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E.ON Benelux: Using Agile to Quickly Adapt to Meter Market Changes

Next up at NextStep – Marteijn Mout who is the project managers of the ‘New meter market model’ at E.ON Benelux. E.ON is one of Europe’s largest Energy providers with over 30 million customers in 30 countries.  E.ON Benelux has around 270,000 customers and they have been a customer of OutSystems since 2004.

eon.jpgThe project that Marteijn talked to us about during this session was to support the new Government regulation which demands that Suppliers will be responsible for the collection and validation of meter data of smart meters from 2009 and for traditional meters from 2010. He shared a great deal of information about how E.ON developed their solution using Agile and working with OutSystems, SAP and other partners.

Describing the team’s experience of using OutSystems Agile approach he told us that:

  • They started with 5 iterations (sprints), with a period length of 2 weeks
  • Sprint 6 was added to address new change requests
  • Weekly progress reports with 2 demo’s after every sprint and 2 week testing periods after demos
  • Change Management requests were registered in OutSystems Agile Network (OAN), ECT and assumptions documented

 
Key challenges that the experienced:

  • They were initially skeptical of the OutSystems size and scope estimate for the project – but happy that the results were delivered as expected.
  • Intensive collaboration – Marteijn quipped that “I’m not sure how many emails I received from and sent to the OutSystems team – but there were a LOT. It wasn’t bad – but was an indication of the degree of collaboration!”
  • “We had some initial challenges on combining Waterfall and Agile methods – especially in planning – we were lucky that OutSystems’ approach was flexible on that front, and we were able to combine planning into a single planning/test plan.”
  • The greatest issue was they found was the temptation to keep adding new requirements – and it was important to keep that reigned in where possible.

 
End results of the project were a success!

  • The Customer Portal and underlying SMDR “engine” meet all requirements and more!
  • OutSystems were a good sparring partner for architectural and functional matters
  • OutSystems were flexible as promised (planning/adaptability)
  • Communication lines efficient, effective and sound – even with a LOT of emails 😉
  • Realistic planning/sizing and no budget overruns
  • The Agile approach and technology is a big success factor for the project!

 
How are you coping with the amount of inter-team communications that’s required by Agile – what tools are you using?

 

About the author

Michel Ozzello

Although he's been working in Marketing for the past decade or so, Michel is still a geeky Software Engineer at heart. He tries to fit technology in every bit of marketing activity he does - from SEO to websites and digital advertising.

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