Bonnier Publications

Developing transparent and aligned release processes to cover technical platforms with different release dynamics

Nikolaj Opstrup

Nikolaj Opstrup, EVP & Chief Development Officer, Bonnier Publications

Developing and implementing a structured release management process has been a transformation for us in the way we work. The transformation from project plans to platform roadmaps – and working with feature releases – has made us and the organization more conscious about the value provided from the team. Nevico Product Management steered the process and engaged directly with stakeholders, securing key insights in an efficient and professional manner.

Challenge

The Technical Project Management Team at Bonnier Publications is in charge of scoping, developing and maintaining the technical platforms supporting all customer-facing products. The team was bombarded with requests from around the company and had to to keep up with incoming tickets in Jira, while managing the software development team. The team didn’t have a well-defined process for prioritizing features and had no roadmap to guide decisions, which caused confusion in prioritization, constant reiteration and changes in scope. Each member of the team was responsible for 2-3 technical projects, and features were added to the backlogs by colleagues elsewhere in the organization (e.g. product managers and editors-in-chief) without prioritizing requests against the strategy of the platform.
The team was embroiled in making ad hoc decisions, firefighting and focusing solely on the project it delivered for each customer-facing product. The team wanted to change its way of working and be more focused on setting the direction for the constantly evolving technical platforms. In order to excel in this, Bonnier Publications wanted to grow the team’s knowledge and expertise within Product Management.

Solution

Bonnier Publications entered into a partnership with Nevico Product Management to build a release management process together with the team. Based on the initial stakeholder analysis identifying gaps and core issues, Nevico and the team in Bonnier developed a release management process ensuring the timeline and deliverables were in place, while improving people skills by joining Product Management training with Nevico partner Product Focus. The strategic view shifted from project deliverables to product features, based on a platform strategy which made prioritization easier. The project managers were now to be in charge of the technical platforms supporting several customer-facing products. Requests for new features in the platforms were to be prioritized and planned within a release and communicated to internal stakeholders prior to the release.
Some of the major transformations were:
• From project management focus to Product Management focus
• Upgrading Product Management skills and sharpening roles internally to match new focus
• From solving single tickets ad hoc to releasing grouped features by schedule
• Strengthened communication and value creation from new features
• Overview of the plan for stakeholders

Result

Today, the Technical Project Management Team in Bonnier Publications is in charge of driving technical platform releases, making sure all internal stakeholders are involved proactively on the upcoming features which they can promote to the end users. A side effect of moving from project-driven development to product- and release-driven development is that the technical platform owners are managing their responsibilities even better and find it easier to communicate their progress.

About Bonnier Publications

The Bonnier Publications Group is behind some of the Nordic region’s most famous media brands, for example, ‘Illustreret Videnskab’, ‘Historie’ and ‘Bo Bedre’. They focus on special interest media and deliver high-quality content and entertainment to their customers, with more than 40 media brands in the Nordic region and other countries.
Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: Denmark

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