Can you be agile and compliant? – Stuart Ward, IDBS , Agile Business 2016

Can you be agile and compliant? – Stuart Ward, IDBS

What happens when you take an organisation, which has been using waterfall for 25 years, to the new world of agile? In 2015, IDBS transformed how it creates software, which is used by a number of business verticals including regulated pharmaceutical environments, to facilitate R&D. This session will show how the move to agile was implemented along with the benefits and challenges seen.


Introductory

IDBS produces software for a number of business verticals, which includes regulated environments (GxP and 21 CFR Part 11) in the pharmaceutical industry, to facilitate R&D.

At the beginning of 2015 IDBS’ 100 strong Product Delivery team (Developers, Testers & Business Analysts) moved exclusively to an agile engineering culture. This was a massive change to the organisation which had used a waterfall approach up to that point.

There were big questions around whether the move to agile would impact software quality, speed to market and the overall effectiveness of IDBS’ Product Delivery organisation. Would the Product Managers get the products that they needed and on time? What would be the impact on IDBS’ customers and the rest of the organisation? Did IDBS have the skills and capacity to run agile development teams and how would people need to adapt?

On top of all of this, IDBS had a robust quality management process, would the change to agile affect the outcome of customer audits? Would the software still meet regulatory needs? The expectations were high and everyone was watching!

The move to agile has had a positive and significant impact on IDBS and the way it does business. There have been challenges along the way: some obvious and some surprising. More than 12 months on from the initial change, agile is still impacting how IDBS creates and sells software: from the adoption of new product delivery tools/processes to drive efficiency, to how the customer facing parts of the organisation present and use the software. This session will present how IDBS approached the move to agile and what has happened in the new world.

Stuart is Head of Business Analysis, responsible for ensuring that IDBS products meet the needs of customers. He has grown the Business Analysis team so that it can provide the necessary domain experience required by the agile development teams to create software which can facilitate R&D.

Before starting this role in January 2014, he was Product Manager for E-WorkBook for four years and worked in IDBS Global Professional Services for five years, responsible for deploying IDBS’ products both from a technical and project management perspective.

Prior to working at IDBS, Stuart completed a Post-Doctoral fellowship at the NIH and then worked for Ionix Pharmaceuticals. Stuart obtained his PhD in Pharmacology from the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (University of London).

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