AGILE PROCESSES IN DAILY WORK MAdE BUSINESS MORE EFFECTIVE
Most companies have a number of operational tasks that can be performed much more effectively. Agile methods are often used in development contexts, but there are significant advantages using agile methods in daily operations to improve the business.
A larger Danish company saw a number of bottlenecks and inefficient processes related to their design and development of special tools for performing in service tasks for their end customers. There was no control - and overview of - priorities, development process and documentation, which resulted in the execution of the service tasks requiring the special tool being ineffective and, in the worst case, causing postponement or cancellation of the service tasks. The company implemented a project that, in addition to handling the day-to-day operations, created a transparent and agile operating model, based on Scrum methods, that sets the standard for tool development and provid a solid foundation for the company's service business.
One of kaastrup|andersen's customers, a major Danish manufacturing company, faced a very specific challenge in their service business: The market increasingly demands that suppliers be able to service products produced by other competing suppliers. In the industry, it is therefore commonplace for a service technician to perform service on a product of a different brand than the one for which the technician is working. For the service technician's understanding of the task and the way it should be performed, it does not make a big difference whether the product to be serviced is produced by X or Y. However, there are often small differences in how the tool used to perform the service task is constructed. This means that the service technician's employer must ensure that the right tools are avaliable for the technician when servicing a 'foreign product'. The company needed to work on the entire development process in relation to their special tools, from handling incoming service business requirements, prioritization to design, development and production. The company has always managed to produce and deliver the tools to the service engineers, but it was evident that the processes were inefficient and costly in terms of time and resources - and the level of service to the end customers needed a boost.
The project was launched to gain better control of both the prioritization, design and development of the necessary tools, with the aim of making the whole process more efficient and ensuring that end-customer service was performed as quickly and best as possible.
The project's goals can be divided into two: 1. To take care of the ongoing operation: Ongoing development of the tools needed in the daily operation and 2. to create the structure and processes for the work on the development of the tools. After a thorough assessment, agile methods were adopted. A large number of Scrum tools became part of the daily life of the project to manage both prioritization, planning, development, reporting and continuous improvement. 3-week Sprints were run, and the project introduced the use of the software application Jira as a task management tool to ensure that all tasks were visible, traceable and that it was possible to report on progress.
The Scrum tools used are: Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective. At the same time, the project established a tight structure for the meetings with the Steering Committee and the Management in the area. It resulted in holding a Steering Committee meeting for each sprint, a weekly progress report and a 'Roadmap and Sprint' plan at the beginning of each sprint.
The well-defined agile processes set a clear framework for the work and created momentum and motivation in the project from the beginning. The transparency and overview enabled the Steering Group to make the right choices and prioritize based on real knowledge instead of assumptions, as was often the case in the past. Both the process and the result clearly show that the agile approach is the right solution creating the flexibility and momentum that the company needs. The project has also spurred a higher motivation and commitment of employees: The agile methods and processes create transparency and makes the continuous progress, clear objectives and the value of cooperation visible - all factors that contribute to and higher job satisfaction.
The project has achieved its goal, implementing a transparent and agile solution that ensures an efficient and accurate process for designing, developing and delivering special tools for the service function in the company. The optimized and more transparent processes in the area are already helping to secure and optimize the customer's overall service business. At the same time, the project carried out daily operations and continuously provided tools for the business – so in other words: The development of the new agile processes has happened through and in daily work.
kaastrup|andersen took care of Project Management, from development of the concept, implementation of the new processes and methods to risk management and change management, and at the same time took care of the daily operations of the tool development.
Do your business processes need efficiency? kaastrup|andersen has extensive experience helping companies optimize their business to realize the profits. We work with both agile methods (Scrum, SAFe etc), Lean and are skilled in change management, risk management and profit realization [links to articles]. Contact us and let us talk about how we can help you and your business grow further.