Corporate governance for high-tech firms


An FDA-regulated biotech company was suffering from overweight, slow and costly development processes, but Mastodon stepped in to identify changes to people, processes and tools to facilitate speed and efficiency. Led organizational reform and operational cost-effectiveness through adoption of best practices, through restructuring the organization's change management procedures.

The Challenge

One of the nation's largest biotechnology companies suffered from an inefficient, error-prone software deployment process. Since these deployments were taking place in an FDA-regulated environment, errors were expensive, and caused potential compliance issues. The company needed to identify the root cause of these problems and get them resolved quickly, to make sure they didnýt happen again. Mastodon assessed ten departments across the technology organization, drawing up recommendations, defining initiatives, and ultimately correcting the causes of inefficiencies and errors.

For example, one major cause was determined to be a cultural avoidance of risk within the organization. When an error was discovered in the deployment process, the company added on a new process, rather than re-examining the existing process for improvement. Many in the organization were afraid that refactoring the deployment process might break a fragile process that no one really understood. The result was a slow, overly complex process with more manual steps than needed for simple changes. This cause could not be corrected by a simple procedural change, but required a cultural shift from focusing on controls and compliance to focusing on results and values.

How We Helped

Mastodon Consulting assessed the full range of capabilities necessary to deploy releases, including leadership, resource management, risk management, performance management, control systems, and accountability management. Mastodon helped the organization baseline current effectiveness, and defined and implemented clear recommendations to improve the speed and efficiency of that process. Resolving these issues immediately was the first step. Mastodon also developed measurement criteria and key performance indicators to monitor release management performance, to ensure continuous improvement.

Mastodon's services included:

  • Business process engineering
  • Regulatory compliance oversight
  • Change management
  • Communications management
  • Performance management
  • Risk management

Lessons Learned

Optimization of change management procedures met its goals. One out of every four deployments had failed in the year prior to this effort. Thanks to identification and implementation of these process, organization and cultural changes, the following year saw zero deployment failures. With more efficient, accurate and swift deployments, the organization has greatly improved customer service, while better managing internal risk.

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