The Mine Sweeper and Clearance Diving Systems Program Office in the Australian Government, Department of Defence had recently adopted a Kanban-driven approach to organizing their work. They aspired to improve the cadence of outputs to customers and fix the prioritization issues across multiple teams and service providers.


Department of Defence engaged Sentify to provide agile coaching, leadership coaching, technical coaching, and governance advice. The organization had a difficult time agreeing on multiple fronts. Their values, purpose, communication approach all varied widely. Consequently, the business was experiencing churn and customer dissatisfaction as a result.


Sentify worked with the entire office over a 2 month period to build a shared understanding of the Definition of Done, among other things. They also facilitated the introduction of a Product Manager role and identified cultural impediments to harmony. Finally, they found a solution to successfully address siloed behavior. Sentify reviewed the GovTeams Planner Kanban structure and quality of record-keeping to ensure that traceability and communication on requirements were effective. This significantly improved and the overall team dynamics and established that team members would use a standardized approach to communicating issues and accomplishments. Sentify also worked with the governance team and senior stakeholders to build trust and focus on customer satisfaction as well as compliance.


At the end of the eight weeks, the client’s team had adopted the new procedures we had discussed. These included the Definition of Done and a redefined and optimized their use of Planner. They also removed a range of procedures and behaviors that did not add value to the cadence of delivery. The allowed them to initiate the appointment of a product owner for the Minesweeping platforms. This initial experiment was followed up with a 6-month cultural improvement and team cohesion investment by senior leaders with the purpose of building on the silo-breaking efforts of team leads. This next endeavor focussed on where long-standing issues were baked into the culture of the SPO, and many were finally resolved with the team moving forward together.