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Engineering Productivity Boost

"Have you tried not having that problem?"


9 months

What we did

We partnered with Agile consulting company Emergn to help increase the productivity of Vistaprint's engineering process.

In the course of this project, we ended up working with Vistaprint’s global executive team, marketing, and engineering teams to implement new strategies and streamline their process. We designed and coached a business exploration to deliver value early and often, which resulted in a concept-to-value delivery timeframe of six weeks instead of their standard nine months.

We also helped identify and train seven Vistaprint employees to be agile coaches, creating the internal capabilities needed to continue to grow and improve the use of agile frameworks for business outcomes.

How we did it

We performed an exploration to enable an initial team to select employees from anywhere within the company and identify the minimum possible number of people who needed to be involved in a product delivery. They came up with 34 employees, spanning all areas from customer service to manufacturing.

Deliver early and often
When we arrived at Vistaprint, their typical product release would take around 9 months. With the stripped down team of 34 employees, we helped them release a product within six weeks -- including the Christmas holidays. Why is this important? Because that release allowed them to make $95,000 a month of incremental revenue, 8 months earlier than they had expected. Every six weeks or less they could then release something else for additional revenue.

What we learned

“Have you tried not having that problem?”
The most frequently asked question that came up during this project was "How can we become a lot better at managing cross functional projects?" We like to examine why people have that problem in the first place: because they've set their team up to have the problem by how they structure their projects. Do simple projects first, become really good at them, and then maybe try more complex ones if you still need to.

Value, Flow, Quality.
We learned a lot about using the value flow quality education system and helped deploy it within different organizations across the company.

In aiming to optimize the end-to-end delivery to manufacturing, and customer service, this project gave the broader spectrum to work with that we often aim for but not always get exposed to. For example, making sure we were solving the right problems, we visited a manufacturing plant. This gave us more context to consider than our typical project, when looking at how to improve efficiency.

Engaging beyond the engagement
When we help an organization that sincerely seeks to improve their agile fluency, we have a chance to be part of their ongoing story and ambitions well after our contractual commitments. We also make a bunch of friends for whom we we care deeply and whose success we want to continue to support. Since our work at Vistaprint, we have stayed connected, visited onsite out of pocket, helped connect them to our friends at other clients and continue to create and share learning moments at a distance. Our Vistaprint friends check in often too, and no doubt we’ll be collaborating again soon. Since this work, we have also visited and collaborated with Emergn on three other projects and we are discussing the fourth one now.

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