Robotic Warehouses, Alien Domain, Offshore developers, Visionary customer : Saved by agile

Here is a case study of how agile outsourcing can be practically applied even when the business domain is very complex and alien to offshore teams.
The example is a project in which Exilesoft provided for a leading Norwegian producer of Robotic warehousing solutions. The project involved transforming their legacy application, produced using multiple suppliers and methods, into a newly cast application solution. This project also had its own share of typical challenges.

• Lacked definitive and reliable documentation,
• Domain knowledge was limited to a few very busy individuals,
• Development and redeployment could not interrupt attention to current customers,
• Complexity was high and design was fragmented, and
• Focus heavily invested on current product and customer support

These limitations along with the lack of understanding of agile methods strongly suggested the use of a method adaptive in nature, and not heavily vested in large inflexible legacy elements.
We commenced the engagement with two pivotal elements; client awareness (agile orientation) and a roadmap of committed involvement. To lay credibility this had to be backed up with proven result delivery in the very early stages. It allowed for flexible adaption, and the creation of an atmosphere that fostered client interest.

During this session, we will take the audience through a small video clipping of such a warehouse. We will elaborate how the customer and offshore developers worked together using agile in a highly integrated team collaboration model to achieve success within a very short time frame.

The session will cover the following key areas:

How such projects can be initiated

- What type of team model and contract type we used

- How we did the agile transformation with the customer

- How the roles were assigned between offshore and onshore team members

- To improve remote collaboration the tools and techniques we used

- Techniues learned to get teams up to speed with the new domain

- As we go along, the process changes we identified and implemented to make things work better.

- Agile engineering practices and team dynamics that helps in such situations

 
13 favorite thumb_down thumb_up 7 comments visibility_off  Remove from Watchlist visibility  Add to Watchlist
 

Outline/structure of the Session

- Introduction to the business case.
The video will be played here to explain the
complication we need to tackel in such warehouse applciation : 4 Mins ( Video is for around 40 Secs)

- Walkthrough the challenges : 5 Mins
- Unknown domain with a legacy system which should run parallely
- No documentation
- Limited noof people from customer who has good understanding on the domain
- No access to product owner during planning meetings
- Releases planned for multiple existing customers at the same time, Time to market fctor
- Customer has no agile experience

- Solutions we came up with will be discussed : 10 mins

- Wrap up the session : 1 mins

Learning Outcome

- A practical approach to apply agile principles in complex buisness scenarios

- Apply agile in offshore project context

- How to model offshore - onshore team collaboration

Target Audience

Agile coach, Project managers, Developers, Product owner, Business users

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Pramod Sadalage
    By Pramod Sadalage  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Vinodhini,

    I would encourage you to distill your learnings and focus on key outcomes so that you can present a case study in 20 min.

     

    Thanks

    • Prashant Sagar
      By Prashant Sagar  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hey Vinodhini,

       I find your presentation/talk very similar to http://confengine.com/proposal/173/the-different-engagement-models-processes-challenges-and-solutions-for-a-distributed-scrum-team-in-an-outsourced-product-development-opd ?

      Can you please differentiate how is your presentation different/better value proposition than above?

      • Vinodhini
        By Vinodhini  ~  3 years ago
        reply Reply

        Hi Prashant,

         

        I read the proposal which you have pointed here. What I read is same as what you read so I don’t have extra information to compare that proposal with mine. Further its not fair for me to do that without knowing more insights about her talk, I searched that in youtube to see whether there are any recorded presentations of her talk, but I couldn’t find anything related to it.

         

        All what I can do is to explain bit more about why I selected this case study to present at AgileIndia.

        The main reason for me to propose this case study was that, this is a very complex domain to understand by a team in a remote location, who are very new to such robotic warehouses. So how we made such project successful using agile and how we got the teams up to speed with such complex domain and started to deliver software within its very first sprint itself. Further, as offshore developers we do not always get a chance to work with such systems outside usual transaction based applications. So I think this is a very interesting case to share.

         

         

    • Pavel Dabrytski
      By Pavel Dabrytski  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Vinodhini,

      In order for us to understand your session better and see if it feets our program, we would like you to add some more details into 'Process' section. Also move some of process specific information into from Description into Process (i.e. watching video wording fits more into process).

      We would like to know things like:

      1. duration of each segment of your talk, duration of the video

      2. You mention 'walkthrouh challenges and solutions'. Could you please ellaborate more on which challenges you faced and what solutions you came up with? Are those the same as key areas described in description? Will you cover all of these key areas? How much time do you plan to spend on each of the areas?

      3. What type of discussion would you have with the audience. Will it be Q & A. How much time do you plan for this section? Otherwise what topics/ideas will you discuss with the audience?

      4. Do you plan to have any interactions with the audience? if yes, can you describe these interactions?

      5. Your requirements section doesn't mention anything regarding watching videos. I would assume you need equipment for it. Also, do you need flipcharts for discussions, etc.

       

      Biggest concern for me that watching video doesn't take up most of the time of the session.

      tip: it is better to edit the proposal itself instead of putting info into comment replies. This way we can save reviwers time.

       

      Thank you very much for submitting you proposal to Agile India!

      • Sudipta Lahiri
        By Sudipta Lahiri  ~  3 years ago
        reply Reply

        Hi Vinodhini,

         

        Can you pls give some high level information on what are the suggestions/recommendation that you will be detailing during the talk? For example, would you be focussing people to people interactions OR some process level tips/what worked and what didn't OR some cultural aspects that were addressed?

         

        Without that, it is hard for us to comment on your submission.

         

        Regards

        Sudipta.

        • Vinodhini
          By Vinodhini  ~  3 years ago
          reply Reply

          We will mainly address how Agile methods and models can be used in order to get an offshore team up to speed within a very short time to deliver software in a totally new business context.  

          - How such projects can be initiated

          - What type of team model and contract type we used

          - How the roles were assigned between offshore and onshore team members

          - To improve remote collaboration the tools and techniques we used

          - Techniues learned to get teams up to speed with the new domain

          - As we go along, the process changes we identified and implemented to make things work better.

          - Agile engineering practices which helped in such situations

          - Ofcourse we will touch in to team dynamics as well.

          My co-presenter will cover the customer engagement and agile tranformation part as she was involved in that area while I cover the rest of the presentation. We both will be avialable for Questions and Answers.

          Greatly appreciate your help!

          As time permits, I will keep on improving the proposal


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        Intermediate

        In lot of agile teams, often times, all the team members will be doing the grooming and planning exercise as a team. Often times, defining the behaviors is either ignored, overlooked, skimped or done by individuals on their own without a common understanding as a team.

        To solve this problem, I have used this hands-on time-boxed activity for all of my teams to define behaviors as they move along in the sprint. This will help all the team members to have a shared understanding on their users and their behaviors as it relates to their user story. This is an activity that any agile team member can take and implement the next day at work.