October 20: Today on TownHall Linda Yang, CIO, talks with Imran Rana, Lead Product Manager at Baylor Scott & White Health about agile development and how useful it is in healthcare. How does Imran keep his team engaged with the projects they work on? What checks and balances does he use to make sure progress is being made on initiatives successfully? Why does he believe that the healthcare industry needs to continue to become more agile focused?
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Today on This Week Health.
I think being a servant leader, it's trying to understand. Why people are working when they're working. I think any career, it's important to understand are they having fun?
Are you enjoying what you're. Do you feel like you're part of the team? Do you feel like you're making a difference?
Because once you understand how people work, people who build your products, products don't build themselves. And you gotta take care of.
Welcome to This Week Health Community. This is TownHall a show hosted by leaders on the front lines with interviews of people making things happen in healthcare with technology. My name is Bill Russell, the creator of This Week Health, a set of channels designed to amplify great thinking to propel healthcare forward. We want to thank our show sponsors Olive, Rubrik, Trellix, Medigate and F5 in partnership with Sirius Healthcare for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. Now onto our show.
All right. Welcome to this Week Health. I'm Linda Yang and I am extremely excited to be a contributing host for the Town Hall Conversations. This is my first podcast and I am honored to have Enam Ron as my guest. Enam is an enterprise Agile leader at Baylor Scott White, and he works directly at the front line of healthcare technology.
Welcome m. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
Thanks Linda. Thanks for having me. And first podcast, man. That's always the fun ones and the best ones. So thank you for having me. I'm really excited to, to talk our experience and get to know a little bit more. So thank you for inviting me on a Friday. It's gonna be good.
Oh, perfect. Well, yeah. Tell us about your work at Baylor Scott White about your background and your experience working there on the.
Yeah, I am actually been in it for almost 15 plus years, and I came in at the, an enterprise agile coach. Mm-hmm. Which is basically transforming an already team that was practicing agile framework in the digital health office which is primarily, working with the stakeholders, team members.
All the development team across the platforms to kind of, you know, practice, What does it really mean? Everybody agile is like a buzzword, right? Mm-hmm. , people always think that it's related to development, but there's a lot of work that goes in the background. So my role was more awkward. The servant leadership and understanding people where they were, educating them on the process and helping them see what they do today, they could do a lot better, more efficiently.
If they change their mindset, the way they do things, right? Mm-hmm. . So instead of build big and deploy, you can build small iterated, change it, get feedback, and make it a lot better. Kind of like what Apple did for their products. However during the course of the Toyota 10 here and my, I guess, professional experience in product.
They offered me a promotion as the lead product manager for their digital health offers. It's exciting. A lot of things, being a coach and now being actual, kind of like, face to music, what you preach. so that's where I'm at right now and it's, it's very exciting times.
A lot of good products with developing and stuff, so having a great time. It's interesting, especially after Covid, a lot of things have changed a lot of demands. A lot of the way we do, businesses are changing. So practicing the Agile framework in that changing, demanding world. It's fun.
It's very fun.
Oh, very good. So as a new product leader in a healthcare hospital, how do you keep your team engaged?
Ooh, that's a very loaded question, Linda. I think being a servant leader, it's trying to understand. Why people are working when they're working. It's very important. I think any career, when somebody's working, it's important to understand are they having fun?
Are you enjoying what you're. Do you feel like you're part of the team? Do you feel like you're making a difference? Do you feel like personally you're adding value to the job, it's role that you applied for and stuff? That's where I focus primarily 25% of my work understanding people, right?
Because once you understand how people work, people who build your products, products don't build themselves. And you gotta take care of. In understanding how the flexible nature, for example we relaunched a website all virtually. I mean, people might understand that launching or a website completely from whole technology to new not being physically present in a room, Right?
Typically in an IT industry, folks are used to having a war rooms and sitting there for hours and trying to get it done. This was done all virtually. And I don't think it would've been possible doing it if we had no one to one connection. A little bit key building understanding. Now we had to adapt to the virtual reality and build everything virtually.
Like this is two dimensional, like you and I are speaking right now. Mm-hmm. , this is how we launched. And it was very successful. We had a lot of fun, a lot of bloopers, . So it's, the fundamentals Linda, it's not rocket science. It's back to the basics, which is fundamental, the leadership and people development.
