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A-dec Transitions from Waterfall to Agile with Modern Tools Integrated by OpsHub Integration Manager

A-dec Transitions from Waterfall to Agile with Modern Tools Integrated by OpsHub Integration Manager

Overview

A-dec has emerged as one of the most respected names in the dental industry as a leading manufacturer of reliable dental operatory equipment. Their innovative designs include dental chairs, delivery systems, dental lights, mechanical room air compressors and vacuums, dental cabinets, stools, and infection control products. With their headquarters located in Newberg Oregon within the United States, A-dec also operates global facilities located in Australia, the United Kingdom and China. Since being founded in 1964, A-dec has grown into one of the largest dental equipment makers in the world supplying equipment to customers in more than 90 countries. They also serve a wide range of dental schools and government institutions worldwide.

The dental equipment sector is regulated by many different agencies such as the FDA, ISO, European Union, and multiple other agencies specific to countries where product is registered for sale. A-dec leverages a range of software development applications when developing their innovative products to ensure their designs operate smoothly and adhere to these applicable regulatory standards. Building compliant, high-quality products while maintaining competitive go-to-market timelines required A-dec to transform from a traditional waterfall approach to an Agile methodology for product design. Specifically, A-dec streamlined their software development processes related to requirements management, testing, compliance, and documentation by adopting an Agile methodology. This new process leveraged the Jama Connect and Jira platforms, integrated with the help of OpsHub Integration Manager (OIM).

Challenge

Following a Waterfall approach, A-dec teams were managing eleven different SharePoint libraries to capture requirements, design documentation, design reviews, test plans, test reports, etc.  Each of these libraries functioned as its own siloed repository that presented challenges for easily demonstrating traceability of requirements.  Large amounts of time were spent preparing for audits or gathering necessary materials for regulatory submission of new products. Visibility of documentation to cross functional project team members was not optimal, in addition to providing and fast, transparent method to tie together all documents supporting a new product launch. Maintaining version control and tracking changes to documentation was a highly cumbersome and largely a manual process.  Testing was relegated toward the end of the overall development cycle, leading to last-minute surprises, critical bugs, compliance issues and resulting delays.




Some of the key challenges that A-dec faced included:

  • 1 Lengthy release cycles that in some cases spanned multiple years
  • 2 Elevated project complexity and risks levels
  • 3 Manual systems, operator dependency and document silos
  • 4 Managing 11 independent SharePoint libraries with no integration
  • 5 Manual process and Excel log sheets to pull new document numbers
  • 6 Significant challenges for collaboration, transparency, and visibility with cross functional peers
  • 7 Cumbersome audit prep and compliance challenges
  • 8 Risk of failure



Transitioning from Waterfall to Agile Empowered by Jama Connect, Jira and OpsHub Integration Manager (OIM)

The newly adopted Agile development process offers high flexibility and the ability to change course based on evolving market requirements. Agile methods and practices help teams adapt quickly and provide incremental value through shorter sprints and iterations, leading to a faster go-to-market. A-dec embarked on a cultural shift by adopting the Agile methodology to improve collaboration and continuous delivery of valuable features in smaller increments. It is now possible for A-dec to release features and customer feedback in a much shorter time periods which enables rapid learning and further refinement.

A vital piece of this strategic shift was finding the right tools to achieve their team collaboration, transparency, and traceability goals. Modern, collaborative tools with capabilities to manage requirements, test cases and risks accurately were essential to the success of this transition. After careful vetting and research into available platforms, A-dec chose Jama Connect for requirements management. A-dec was impressed by Jama Connect’s capabilities as a requirements management tool that allows teams to manage requirements, design documentation, and test activities. The flexibility to customize and tailor the Jama Connect platform to suit their specific process and industry needs was also a strong selling feature. Such flexibility ensured that the platform could be adjusted and optimized over time to remain relevant and accommodate unforeseen needs into the future. Of critical importance was the ability for Jama Connect to synchronize data with Jira and other Agile tools in a simple, intuitive process enabled by OpsHub Integration Manager.



