“Storyteller had the most robust toolset from a product management perspective, other tools could do what we wanted/were trying to accomplish, but they didn’t start from the project management perspective. Storyteller helped us start from the right place.”
Founded in 2003, Lexipol provides defensible policies and training for public safety organizations delivering their services through their web-based development system. Lexipol offers state-specific policy manuals, regular policy updates and daily scenario-based training against policy. The company is headquartered in Frisco, Texas.
“If we hadn’t decided to use Storyteller, then we’d likely still be in the same position we were before – constantly wasting time and money on rework. Now, a year later, our teams are more aligned than ever, and producing products that not only meet the requirements, but also meet our milestones.”
- Missing/incomplete requirements
- Manual, time consuming processes
- Lack of traceability
- Costly late-stage rework
- Inconsistent and late delivery
- Missed timelines and budget
- Frustration and misalignment between teams
Prior to implementing Storyteller, Lexipol was using a classic Product Requirements Document to define the requirements of upcoming development activities. Acting as little more than a formalized description of what should be built, the Product Requirements Document often did not fully describe the product or requirements that development was being asked to fulfill.
Once Product Management passed along the Product Requirements Document to development, Developers were left to manually translate the document into stories in Jira, which was not only time consuming, but created significant problems because important details not included in the requirements document would be missed about 30-40% of the time, causing missed requirements in the delivery and product delivery delays.
Even more than this, because the requirements were missing important details, development was frequently left to interpret the details and make product decisions that resulted in missed requirements. Due to the development team beginning construction without enough details, the product being built was frequently misaligned with business goals and therefore had to be refactored late in the development cycle.
Before Blueprint, Lexipol was already beginning to consider a change to enterprise-scale agile. Their sprint cycles varied from weekly to biweekly, but the process of developing new features took much longer – releases scheduled to be completed within 4 months could sometimes take up to 9 months to complete. Additionally, because there was no traceability between the requirements document and the stories developed in Jira, it was challenging to know when the development work was actually completed.
Upon recognizing these costly challenges, Lexipol was determined to find a tool that would help them better define their processes and the business requirements of the solutions they were developing, easily generate high-quality user stories, and integrate and trace this information bi-directionally with Jira.
They knew that to solve their biggest issues, which was misalignment, they needed a tool that would support the product manager with defining features and user processes (from the user perspective) so that development teams could easily understand what was needed and required. The tool also needed to be bi-directional and integrate with Jira so that, if a change were to happen in either Jira or the tool, both platforms should be automatically updated and kept in-sync so that no requirements would be missed.
By looking at reports by Forrester, and Gartner, Lexipol knew that Storyteller was a best-in-class solution that could effectively address their needs. They evaluated other tools such as VersionOne and Rally, among others, but realized that Storyteller offered the most robust toolset and would solve the challenges they were facing, from the right perspective.
Currently, Lexipol is using Storyteller to define user processes with mock-ups, providing a significantly higher level of detail than was previously done, and then auto-generate user stories from this information. Product managers are now able to accurately define product requirements and processes and sort them into the right statuses in the right hierarchy level so that they can seamlessly sync to Jira. This ensures they can go through the proper reviewal processes, which allows the developers the opportunity to ask questions for clarification. This process has enabled Lexipol’s teams to provide greater detail and gain a better understanding of how long it will take for a release to be completed, thus making their sprints and storypoint allocations more effective.
Some of the main Storyteller features that Lexipol has identified as being the most instrumental in achieving enterprise-scale agile product development are:
- Visual Solution Models
- Automated User Story Generation
- Ability to define business rules and making them traceable
- Ability to define non-functional requirements and making them traceable
- Reviews and approvals have significantly reduced time spent on rework
- Bi-directional integration with Jira
Since implementing Storyteller, the development team now receives 90% of their information they need through the auto-generated user stories created in Storyteller, with the remaining 10% of information provided through a formal review and approval process. With Storyteller, Lexipol has significantly decreased the number of missed requirements, and because of this they now spend almost no time on rework. As a result, they are consistently meeting project milestones and delivery expectations.
The review and approval process in Storyteller also helps provide additional context to all stakeholders; uncovering questions and misinterpretation prior to development. This process ensures that all parties (product management and development) have signed off on the work prior to moving on to the next stage of development. Since the implementation of this formal process, Lexipol has seen greater alignment between business goals and development deliverables.
Storyteller provides a forum and centralized system of record to capture collaboration discussions and any changes to artifacts that have been or need to be made, and automatically traces relationships between artifacts as well as back to the original requirements. Users can view these relationships through an Impact Analysis to understand how any change that is made may impact downstream deliverables. This promotes ongoing feedback, enabling our stakeholders to manage changes as they occur.
In summary, the improvements that Lexipol has achieved through their use of Storyteller include:
- A virtual elimination of missed requirements
- A dramatic reduction in rework – now there is almost zero rework needed
- The ability to consistently deliver sprints within the planned timelines, and more efficiently
- Increase in collaboration and alignment between teams, leading to greater innovation
To learn more about Blueprint, please contact us.