Improving Organizational Capabilities

Improving Organizational Capabilities

Gambro is a global medical technology company and a leader in developing, manufacturing, and supplying products and therapies for blood treatment. The Research and Development (R&D) organization of Gambro Dasco in Medolla, Italy designs software and systems for extracorporeal therapy.

The Challenge

Gambro Medolla’s R&D organization was experiencing rapid growth of its project portfolio; the increased number of concurrent projects demanded an increase in its governance practices. The R&D managers needed to maintain development efficiency and product quality while supporting a significantly more complex organizational scenario.

Gianni Basaglia, the head of Gambro Medolla’s R&D software engineering department, had already conducted a disciplined two year improvement effort within the organization. At the conclusion of this, Gianni wanted an independent analysis of the changes and a plan for the next two years.

Late in 2009, Gianni selected Construx after a careful scrutiny of potential partners. He was looking for world class support to expand the thinking and explore further options for improvement. He wanted to understand if there were changes he could make that would increase the operating efficiency of his team while taking the opportunity to instil a continuous improvement culture in his teams.

How Construx Helped

Construx conducted a structured and progressive assessment of Software Engineering practices following the approach agreed upon with Gambro Medolla. The first activity was the assessment of Gambro Medolla’s current development metrics and key process indicators (KPIs) for software. This was followed by an assessment of the entire development process, focused on identifying efficiency improvements. The assessment included a benchmark of Gambro Medolla’s capabilities against others in similar industries.

As part of the Benchmark, Construx ranked Gambro Medolla’s R&D organization in the following Ten Construx Knowledge Areas (CKAs).

  • Software Engineering Technology
 
  • Software Engineering Management
 
  • Software Design
 
  • Software Construction
 
  • Software Engineering Process
 
  • Software Configuration Management
 
  • Software Maintenance
 
  • Software Quality
 
  • Software Requirements
 
  • Software Testing
 

These knowledge areas are based on the IEEE Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK), the Project Management Institute Project Manager Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), IEEE Standards, the Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model (CMM), Construx’s consulting, training, and development experience, and other industry sources.

Over the course of the next 18 months, Gambro Medolla’s management and technical staff worked together to implement numerous software engineering best practice changes, including increased automation, improved quality practices, and customized tools to support the revised processes.

Throughout the relationship, Gambro Medolla staff attended Construx's best practices seminars to learn more about how to support organizational change. Construx also provided technical reviews of Gambro’s products and worked with Gambro to identify design and codebase changes needed to achieve its goals.

In late 2011, Construx conducted a re-benchmark to review the changes Gambro Medolla had made, offer recommendations for continued improvement, and provide an updated software practices ranking.

End Result

In 2011, Construx re-assessed Gambro Medolla and found that significant improvements had been made. This was reflected in the benchmark score. In 2009, Gambro Medolla was rated as a five. In 2011, the changes Gambro Medolla had made gave it a benchmark score of six.

Industry data, Construx’s work with clients, and our Software Engineering Benchmark data show that average common practice is closer to worst practice. This is reflected in the fact that the most frequent benchmark score is a four. Within regulated industries, the state of the practices is typically higher—with scores ranging from four to six.Gambro Medolla’s score of six places it at the top end of our Software Engineering Benchmark scores. It is among the best of the regulated companies that Construx has rated.

Gianni Basaglia stated “Our collaboration with Construx created the basis for a continuous improvement mindset. We have executed and measured improvements in many areas, one of which is operational efficiency.One example is the introduction of daily builds that completely remove inefficiencies due to defective work streams. Another example is the introduction of an optimized building process, which reduces the time required to produce a production build from 60 minutes to 19 minutes.

We have invested in automation of our manual recurrent processes, thus reinvesting quality time in higher-value activities. One automation experience helped us to reproduce and deeply analyze a rare and random defect that otherwise would have been very difficult to confirm. The outcome of the analysis helped us to significantly reduce the defect occurrence in the field, with the outlook to completely remove it by the end of the year.

The list of improvements is longer than that, but in my view the major achievement of our collaboration with Construx is the cultural investment that leads our engineers towards a more rigorous and professional understanding of the software engineering disciplines.

I am convinced that such investment will create value for our customers, our organization and our products for a long time in the coming years.”

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