Agile Success in the REAL World

Rui Afonso of Hyfas spoke about the key success factors of introducing and succeeding with Agile projects in small and mid-size companies. In comparison, Rui reviewed the distinct challenges presented to these corporations.

So, how should one deal with small and mid-size company agile projects? Start by showing value early and often. Secondly, don’t overload the customer with decisions. Instead, you should help him and leverage a trustful sponsor.
According to Rui Afonso, it’s still quite common to find small companies with “owner mentality”, where your decision maker will want to get involved in every decision, yet is not available. When available he’ll ask you for everything within the scope of the project. So, the question in everyone’s mind was: “How to cope with it?”
Rui Afonso explained why instead of trying to start the project from scratch with all requirements scoped upfront, his team prefers to engage with the customer on a time-limited pilot project. A pilot project is actually a great opportunity to gain customer’s trust, understand his business and start participating actively in the decision making process.
In such environments, ScrumMasters (or Delivery Managers) shall pay extra care to remove impediments and roadblocks at any time and work beyond the Scrum meetings and customer demonstrations to build and adapt very early the project scope, but also to coach the stakeholders to go agile.
Moving forward, Rui took the opportunity to present a case study for implementation of an human resources performance evalution solution. He explained how key it was to present the first version of his application in 2 days after initiating the project as a way to better gather requirements with his key users, that had been quite vague until that day!
Furthermore, the extensive use of OutSystems Platform ECT (Embedded Change Technology) allowed his team to collect and turnaround change requests with unprecedented efficiency.
In summary, Rui was very happy to see his application being used right after 3 agile iterations, integrating several back-office systems with major adoption from users. And it keeps changing and adapting every day…
Another great success story of the OutSystems Platform, Agile Methodologies and extending SAP!
About the author

Carlos Alves

Carlos Alves joined OutSystems to lead engineering. In that role, he helped develop the overall product management development and support strategy. Carlos plays a key role in developing OutSystems’ business operations.


Hobie Swan

I agree totally that it is critical to “gain [your] customer’s trust, understand his business and start participating actively in the decision making process.” I have worked with project managers all over the world to show them how to integrate mind mapping into this process–usually by collaborating with them to build a map of requirements. Rather than blindly accepting initial requirements, the project manager who works closely with the client to build a visual document (AKA a map) of the client’s need almost unavoidably has an opportunity to get a better understanding of the client’s business, and how decisions are made (and by whom)! You can see a general video of using mind mapping to capture and organize requirements at http://mapthink.blogspot.com/2010/04/using-conceptdraw-mindmap-to-gather_19.html.
Hobie Swan

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