infrastructure and the brand name teachers had for that was work on agile collaborative workspace, which allows people to, into digital routine. So you have this, uh, conversational tools between the employees. They have the working model set up so that they know when to join and they can sense ABOs. So that digital routine for them is set up very nicely to collaborative, uh, workspace


Place of your choice. Uh, I mean, device of your choice, how is it possible, Mr.


So, uh, you know, a lot of are IP, uh, Riso. I can't reveal much, but I would say this. So we gave employees, uh, seven options to do that right from the place of us choice to securely, uh, relatably connect to the workspace. So this actually came in very handy, uh, later. So over, if you look at it now, we were, we enable the people in skills, roles, uh, methods and tools. Now we have thousands of projects across the company. Uh, T is a CMMA, uh, compliant company, which means we need to maintain the quality baseline. Uh, we should know where you are in terms of your maturity. So we picked up 21 high impact practices. There are around 150 plus agile DevOps practices. Uh, we can apply all of them, but, uh, you know, to be very practical, we are picked up those that are having high investment.


We put them in three buckets, basic, uh, standard advance. Basic means you have come to with a three day like daily standard standard means you have irate and then demo value. Every integration that's standard, right? So we, we sort of gave the template to the people, uh, to the project teams. So they're able to assess themselves and then move from one stage in next stage for a large organization. This kind of guidelines is very, very necessary. You have to make your definition black and white and then get them across. So we, uh, move many of, uh, these projects, uh, uh, from the basic maturity advanced, uh, maturity.


Um, most of far, initially you said 10% of the projects were agile in 2017. So how many, uh, projects as in percentage of projects, you moved into HL now


Thousands 700, we right. Thousand projects we have, and these are not just mechanical J practices, applying projects, they brought lot of, uh, business outcome, uh, pathway one example here is the first one on the screen, uh, that is a capital good electronic equipment manufacturer. Their shipment and pay got improved because they brought in DevOps, uh, feedback flow and improvement along with other practices. So what was, uh, you know, less than satisfactory fulfillment rate, 68 percentage got improved, almost close to a hundred percentage, uh, when the applied. So we got documented 3,400 business outcome for many of projects. Uh, we also contact, uh, Liva conference location depend conference. So this is from 2019 li conference where you can see the thesis, employees and customers brought back application of DevOps and AJ multiple types of situations as,


So you talked about, uh, people process Mr. Far. What about, uh, technology


Technology? We in, uh, when I talked about the work on agile collaborative workspace, uh, as well as re sales provisioning in the location in model sales provisioning means it'll require you to have your infrastructure on the cloud. It'll require applications to be self contained in terms of, uh, microservices and APA. So that is one part, right? All that, uh, technical practices and, uh, infrastructure. We also gave them conversational, uh, tools for collaboration that is also technical, but we, uh, see we're still stuck with 6,000 projects, right? Still thousands of projects are not. When we, when we researched them, we found out that a company like DCS are a similar company. It still has this Bama work, uh, done with this space called, uh, operations. You keep doing the same thing again and again, repeatedly application maintenance or business operations, right back office work. So that we found out that a lot of manual hours of spent times.


So we introduced, we told that, you know, uh, previous manner should be spent on improving the way that you do then doing the work right, doing the work should be done by the machine, should be given a frustrated of revision on that. But their answer was, we are very busy. We don't have time. So we had to help them out by providing a dual operating model, call that a cognitive <inaudible>, uh, the dual operating model part of your day will be spent on, uh, the doing the work repeatedly. You are still doing it, uh, by humans. It's okay. But to step back for a portion of your time, right? One hour, every day, for example, and max is the value through machines, right? You think about what are the projects that I can run to improve the technology, agility of the work that you do bring automation, uh, large company like this.


I told her we had a different everything, black and, uh, white it be abstract. Uh, people have to be told where there, where they have to go and they have to provide tools also in this case. So it is still abstract, right? So we brought in, uh, specificity there. We defined a roadmap, uh, from basic standard advanced to based in class. So people are aware and doing this work repeatedly operations type, that means that you are not using, you are not having any technology agility, uh, right. You may wanna start with mirror automation, probably automation of your test cases, automation of your emailings. Then you go for a purpose driven automation, then to end the processing on automat, that would be the standard. And, uh, we also get a tool, uh, where, uh, it'll, uh, scan your project information, customer feedback, your performance, and such as you are at this stage currently.


