Agile Mindset Focuses on Product and Process

Post by Cynde Dornuf, CBC, and product marketing manager at Resideo Life Care Solutions. Cynde has more than two decades of experience helping create business agility in healthcare, insurance and manufacturing settings. As Resideo Life Care Solutions prepares for a new software update, this post has been created to help describe the processes of development Resideo uses in our upcoming, current and future product updates.

It’s one thing when a technology company embraces an agile approach to software development. It’s quite another when it’s an entire business philosophy. That’s what we are aiming for at Resideo Life Care Solutions as we create seamless, advanced remote monitoring solutions for care providers that improves the quality of patients’ lives.

By working to embrace an agile culture, Resideo Life Care Solutions is sharing knowledge, increasing responsiveness – and best of all, confidently providing a renewed customer focus, which is a key differentiator as user experience expectations and technology options are rapidly changing.

We’re not perfect. Maintaining our focus on agile and taking our application to the next level is a marathon—not a sprint. The first step is understanding where you really are – what approaches are working and what needs help. Then it’s all about defining the end state – where you want to go with agile.

Next Steps in Agility

Out of the starting block, we’re doing quite well. The process involves a kickoff meeting at the beginning of each product release to address the top customer challenges.

Our teams include a wide variety of disciplines to draw on experiences and attack projects from different angles, so we can come up with as many viewpoints as possible. That often means involving industry experts, supply chain and direct or indirect channel partners who can address downstream requirements.

Along the way we include customers to be sure we are addressing their needs and creating value. When the customer helps prioritize features and functions, we can better understand what’s most important and can develop solutions in the most valuable order. It benefits us through less rework and ultimately greater customer satisfaction.

We work out loud, think out loud, share perspectives and freely voice opinions. To help us monitor our progress toward a solution and facilitate daily collaboration, we use Kanban visual management boards throughout the facility.

The challenge is getting the entire team to leverage agile’s collective power – to collaborate and define, understand and find solutions by having everyone contribute knowledge and experiences.

Collaborative Effort

As product owner, I enjoy setting the stage by facilitating groups, finding problems, maximizing value and triaging ideas. I don’t tell people how to solve problems, but I do help lay out the issues and determine the criteria for successful solutions. Then the team takes over to decide what they need to do to deliver the solution as fast and accurately as possible.

For example, we know that healthcare systems want to avoid readmissions, so we involve one of our internal clinical consultants, Lisa Quinn – a nurse who has worked in urban hospitals, the military, home healthcare and quality certification – in the process.

An agile mindset means we break down silos. Everyone contributes to a complete, holistic solution, providing insights into the product from every angle. By including the clinical team, there are fewer re-works, as they have helped define the work that needs to be done, identified potential approaches and reviewed the work in progress the entire way.

It’s all about user experience, Lisa says. “Medical professionals and patients are becoming more sophisticated with phones and mobile devices. They expect healthcare technology to be seamless and have the same responsiveness, along with even more privacy and security.”

As Resideo Life Care Solutions invests in data and infrastructure security, we’re bringing in guest team members – authorities who can address the challenges. That’s especially important as our products are FDA-cleared, so we bring in FDA subject matter experts to raise issues even our experienced team might not consider.

Lisa says, “We have amazing specialists who can be sure the process follows the regulation to the letter. We always bring our ideas back to the committee to be sure we’re compliant. It doesn’t slow us down; it makes us more efficient in the long run by having final products that will withstand FDA scrutiny.”

Creating Value

One of the most important elements of agile is creating a common understanding of how to create value. Value can only be created when something gets done – customers can’t just buy “progress!”

That means defining “done.” Done has to be from the perspective of the overall business and customer, not from just from a particular role or contribution.
For instance, some people may think it’s done when the new code is written or the new brochure has been created.

But then we ask, did we think about the fact that manufacturing needs new part numbers or the impact it may have on fulfillment of orders? Did we assess if we need to update the terms and conditions in our contracts because of a new feature?

Agile is thinking holistically from the point of view of the customer—what they will experience when they want to buy it and what we have to do overall to take care of that customer—from selection to processing to support.

And since the delivery of our product is changing – from managing devices on a computer to managing them in the cloud – we’re working to take a fresh look at what we offer.

We are questioning everything. Can we find a way to minimize the effort needed by patients to take their vitals? Should we rethink how we enable customers to do analytics and create reports? What can do we do to minimize the number of steps for clinicians to monitor and assess patients?

As the vision of remote patient monitoring evolves, it takes everyone in the organization to identify what’s possible and develop the solution that’s best for the customer. By having a short time between the project investment and initial results, we are reducing risk by being able to quickly pivot to successful ideas.

Managing Uncertainty

Organizations need to find new ways to deal with uncertainty, especially in a field as volatile as healthcare technology.

But I recently read a Yale Insights article that pointed out, “The traditional way of managing uncertainty was with tools like scenario planning. That doesn’t work because the world is now changing so fast and in such dramatic ways. A portfolio of agile teams is a terrific way to manage uncertainty.”

Chris Addison, our director of engineering, says that because Resideo Life Care Solutions is a smaller entity than our former parent company, we can be much more nimble.

“Resideo Life Care Solutions brought the best of Honeywell processes and cultures, and we are fine-tuning them to fit our more efficient approach,” he says. We are updating and modifying the software daily, putting us in a position to give customers new functionality and enhancements more consistently and regularly.

“When I first got here, we had a waterfall approach, which slowed things down. One of the first things I did was train everyone on scrum and encourage self-organizing teams. That’s really paid off,” Chris says. “We’re providing more than technology and data. We’re able to provide full, turnkey customer solutions.”

Multiple Benefits

It’s easy to see why a growing number of companies and organizations – from IBM and Amazon to National Public Radio and Spotify – are embracing an agile approach. The 2019 State of Agile report indicates that companies show a 71% increase in project cost reduction as a primary reason to adopt agile.

It’s an absolute must as we deal with constantly evolving markets and with frequently fluctuating technology. As healthcare organizations make many changes in these times of shifting expectations and increasing responsibility for patient health, it is important for companies like Resideo Life Care Solutions to be just as adaptable and flexible as the healthcare providers that we serve.

Chris assures me that we have full leadership buy-in from the top to not just use agile in software development but to engage our entire organization. They see themselves as servant leaders – ready to dig in and work hard along with us.

We’re on our agile journey, learning and continuously improving as we go. My job is to embrace enthusiasm, bring people together and figure out how the multiple viewpoints can deliver the best solution to our customers in every possible way so we all win in the end.

To learn more about our Resideo Remote Patient Monitoring platform, visit our website for more information.