The Watercare transformation programme aims to be the opposite of those "large, nasty, demotivating" traditional projects where detailed requirements are identified over six months and frozen in time.
"Where you get 30 per cent of what you set out to deliver and where everyone ends up blaming each other and the customer is no better off."
The key to that is basing everything on the customer experience and, a piece often forgotten, the enabled workforce.
"We're building a delivery approach that is flexible and adaptable to change and we're focusing really hard on helping Watercare build its onw leadershoip capabilities to deliver their own transformation programme," he said.
For Westpac, speed of delivery was also key, Richard Jarrett, head of IT foundation and frontline experience, and Dave Corlett, head of application lifecycle management, explained. The journey was also a shift from SLAs (service level agreements) to collaboration.
For Westpac the story began around two years ago when it was still batching up technical changes five times a year and projects were taking around eighteen months to deliver. For every dollar being invested in technology about 24 cents was of benefit was delivered to the customer.
Slow, complex releases were matched by low visibility of benefits. Red tape had to be negotiated. Finger-pointing and blaming were also common.
ICT's reputation with the business "was not flash" and things had to change.
"We realised we needed to change the way we did it from very much a waterfall approach to start adopting Agile type principles and approaches and Lean-type principles and approaches."
Anti-money laundering regulation was the precipice, being run out of the bank's risk and legal department. This "rather terrible looking child" was never tested by the frontline business unit and was immediately rejected.
"That was the point we knew we had to change."
A new CIO, Dawie Olivier, took his people out to other organisations to see how thing could be done - starting with a cultural transformation. A simple question was posed to staff: "What would a great day at work feel like?"
It doesn't start with methods or tools, the executives explained, but with empowered people and an appetite to grow and learn and do things differently.
From there the organisation was "flipped on its head". Projects were out as work got broken down into smaller units to be continually deployed. Squads and tribes were organised to deliver change quickly with the emphasis on geting close to the customer.
Co-location and collaboration, open and sometimes "cathartic" discussions saw the organisation move from taking weeks to provision to minutes and offering users a choice of tools.
"You have to embrace your suppliers and your partners and bring them into the organisation to operate as one."
The outcome? Growing confidence. A payments environment was recently rebuilt, from the VM up, three times the day before go-live and twice again the following day with no impact on the customer.
Automated rollout has helped reduce customer impact times from 8000 minutes a year to around 1200 last year and less than a thousand this year.