And you can go to the next stage if you do 1, 2, 3. So it became a very, uh, specific exercise. And this was not just a mechanics, right? Uh, cognitive dose. We saw very close correlation between their maturity to the business outcome, a types of outcome. If they only applied point automation, they were looking at team level outcome, right? Sprint automation say to ratio if a containment, so on and so forth, but who applied the best in class, highest level of cognitive <inaudible> maturity, they were able to see organization-wide, uh, outcome, uh, NPS improvement, uh, sales, uh, turnover, innovation, uh, portion, so on and so forth. So that's the technology agility that we brought, uh, uh, to the, uh, place. Uh, the,


So, um, <inaudible>, uh, you have done people transformation, uh, largest workforce, and you have done workplace transformation, projects transformed, um, agile, uh, devs been brought in. So you, a transformation is done, right?


So I wish, uh, it was like that <laugh>, it was massive transformation money. So we still have this, uh, it services done, business solutions done, but there is still this huge, uh, part of the organization, enablement function. For example, the people who are building the facility, maintain the facilities for PCs. They came in, told, uh, see for software, we can understand the concept of MEP, minimal product. We are building a facility, we are maintaining it. What does it mean for us? Uh, people like sales, they told this, uh, dedicated cross-functional sales team. You want dedication, we cannot dedicate. That's not a practical model for us. At one point in time, we will be, we'll be, uh, uh, set of pursuing different leads. So for each of them, you have to figure out, uh, what is agile for right end of that, we're able to create a largest collection of a J of working for each of them, with the documented <inaudible> you, we call the framework as a agile for everything. This are for everything converter, fantastic agile company, overall, the value stream from the research, uh, till, uh, you know, the, uh, retirement of our assets, sun all became, uh, a J this, a complex, uh, slide. So let's, let's move on.


No, no, most of hold on. Just you yourself mentioned that it's a complex slide. You can just explain, uh,


The first one, uh, the, the first one is, uh, the census value research, sot research and innovation. Before the stands innovation, they will take, uh, many months, years to file, uh, patent by applying agile, they were able to reduce it 10 months, 2019 as we speak. I know of many efforts, uh, where we applied patent to four months. That's an example. Similarly, the way that we hire from college, we have increased our, uh, reach and the cycle game of onboarding an employee. So overall, if you notice that AJ for everything, uh, brought internal agility, uh, for example, uh, an associate, uh, uh, who gets, uh, hired in the college, uh, they will be trained when they're in the college. You have shift, left their training back into the college, which means when they join S their job ready on the day they join, they will have a laptop ready on the day they join. The project will be mad. So it, it is actually the flow that happens ever since they got onboarded into, uh, TCS overall, this internals allow TCS to, uh, help, uh, to transition, to working from home, uh, set up just within, uh, you know, few weeks, half a million employees, their customers, all the work input, the mission to take work. They all T because put the mission critical work, they are transformed because of the internal agility.


I now understand most of other, the seven options. You mentioned


Connecting earlier place of choice and waste of choice. Yes.


Yeah, that's good.


Yeah. Uh, most of agile for everything is interesting. And, uh, the internal agility, which you achieve, uh, did you take, uh, agile beyond the company?


<laugh>, it's a dangerous thing to say for everything, but we did that right. Many of us apply agile for Robert one post things, families and whatnot, uh, in the we show, uh, where, uh, thesis associates took adopted an Italy restaurant in, uh, NoDa Delly, uh, which was having lot potential, but the customer base was not so great. Sales was not so great. So TCS team helped them to follow a, working, to improve, uh, their status quo. Uh, they conducted a Del scrum. They set up listening post for a customer. They act around the, the feedback they improve the flow of value to customer, right? So within a few weeks, their sales improved by 23%. This is just one case. We have done many such work for a social work. Of course, for everything was applied for managing outside the company too manage. So


How did you do the change management? I mean, any specific framework being followed?


It was a problem, right? UHT is a company within a company, complex, diverse. Uh, we try many things like John quarter model, many of them, but we had to figure out our own way. We call that as a neighborhood model. I will explain that traditionally, uh, you will, uh, form a transformation team at the top and there be levels we needed, right? So you will, uh, pass on, uh, the information and the change direction to them. They will deploy somewhere that sound very hierarchical against a self principal that we teach. So we, uh, went with the network model in which neighborhood be I, uh, so each teachers, student, we founded a self-contained transformation unit, uh, as a self-contained transformation team within the unit. And they were connected if they load, they were connected to action centers, uh, called neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is an expert center, uh, for a specific vertical location neighborhood, right? So the whole information flow knowledge flow deployment flow got decentralized. So any point in time, there are 14 neighborhoods that disseminate the requirement that disseminate the guidance, and then the whole democratization of the flow allowed us to scale a lot better.


Uh, most of our 14 neighborhoods, can you please throw some light on it?


