Pedro Barreto, from Bacardi Martini Portugal, stepped down from his IT Manager position and took over a truly honest and open stance, sharing his personal experiences with agile methodologies and OutSystems.
He started by quickly reviewing his past (and bad) experiences with Waterfall models, purchased packages and several failed custom built projects. He knew that had to be a better way, and was looking for something new, something fresh, that would allow Bacardi’s IT to reach the desired level of responsiveness and agility. And they got there once Pedro convinced Bacardi to adopt agile.
About 2 years ago, when Pedro joined Bacardi, he found a CRM project waiting for him – the company wanted to replace an existing solution that had not been adopted by the sales team. After looking at existing packages (some of which being used in other Bacardi subsidiaries) he quickly understood that those packages would have the right mix of functionality to effectively support the local business and, worse than that, would not be adopted by sales causing the CRM project to fail again.
Looking back, Pedro considers such a big project to have been a bad choice due to its complexity and track-record. There were high expectations from IT, but on the business side the expectations were really low due to IT’s bad reputation (“CRM projects fail all the time”.)
As the project evolved, major features were being decided and elaborated during the development phase. Business was not fast enough to test new functionality and deliver requirements for each sprint – development teams were stalled!
To make things worse, a new Sales director was brought on board, and the project was put on hold, 6 months after it was started!
This could have been a disastrous u-turn, but fortunately, the new sales director’s energy and vision brought the missing ingredients to the mix. Sprint demos got more participants, more feedback and major features got discussed and detailed.
What were the results? One week after the official roll-out, all features were ready and being used! Today, 60 users from 4 departments are using it (literally) around the clock.
They took 6 months in the first phase, then shifted the focus and in just 3 months, delivered the final solution. “If it wasn’t for the ability to change provided by the agile platform, we would have never pulled this one off!” Pedro concluded.
An interesting fact was that, while the CRM system was being implemented, they managed to deliver 3 more solutions even if no budget was available:
- A Logistics Handling Control to replace a complex XL based process was built in 1 week with 1 developer;
- An IT portal (with a Knowledge Base, Helpdesk ticketing system, Change Management, Backup Control and News) was delivered in 4 months by 1 developer, on his free time;
- A Document Management System (for which there was not IT budget available) was quickly prototyped, shown to the business, and is currently being finalized.
The key learning for Pedro is that “as the business starts to understand that IT is able to deliver, they get more involved“.
Here’s Pedro’s tips & tricks to engage the business:
- Correct small bugs or misbehavior during demos: while the problem is being discussed during the demo, have a developer implement that small change and immediately show it to the user. You’ll get an instant gratification and WOW effect!
- Spoil key users by promptly delivering on their small requests, even if they’re not fully on scope (to some extent obviously!)
- Attract other users by showing-off what their peers have gotten from IT.
Last but not least, if you want to instill an effective agile practice in your enterprise:
- Start with small projects;
- No one will believe you at first;
- No one will have enough time for it;
- Don’t quit! You believe in it, so reallocate development efforts while waiting for the business to react;
- Deliver fast and frequently;
- Get users to see the work being delivered;