Better Traceability, Transparency and Compliance Resulting in Faster Go-to-Market

Following the adoption of Agile development practices and a complete overhaul of their processes, A-dec decided to work exclusively with Jama Connect and Jira to manage their software development lifecycle. Leveraging Jama Connect for requirements management, test, defects, hazards and design documents and Jira for issue tracking and managing their backlogs/sprints, they implemented a three-week sprint cycle. As the release velocity improved, the team scaled up and grew comfortable in defining requirements to design one feature at a time. System requirements were translated into software requirements and resulting test verification activities in smaller, less complicated pieces. Working demonstrations of features could then be shared in shorter time periods to obtain feedback and celebrate wins. Issues and defects presented themselves early and in a more transparent fashion which greatly minimized surprises and allowed teams adequate time to plan resolution of bugs into their regular backlog of work. In addition, OIM’s synchronization between Jama Connect and Jira enabled them to sync user stories with defects, validating adequate requirement coverage, testing coverage and tracing back failed tests for compliance. Developers have a far less complicated task of managing their work essentially using just Jama Connect and Jira platforms where everything syncs versus the older method which required understanding multiple complex systems and longer onboarding times for new employees

The New Approach Aided by OpsHub Integration Manager Enabled:

  • Structured processes within tools such as Jama Connect and Jira
  • Elimination of document siloes and clear project visibility across tools
  • Synchronization of user stories in Jama Connect with defects in Jira
  • Easy to access objective evidence and improved reporting for audit 
  • The team is essentially “audit ready” all the time
  • Continuous consolidation of tools and repositories
  • Real-time traceability and accurate updates with immediate issue tracking and resolution

Engagement Benefits

  • Story point velocity doubled (3x for some sprints)
  • Enhanced metrics and visual dashboards allow for better project management
  • Higher levels of traceability and transparency
  • Success during outside agency regulatory audits has yielded zero nonconformances for the past three years since platform was adopted
  • Teams using Jama Connect/OpsHub are given high praise during executive report out sessions following outside agency regulatory audits
  • Enhanced visibility and governance
  • Improved credibility among regulatory bodies 
  • Improved ability to innovate when designing one feature at a time

In Summary

In heavily regulated industries such as healthcare, pharma, medical device manufacturing, go-to-market times and audit/compliance are often in conflict. A-dec’s strategic overhaul helped them move from a slower, cumbersome, and labour-intensive approach that involved significant compliance and audit challenges to a more flexible, dynamic and audit-friendly system that leveraged improved processes and tools. Cross-functional collaboration and traceability between best-of-breed tools Jama Connect and Jira enabled by OpsHub Integration Manager played an important role in their success.


Our third-party audits related to software development go smoothly and are something we take great pride in. We are audit-ready at any time. Our data is accurate and up to date in both systems, and we can establish traceability easily in real-time, from issue-tracking to resolution, requirements coverage, and traceability for failed tests. We have overhauled our culture and mindset to release in incremental pieces. We found the technical support from OpsHub to be exceptional as it helped us to solve several problems and optimize how we use the integration. We went from slow and cumbersome, heavy releases spanning years to lower-risk and simplified release cycles spanning months.

– Rob Ayers

Senior Staff Systems Engineer

Electrical, Software, and Clinical Device Engineering,

A-dec

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Faster Time to Market

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Increased Productivity

OpsHub integration allows enterprises to enable every stakeholder in the product delivery ecosystem to make faster decisions by ensuring all the relevant contextual data is available in their tool of choice. No manual data entry or data exchange anymore.

Complete Traceability and Compliance

OpsHub integration ensures that there is complete traceability across the product delivery ecosystem with no data leakage. The end-to-end visibility facilitates governance and risk management by identifying vulnerabilities earlier in the process.