Increasing team efficiency and sharpening product management allows one of the biggest european electric mobility companies to respond to marketchanges quickly. Additionally, effectively prioritizing and focusing on the right initiatives enables the organization to be first to market with new products and services. At the time of our engagement and presently a separate organization, is a PaaS charging management solution designed for all eMobility needs worldwide. When we started working together, the product was in a bèta testing phase aiming to scale-up and go live by the end of the year. Our job was to support them in achieving this goal.
About the company
This electric mobility company is a global provider of future-proof EV charging solutions for electric cars, parking spaces, and power capacity.
When first introduced to this electric mobility company, it was a culturally diverse scale-up, with four Scrum teams and the ambition to add another team within three months. The main goal of our collaboration was to go live, start to invoice bèta customers as well as onboard new paying customers. Before beginning this ambitious journey, the teams needed to deliver a commercial roadmap and realize several technical improvements.
Qxperts has been asked to improve the Development teams’ focus by jointly creating a healthy product backlog. Besides that, multiple processes and the way of working were also in great need of a refresh. Overall, our goal was to professionalize product management practices and increase the efficiency of the four Development Teams responsible for building their platform.
We started by having agile coaches observe, explore, and understand their current situation. After that, they prepared and conducted made-to-measure agile workshops and established uniform metrics for efficiency and team well-being. Finally, they helped build the best product by creating an Agile quality mindset with a focus on backlog refinement, portfolio, epics, and team commitment.
“We set out to discover the best way to help achieve its goals. After two weeks of diligent observations and an intense schedule of interviews with team members, we had a better idea of potential transformations. The development process required refactoring: removing and improving, as well as adding several new ingredients.”
– Bert Rijsdijk, Agile coach at Qxperts
Speed up development
First, we removed any unnecessary time-consuming steps from the process to speed up development. However, before changing anything, we mapped the current situation. As their management consultant and author said: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” To map the process, discover waste, and make our interventions measurable, we created a Value Stream Map (VSM).
Ensure smooth flow and increase predictability
Secondly, we ensured a smooth flow and made teams more predictable by improving other steps. Our primary focus was on revamping refinement meetings, which are known to be a challenging part of the Scrum process. We introduced teams to a range of refinement tools, like user story mapping, example mapping, user story slicing, user journey mapping, planning poker, and magic estimation. By using these tools, their refinement speed and levels of team engagement and participation improved significantly without negatively impacting quality.
As the number of the teams increased, the quality of sprint reviews decreased, so we looked for ways to improve. An idea of a market setting, where multiple sprint reviews are happening at the same time, was picked up by the teams and successfully implemented. Additionally, stand-ups, planning sessions, and retrospectives were improved too. They are now sticking to 15-minute stand-ups, using advanced capacity calculation tools to assist Scrum masters in predicting velocity, and a variety of retrospective styles have been practiced and enjoyed.
Create a focus and collaboration culture
Thirdly, we added parts to the process that were missing. We spent much effort creating focus, making sure teams worked on fewer features at a time, which resulted in increased collaboration. In the process, we set up a war room to visualize the roadmap, conduct an advanced analysis of the backlog, and build a tool to measure time to market (TTM) and team focus.
Multiple guilds and knowledge sharing initiatives emerged, fueling the organization with innovation, education, and drive. Finally, more cross-functional behavior was seen, like pair programming, developers testing each other’s code, and writing end-to-end tests, which was previously the task of quality engineers.
“Going through numerous hurdles and obstacles was also an integral part of the journey. We worked closely together with the leadership team, stakeholders of development teams, supporting and challenging each other. In this rollercoaster, we had no choice but to become the change we wanted to see.”
– Iryna Kotyk, Agile coach at Qxperts
At the moment of writing, the charging management platform is live. The organization has significantly and rapidly scaled-up and the teams have matured to the next level. In just six months, they grew from four to ten Scrum teams! And that’s only on the engineering side. They have also become a completely independent organization.
Their development process is now 33% more efficient, and the teams are equipped with the self-improvement tools to take them further. People initiated numerous guilds to fuel quality and innovation and tackle challenges at hand.
Product managers received a series of training and coaching to level up their skills and expertise. They have significantly improved team focus and customer understanding and are now driving the roadmap towards the company’s mission.
Is the work done?
No, it never is. A transformation like this is a process of continuous improvement. They are still actively working on the change that Qxperts bootstrapped with the support of internal agile coaches.
We strongly identify with their zero-emission mission and hope that our contribution has brought the company closer to achieving this impressive goal.
By eliminating PO sign-off, and replacing double code review with by single pair code review, Qxperts helped to reduce our cycle time by 33% while maintaining quality.