So that's what it's, and then, that also comes with providing them. Right. Mm-hmm. . So there's a lot of framework of training that we provided at an individual level, or be at a company level, be at a team level. So everybody kind of felt like that, hey, we are part of a movement, or kind of , doing this for the first time.
Mm-hmm. and it's, let's see how it works. And everybody came out, outperforming themselves, not outperforming somebody else, outperforming themselves. So those are the techniques if you will, of framework that I implement, and it was pretty good. And now we're working on a lot more of the projects and now it's like, Hey, we've done it before.
We can do it better again next time.
Oh, certainly. Yeah. I think the world of healthcare and technology specifically has gone through a change as a result of the Covid Pandemic and a lot of technical roles have moved towards a remote or a hybrid model. Right. And just this past year, I think we've seen a lot of technology products and initiatives be implemented.
Remotely and, it's great that our organizations are embracing and looking towards how to better accommodate these arrangements now, What kind of it, checks and balances are really put in place to ensure that the progress of implementing the platforms and products and initiatives are done so successfully.
Very good question. I think that's very important and every company has, their own choice of what methodology and how they want to implement. checks and balances but they're very, very essential. So we are following what you call a scrum slash framework in Agile. And there's different, you know, they're safe.
There's other frameworks of Agile, but we adopted Scrum and mm-hmm. . The reason being is that if the team is their vanilla, you have new hires, you have. A little bit of old mindset cuz you know, it's hard cuz you gotta unlearn the things you do because it's your comfort level too. Something that's uncomfortable, right?
Right. So come on is like, simply three step what's on the list, What are you gotta do, what's in progress and what are you gonna finish? Right? Kind of like traditional checklist that everybody does, right? Your grocery list. Because you gotta keep yourself focused so that you don't do impulse buying.
It's the same concept here, right? So we do, like, I call it steps. Mm-hmm. It's easy. People understand that, Oh, I gotta do this anyways Scrum is a little bit of advanced. I really say it's arguably, it's very arguably mm-hmm. that which one is which one, but we implemented in a ways that okay, if you're vanilla, that.
Mm-hmm. , what he thinks, what you got on your plate, what you're working on, what you're gonna finish. Now, if it's a little bit of a bigger team and you mature people have some certifications under their belt from, is is easier to follow because then your mindset is design thinking, leadership thinking.
I am adding value thinking, right? So that framework is, tied to a technology of how technology is gonna give us report and speak back to us in agile fashion to how we're doing things. We have an you partnership with Microsoft A all the framework is there. In Scrum, basically, you have all those ceremonies.
checks and balances of roles and responsibilities. For example, myself has a product owner on a daily standup. I'm there to answer questions. Whatever team says, if they can deliver, you're committed and they can solve the problem for me within that allotted time, I'm just there to facilitate and giving support so they don't feel stuck.
But you roll it up. My role is like, okay, where do I say sprint planning, where that's where I'm prioritizing the work. Like I want feature A over feature B. No, actually, you know what make feature C the top priority. The rest of the two features can go back. Right? So the team would say, Sure, and the team would participate in that, where they would be like, Hey, it probably makes sense if we implement 50% of feature A and then do a 100 of feature C because you're kind of trying to undo something.
And that's where I would be like, wow. Right. I'm not always looking for the solution. But My team feels like that they're protecting me. They got, they watch my six, right? So they help me in that prioritization. So these kind of checks and balances kind of, help individuals come in and be more productive, be more thinking oriented.
and these checks and balances are reflected in the ADO boards. Every three weeks we kind of review and say that, Ha, we brought in more work, but we didn't finish enough, right? So what happened? Right? It helps. The entire team to kind of retrospect look into what they can improve and which is basically the fundamentals of agile, right?
It's a kaizen approach where you're improving all the time. You're not thinking all the time, you're improving because you're reducing, you're developing your thinking, so, those checks and balances are working out pretty good. When I started there, was About 8 or 10 teams, I think, I believe that were there, they were doing some kind of agile in following the board.
But now there's a standardized two teams that are kind of in competition, right? Where they said, Hey, we, like, for example one of the website SPOT is saying, Hey, we delivered virtually. a work that you could do in 18 months. We did in nine months. Right. And the other team is like, Oh really?
