Insights / Industry Perspectives / To Be or Not to Be: Why Agile Is a Game-Changer for Telco


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To Be or Not to Be: Why Agile Is a Game-Changer for Telco

Businesses across industries are embracing agility for a solid reason. Ever-growing technological advances and regulations have forced organizations to change their business models and adapt quickly.  Based on the recent survey, 44 % of respondents had already started or completed an agile transformation, while another 19 % reported that they were preparing to launch an agile transformation.   

While telco leaders are well aware of the fact that agility has become imperative, they are still unsure whether now is the right time to make the transition. For industries like Telco that still heavily depend on legacy IT systems, there are many industry-specific challenges they typically encounter on this journey.    

Key challenges telcos encounter on their digital transformation journeys

From our extensive experience working with some of the telco giants, we have learned that most of them face the same hurdles mostly because they have been using the same business model for decades. In other words, bringing any changes to their existing model seems to be a long and winding road.  

The whole telco pain point we are trying to tackle is the outdated project methodologies. Most of the telco companies, if not all of them, are using Waterfall methodology. On the other hand, although more than 70 percent of companies report that agile is their top priority, we haven’t seen the extent of implemented agile in telco teams. As a matter of fact, it’s quite rare. This as a result made the whole industry stagnate — the technologies in use are outdated and developers are basically non-existent in the job market.” — Nenad Latinovic, Engineering Lead at HTEC Group  

Backed up by our experience, we managed to identify key challenges telcos encounter on their digitalisation journey:

  • Extensive network planning processes — Telcos are experiencing a significant amount of network planning work across Europe due to FTTH rollout   
  • High cost of engineering teams — A highly variable workload around network planning requires telcos to have expensive network planning teams that are either extremely busy or often idle, which leads to a large and fixed cost liability  
  • Legacy IT Systems and a Broad Network — Most telcos heavily rely on legacy IT systems, a broad network and antiquated network planning tools that don’t leverage the Cloud  
  • Heavy reliance on Waterfall Methodology — Most telcos base their operations on a traditional Waterfall methodology, which can be highly inefficient when compared to an iterative agile methodology.   
  • Historically High Costs of Failure —Traditional telcos tend to see failure as too expensive and recovery periods as prohibitive. Moving from a waterfall approach to agile driven fast cycles, involves a paradigm shift for the organizations  

There’s a lot of uncertainty and the Waterfall model is not suited for this type of work. Also, keeping the engineering workforce in an operational mode throughout the entire project is very expensive and very often work is done in bursting intervals. 

Why Agile is a game-changer for Telco HTEC Group Bojan Sukalo

Joining forces to lead agile change  

With telco being one of the industries which is lagging behind when it comes to leading agile change, we have been practicing a unique approach in empowering their teams to make decisions to a degree required to foster an agile way of working. We have been quite successful in our efforts and seen outstanding results in creating agile teams with some of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies.   

In most design processes applied so far, a task is usually submitted to designers, who work on it and then send it to the client for revision after completion. Once the client completes the revision followed by relevant feedback (a process which can last for months), they return the documents to the planners who then must perform specific corrections in accordance with the client’s needs. As a result, the design team needs to allocate more time to make the necessary and required changes to the project. This leads to a huge waste of time for both parties in the process. On the other hand, an agile approach solves this challenge by allowing the audit of completed tasks and the project daily which provides the client with a clear insight into each step of the design process in real time”, explains Nenad.  

Powered by the synergy of our Agile Scrum approach and harmonious discovery and delivery teams and processes, we enable product innovation in perpetuity, empowering teams to own the essence of the idea while we translate it into a tangible product.    

Agile Teams in Telco

Graph: Agile Methodology Explained  

As pioneers of implementing the agile model in telco companies, we have witnessed a major success of some of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies.  

The impact we make: 

  • Significantly decreased costs, eliminated damage and increased ROI with better system visibility  
  • We enable innovation in team management and project documentation for companies that haven’t seen innovation in decades  
  • Increased flexibility enabling the client to adjust resources over time   
  • Reduced total cost of service delivery though improved methodology, tooling, resource utilization deployed across a nearshore solution 
Agile in Telco HTEC Group - Nenad Latinovic

Unlock growth beyond connectivity through agile   

 The next generation of telcos will be led by leaders who are bold enough to embrace the change, to be able to seize untapped growth. Implementing agility model is critical for their reinvention. The journey can be smooth with an experienced partner that has helped telco companies across Europe greatly improve infrastructure planning. 

Are you a change-maker ready to move to scale fast? Connect with Bojan Sukalo and Nenad Latinovic to discuss ideas how we can help you lead agile change.