Ammeon Solutions helps Agile Ways of Working Lift-Off at Airtel ATN

Airtel ATN Lean Start

Airtel ATN Lean Start

Airtel ATN is an independent supplier of data communication solutions for the aerospace industry. Airtel ATN has been active in the Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) since 1993 and is an international leader in the development of Data Link communications solutions. The company develops and implements Data Link equipment and test services. Airtel ATN celebrated 20 years in business in 2018.

Airtel-ATN develop complex software in a highly-regulated industry. The software must be delivered physically and in a controlled process. Aeronautical regulations require companies within the sector to have a high level of transparency around testing and documentation.

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Challenge

The existing planning, development, testing and deployment process was slow and unpredictable. Airtel ATNs Standard Operating Procedure was to treat each software delivery as an independent project, which moved through phases of development, verification, validation testing and deployment.

*This project was partly funded by Enterprise Ireland’s Lean Business Offer.

Moving from Project-Focussed to Product-Focussed with Continuous Delivery and Automation. Ammeon Consulting proposed that Airtel ATN change their approach for Software Development from project-focus company, to a product focus company. This would mean introducing Continuous Delivery, and Agile-Lean ways of working.

Ammeon proposed introducing an automated nightly builds and test cycles. This would to complement ongoing work to increase automated testing. A rapid build with a feedback loop would increase quality confidence and compliance. In addition to accelerating downstream activities, We proposed introducing Agile and Lean Startup techniques which would be used to prioritise effectively. We proposed a method of controlling scope and using Iterations to deliver faster, better, smarter. *We proposed structuring the work to qualify for an Enterprise Ireland Lean Start funding of up to 50%.

 

  • Ammeon facilitated Agile training in planning and prioritisation for new Agile Product Owners. This was to migrate product development from a series of projects to a continuous delivery cycle, with individual releases, reduction of cost to plan, development and release for each customer.

  • Airtel ATN engineers were given Continuous Delivery training and a pilot build of an Automation project was developed to facilitate automated testing. This will over time allow for further cost reductions and better predictability.

 

Actions:

  • Ammeon analysed Airtel ATNs processes, tools and people that were in place and produced a report with recommendations.

  • We introduced a BCG matrix, which identified low value, low growth products and services that can be made obsolete, and identified investment opportunities with high growth potential. Ammeon Consultants also introduced a Lean Canvas to allow new ideas and innovations be rapidly and inexpensively “sanity-checked” before pursuing.

 
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Results

A primary cost reduction was identifying that the existing software development process was resulting in bespoke software for each customer for each release. This has been replaced for some products by a dynamic agile backlog of work for each product that allows for greater re-use of shared services such as automated builds, testing and documentation. Product owners were trained in how to create and prioritise backlogs to prioritise valuable work.

AGDLS Product software can be built nightly instead of on an “ad hoc” once or twice a month on average. The framework and practices for automating other products was put in place.

Savings made

The reduction by introducing automated builds eliminated 5% of the cost through saving on an engineer’s time. This allow Airtel ATN to take on more projects and complete faster. For one product the annualised saving is €18,000.

Airtel ATN carried out a happiness survey of all staff members. Measured morale improved by 80% over the period. Negative feedback reduced by 75%.

We are extremely happy with the project. We are very happy with Ammeon Solutions. It has exceeded all of our expectations. We have seen improvements in more areas than we expected. We see this as the start of a long term relationship with Ammeon Solutions.
— Airtel ATN, COO,
Conor Lavelle