You think you could do that? And so it's like,
it's that friendly competition, right? Absolutely. Yeah. Friendly competition within an organization could be very beneficial. Most certainly. , and I love that. The reason why I, love using the scrum methodology specifically because it creates a framework around collaboration within the team.
Right. And that's great that you experienced that and has brought that into your team as well. 📍
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Now What kind of, you shared that Agile is certainly important for the development and technology piece of healthcare, but I'm curious to know your overall perception on why healthcare as an industry need to continue to become more agile.
I think if you think about healthcare, there's, providers services, there's pharmaceutical. , all sorts of stuff are there, but the healthcare industry that I'm in is hospital, which is at the, front lines, like you said of mm-hmm. , ensuring patient satisfaction.
Right? Right. That's the core of our business. And the funny thing is that, who is my customer? It's actually me looking in the mirror. When I go into the hospital, what am I really looking for? Am I looking for, just to go. When I'm sick or am I going there to kind of have this relationship that as I progress in my health over the years, I can depend on somebody who can tell me the good, the benefit, and can fix me.
Right? So that kind of like a health wood map. We have all sorts of roadmaps, Linda, but I think Covid has brought this health, individual health roadmap on the very forefront, right? of everybody, because Covid didn't care if you are Apple or Facebook or Bill, right? It attacked everybody at every level, right?g a research and according to:
and they're gonna be looking like hey, things are good, or whatever. Saves me A lot of time. And since Agile is like a project management philosophy, Right so the understanding typically is that the group lies on software development. Okay. However, I believe that agile principles can be adopted in healthcare professional in a variety of facets Okay. You can take decisions like what are you bringing the market, what do you reach out to, to the other people, right? because the guiding principles will help you make those decisions, right? It will help you prioritize your tasks, will help you adapt challenges and conquer anything that comes along the way
another thing I was doing is according to McKinsey organization doing. research they've shown that if you combine Agile in your practices, it stabilizes the adaptability concept of your company within healthcare, making it a great framework for an organization to navigate any challenges that are coming in.
Right. I'll give you an example. we launched a website. We're going through a website, we. And this is like, first year into covid everything is coming in and we're also watching the news, healthcare front lines. Boom comes vaccination, right? Like, okay, we got dose one, dose two and we are also gonna have booster.
There's so many, so much was changing. Linda, I'm sure you noticed, right? News was all over the place. Oh, it's for the 60 and above first and who gets it, we didn't. panic Because we have this framework that, okay, change is gonna come probably in the span of two to three weeks, not even months, because we are, if you will, healthcare for healthcare it was war, right?
So it was like a war going on because things are changing, regulations are changing, new doses are coming in. We built just a solution where we said that, okay, well let's build a solution that we can iterate within two to three. weeks Because we know there's a vaccination coming in for elderly people and there's gonna come for the younger generation and then for the kids.
And then if we're doing dose one, I'm pretty sure we're gonna do dose two and then we're gonna do the boosters. Right? So the team all was in unison thinking that way. That was the beauty of it. Linda I want to emphasize the beauty was that we all knew that this was coming in the pipeline. So just walk with me for a second.
You have a product person, you have a developer, and you have an architecture. Architecture is looking over the entire platform, and then you have a developer who's actually going to write a code. All of them with different skill sets are thinking in one mindset that, Hey, if I write a code in a way that I can change without having.
Put a pressure on my product to do all kind of testing. Mm-hmm. . Wow, that's magical. And the architect is thinking that, hey, if I can enable my developer to be a free mind so he can write a code so he can, manure, plug and play and me as a product is saying that, hey, my first gonna launch, then my second doses launching, basically my boosters coming right after that meant the cohesiveness and launch to market to the customer was so fast.
That we were like, we're not gonna go do a traditional development process. So hope that answers that question. I know it kind of took a little longer time, but I think it's good to put the context and then see how it plays out in healthcare. Cause healthcare is a beast. .
Yes. Oh, most certainly. Right. And I love that you spoke about how.
Agile methodologies using Coban and Scrum to really address change and healthcare is constantly changing. So I appreciate your time, Inam, and we are short on time, but I will continue conversations with you and I am so glad that you've been able to spend a few minutes with me today. Thank you.
Thank you so much, Linda. I really appreciate it. You have yourself a good weekend.
You do the same. Bye-bye.
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