Guiding the Transition to Agile Scrum

Moving to Agile improves quality, increases customer satisfaction, and develops a culture of continuous improvement.

Challenge

Our client, a large international retailer, wanted to implement the Agile Scrum methodology within their BI project teams to increase customer focus and improve customer satisfaction; internal customers were often frustrated with the “speed and quality” of BI deliverables. Implementing this change internally was difficult since the BI team had very limited experience with the Agile framework — there was no understanding of the practices or cadence of Agile iterations, nor was there a process cycle for continuous improvement.

Approach

Plaster Group provided consulting expertise in the implementation and practice of core Agile Scrum disciplines on two separate BI project teams, introducing Scrum processes and artifacts as well as providing guidance as Scrum Masters.

Solution

With direction and leadership from Plaster Group, the BI Project teams began participating in daily scrums, doing iteration planning and product backlog grooming, and holding sprint retrospective meetings. The client was introduced to and quickly became familiar with Scrum artifacts such as the product backlog, sprint backlog, and the daily burn down chart.

Results

As the client refined these skills over a number of iterations, there was a marked increase in customer satisfaction by more closely meeting customer expectations due to participation in a more collaborative environment, better estimates, and delivering working software more frequently. The emphasis shifted from rigidly relying on best practices to one of continuous improvement. The transition required a significant cultural change for our client culture, and Plaster Group garnered gratitude from IT BI Leadership for successfully spearheading a difficult transition to Agile.

Demand Fulfillment Analytics Platform Ensures On-time Order Fulfillment

Challenge

Our client’s Business Intelligence solution lacked sufficient capabilities to determine optimal supply chain operations. Although data was available to analysts, it was stored in multiple locations and there were consistent issues in data report timing from data sources so data was neither aggregated in a cohesive manner nor delivered on time.

Additionally, analysts were required to switch between several reporting platforms to communicate results to the business.

The resulting inefficiencies created extra effort for analysts and either the reporting of contradictory information or untimely information delivery. This resulted in added cost to the business, inadequate predictive analysis capabilities, and ultimately gaps in inventory at our client’s stores. The bottom line: unhappy customers.

Our client called on Plaster Group’s Data & Analytics consultants to provide subject matter expertise in supply chain analytics, develop methods to ensure effective collection and dissemination of this mission critical data, and to replace the legacy BI solution.

Approach

Consultants from Plaster Group met with our client’s business and technology leaders to assess the strengths and weakness of the legacy system and related processes, and to understand the desired capabilities of a new BI platform. Plaster Group worked closely with our client to review and revise order fulfillment business process and metrics to ensure carriers are more accountable for their performance for on-time order delivery.

Solution

Plaster Group consultants managed the replacement of the legacy SQL [Server] database with an Oracle Database and incorporated additional analytic functionality by leveraging tools our client already had in-house. Data was consolidated into a single data mart, eliminating issues commonly encountered when writing reports using disparate data across multiple systems, and analysts were provided with a single set of reporting tools with which to communicate their evaluations.

Additionally, Plaster Group created dashboards, scorecards and reports with updated business metrics, and provided our client’s functional teams with thorough training on the new system, ensuring our client would be capable of fully applying the solution’s strengths after Plaster Group transitioned the application to the client.

Results

The new solution gave business users enhanced reporting on a single platform and complete supply chain visibility to ensure on-time order delivery. Our client was able to substantially reduce waste in customer fulfillment and ensure that carriers are more accountable for their performance for on-time order delivery, resulting in faster order fulfilment, increased customer satisfaction, and higher revenues.

Technologies

  • Oracle Database 11g
  • Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
  • Linux Server
  • Windows