Man Efficient

Fortune 20 Retailer Unlocks Better Business Decisions with Data Visibility

April 15, 2024


The digital customer program for a top-20 US retailer faced a data dilemma. For every Program Increment, this business unit reported completion on over 100 features, but they could not tell their leadership how that work tracked against their strategic themes. After helping the retailer successfully adopt and scale Agile practices years before, they decided to partner with Praecipio once again to address their most recent business challenges. Our team leveraged Advanced Planning with Jira (formerly Advanced Roadmaps) to provide the foundation for connecting strategy to execution.


During annual planning, leadership provided the strategic themes for the year. These themes embodied the retailer’s strategic vision and straddled business unit verticals outside the digital customer program. Leadership wanted to see the work planned and tracked across the enterprise and how it rolled into the strategic themes. Because the digital customer program was considered the organization’s first movers, leadership tasked them with meeting this need within their program and determining scalability across the enterprise. 

Having adopted SAFe® as their framework, this business unit was organized into four Agile Release Trains (ARTs). Each ART had at least 12 teams led by a development VP who acted as both resource lead and enterprise architect. Program Increment (PI) Planning ceremonies brought all four ARTs together in the same building, had active participation from business leaders, and enabled each team to understand how to estimate and refine in Story Points. Throughout the ceremonies, they entered and refined all data in Jira Software for tracking once the first Sprint of the PI started. 

Praecipio’s initial discovery surfaced problems with current reporting structures. First, instead of using an API, they created a long, complicated JQL query to export the data for additional manipulation in Excel. Second, exporting data from their Jira Software instance was limited to 3000 issues and, on average, 10% of the data was missing from the exports. Third, the export, validation, manipulation, and reporting process averaged three business days, which set reporting almost a full week behind before starting the weekly process over again.


Praecipio addressed these problems initially by configuring Advanced Planning to handle the overall progress of the work across all Teams and Arts. Instead of exporting and losing data each week, all users could see the progress and schedule in real-time as the ARTs completed Stories and Features. 

This surfaced another issue almost immediately. While our client gained almost instantaneous visibility into the work planned and executed during the PI, they also discovered how misaligned the work was to both their Team Capacity and strategic themes. For example, on one ART, three of the teams consistently provided no estimates as part of the planning cycle. Hence, the planning capacity of the ART for future PIs was unpredictable. Unable to rely on historical capacity, the client could not determine the cut line for work in the PI and instead said, “We can do it all.” 

Each Team on each ART split capacity across all five strategic themes. While this is very common across other organizations, providing executive visibility becomes more challenging. Progress by theme meant Praecipio needed to split read-only Plans by theme instead of by ART. By providing this visibility to executives while maintaining the flexibility to view planning and progress by ART, Praecipio met both requirements at scale with the technology available. 


As a result, the digital customer program realized the following outcomes: 

  • Better visibility into their capacity: When committing to planned work for the PI, the organization was more confident in their ability to deliver the plan.
  • Clear prioritization: If work was not in service of the strategic themes, they evaluated it against its criticality for other categories such as technical debt, support, or keeping the lights on. If it was not in service of these, they shelved it. 
  • Faster delivery: On average, progress of Features against Themes increased by 10% within the first PI.
  • Fewer dependencies: Since work was aligned to strategic themes, dependencies across all teams decreased by 15%.

At Praecipio, we believe data without a purpose is just data. We can help increase your visibility into planned outcomes to drive greater business value at your organization. Reach out to our team and learn how we can work within your current technology stack to build a truly connected enterprise. 

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