Yeah. So, as I told each of the neighborhood is, uh, staffed, uh, by people who are on the good working for the customer, but they're experts. There is the cops, right? There is a neighborhood, uh, who is top notch talent on this field. They would also be part of the <inaudible> neighborhood of PCs. And I might be just a junior thesis, right. Working in a project. And, uh, I know of the maturity that I have to go through from basic too based in class. I have question I want help. I can start away in a touch base with these case. There is a central mechanism, it's more of a distributed mechanism. So as a junior, I get the top talent access immediately. Similarly, there are other 13 neighborhoods, uh, that, uh, do a fantastic <inaudible> democratizing the information and knowledge, making this as a fantastic, uh, scaling out, uh, model,


Most of having half a million, uh, employees. Uh, I mean, how do you measure the overall progress?


It was an ask, uh, <inaudible> very light overall. What do you mean where are, uh, we had to answer the board. We had to answer analyst. We had to answer such if, uh, um, offices. So overall we need to know where you are. So we found out that after <inaudible> of course, um, my method called a measurement called agility debt, right? Uh, it actually indicates burden. A company carries in terms of agility, heavier burden. Your agility will be actually poor. It is similar to a measurement like a blood pressure, right. You know, what is ideal and very hard to go. So here, ideal measurement of our, it is zero. You should not carry any burden at all. If we carry a nano or force, it is a burden, right? So we calculate this number at a project level, looking at the people, process, infrastructure, technical agility, we get a single number. It can be aggregated all the way to intake, uh, as has 0.2 for agility. Uh, and you can also see that can be decomposed business event all the way down to project, right? Any point in time, anybody can have easy conversation about where you are in terms of your agility. This is not, uh, uh, measurement to scale people away, uh, force the complaints, but at least makes the real, uh, situation on the ground. Very transparent. So you can act on it. Right.


Um, Mr. Point for agility date, um, what does it mean in a lay term?


Uh, very simple to understand money 0.24, uh, minus 1.7, 6 76, percentage of the work that we do in PS E subject lesser better 0.2, four, zero hundred percentage of work that we do is <inaudible>. So it is a measurement like that money. So moving on the agility that compared with the growth of our customer, right, who enjoyed a better agility, right? Goes to zero point to 1.2, et cetera. They, they, uh, grow for the most purpose better, who is at the lower end of the spectrum. Uh, they were not growing better. Uh, many of them are traditional companies too, because of some, uh, you know, D reasons they were able to survey, but otherwise, uh, they had problem. And we also looked at, uh, the feedback from insight. We collect the customer satisfaction index on the project. We noticed year on year for four years. The customer satisfaction on agile project is always one notable than they have know <inaudible> that also reinforced our belief that AJ practices really work further business agility and customer satisfaction.


So it makes sense. So, so far I really understand the overall transformation. I mean, you've got the one line from the CEO, no one line, and then <laugh>, uh, then you use the DevOps of working for the entire transformation, and I hope you're getting some good recognitions.


Absolutely. So we got out of recognition. Uh, we were placed into leadership Quran by many analysts. Uh, we got few patent. Some of them are grant. We also want many of us. So, so the summary of the stories, uh, lot of legacy roles that was a company 2017, but when we ended multiple thousands of agile teams with seven, uh, lean agile DevOps legacy portfolio of 10 percentage agile only projects, that right revenue has improved four time stock. Uh, so that, uh, you know, we are mention right, 76% is the, of the work that we do and the internal processes. Also, we were able to improve the overall business objective, but the journey is not gonna stop. So I know companies are thinking that, uh, you know, we are done with our work. We are not definitely done with our work as we speak. Uh, we are doing a huge operating model change at a thesis level.


Perhaps in another session, we can explain that this is about how do you move from a current geography, vertical based structure to a customer curator journey of incubation growth and transplant. Uh, this is a huge topic by itself, but the point is that thesis is very committed. The, we have tasted it, our customers have tasted it. We will continue to refine it. Now it takes us, uh, to the point about, you know, what help that we need. Uh, see what we done so far is a great work. We are very, very, uh, proud of it, our, of us. And you wanna share it right? If you are in a similar stage, uh, you want some help, we can share this knowledge. The second one is we are also trying to specialize in some of the, uh, areas where the solutions are. Not that completely it, for example, how do you measure business, uh, value? How do you write, uh, agile contract? Right. So there are, uh, maybe ask where we are researching on, if somebody's, uh, doing some great work here via advanced stage, we would like to learn from them. So that's what we wanna ask. All right. So thank you so much. Thanks money. And for accompanying, uh, uh, the stock. Uh, thank you all. Thank you. Thank you everyone.