A leading U.S. telecommunications company followed a waterfall methodology for software development. The approach was neither flexible nor fast enough, and it bogged down the firm’s product development process.

The company engaged NTT DATA to take over its transition to agile. The NTT DATA analytics enablement experts introduced core agile priorities and gradually established changes to the client’s internal teams to ease adoption.

Business Needs

A nationwide telecommunications firm responsible for developing voice products for business customers took a traditional approach to software development — a linear, sequential process that broke down the development process into a series of phases, each of which needed to be completed before the next could begin.

But this waterfall approach often proved inflexible and not well-suited to the increasingly competitive and fast-moving telecom marketplace. With time to market for new products reaching 2.5 years on average — and delivery costs exceeding $2 million per product — a major overhaul of the unit’s product development process was badly needed.


33% reduction in the cost to bring a new product to market
  • Lowers time to market from an average of 2.5 years to less than six months
  • Improves delivery predictability and quality
  • Establishes a continuous learning environment
  • Increases organizational transparency and collaboration


NTT DATA was initially brought on board to advise on the unit’s agile transformation. The client had a fixed date to show that it was able to implement an Agile Release Train (ART). Missing that date wasn’t an option. So, when the original implementation partner failed to make progress, the client asked NTT DATA to take over.

NTT DATA led the client through an iterative approach to implementing an ART over four 12-week program increments (PIs).

PI 1 established the program foundation by training the ART leadership (business owners, stakeholders, product management and architects) in building good, Lean Agile Epics, Features and Lean Business Cases. This step also documented the Epic and Feature Lifecycle, prioritizing the work using Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF) prioritization.

The second PI focused on growing the teams and specialty roles such as scrum master and product owners. It specifically emphasized changing the mindsets of team members to empower them to deliver on identified priorities.

PI 3 ensured the alignment of the ART priorities by bringing downstream and other stakeholders into the planning stages of the Program Increment.

Lastly, PI 4 focused on identifying and removing the delays and roadblocks that were slowing down the ART at an organizational level.

Under NTT DATA’s leadership, the move to scaled agile enabled the company to re-invent the way it worked in teams — and as an organization — to bring new products to market.

The new approach reduced time to market from an average of 2.5 years to less than six months — and even as few as 45 days. It also scored the firm a 33% reduction in the cost of bringing a new product to market.

Because teams can pivot rapidly in response to changes in scope while still improving product quality and delivery predictability, the firm has strengthened trust in the marketplace and with internal stakeholders.

In addition to implementing centers of practice, NTT DATA provided a range of Scaled Agile certification courses to the client’s teams — from Lean Portfolio Management to SAFe Advanced Scrum Master.

The company increased its organizational transparency and collaboration by breaking down silos between product, development and operations teams as well as. Improved communications and status updates became more transparent.

The changes NTT DATA helped the firm implement increased collaboration between stakeholders and improved the spirit of cooperation between team members. As team confidence increased it engendered collective ownership and nurtured an environment of improved collaboration, innovation and continuous improvement.

About the case study

A U.S. telecommunications company adopts agile development, significantly lowering cost and time to market while boosting organizational transparency and collaboration.


Telecom, Media & Entertainment


United States

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