A Slice Of How Agile Works At Sportsbet

James Woolley - Delivery Manager 

As a technology delivery manager at Sportsbet, I’ve loved working in and around our Agile delivery teams over several years now. The breakaway from other methodologies to Agile, which started around 2015, has no doubt been a key differentiator. This has enabled us, as a business, to move more nimbly. 

In our Customer Experience Division, we recognise that no two teams are the same. We’re open minded with how Agile teams operate, allowing them to work autonomously, and encouraging teams to evolve in different directions as they mature on their journey. 

Sportsbet empowers teams to take on their own identities, through team bonding, reviewing ways of working regularly and even creating their own team name! However, there are some overarching commonalities that all our teams benefit from. These common principles have undoubtedly underpinned some of our success in adopting Agile: 

Teams can solve any problem (almost!) 

Our teams are cross functional, top to tail. Essentially, this means they have all the capabilities they require at their disposal to squash any customer problem – taking a hypothesis all the way through the software development cycle and into our customers’ hands. Dependency management, for the most part, has become a concept of the past. Our diverse set-up promotes team members to gain a wider awareness and appreciation for other capabilities, often allowing cross-skilling opportunities to flourish. 

Customer value first 

Putting our customers’ needs first is a big part of our culture. The teams use several techniques to breakdown scope and user stories into small manageable chunks of value. Once key stakeholders have sprinkled a layer of prioritisation over these, it sets the team on a course to deliver the value to our customers. Technically, and where applicable, we love nothing better than slicing through the tech stack sooner rather than later vs building complete singular parts, one at a time. This approach front loads the integration risks, reduces its accompanying anxiety, and diminishes the need for potential re-working. Crucially, this approach enables customer value to be realised sooner, giving us options for how and when we’d take the change to market. 

Speed and ease 

We deploy changes to production frequently and painlessly. The teams within the Customer Experience Division largely work within a pre-defined release cadence. This gives them clear guidelines for planning outcomes plus helps manage expectations with stakeholders and the wider business. Our release processes have improved sharply over recent years, enabling deployment in changes to production on a more regularly basis, with only a handful of scheduled downtime windows in recent times. The quality and efficiency of our deployments have improved considerably through an increased use of and committed investment in our automation tooling and processes.