Agile Scores A Clear Win: FIFA World Cup 2014

Learn more about Joe Hanousek.

Fútbol Para Todos. Football is for everyone!

On July 13, 2014, I, the Agile Archer, arrived in Buenos Aires ahead of Go-Live week for my Accounts Payable (AP) On Demand project.  I was hoping for 2 wins, one for Argentina (although my mother is German born…Sorry, Mom!) and a win for Agile.

argentina - flag - national
Argentina Flag–Image taken by Joe Hanousek, The Agile Archer

In Argentina, football truly is for everyone, it’s even woven into the politics of the presidency.  On this day, Argentina was playing Germany for the World Cup.  Everyone was dressed in blue and white, Argentine flags were draped everywhere, and the country was abuzz with talk of Lionel Messi.  This was a fun experience and one I will always remember, but, indeed there was a job to do.

As an engagement manager, my mission was to go-live of Multiradio’s Esker on Demand AP implementation, integrated with SAP.  We started the project earlier in the year when Buenos Aires was in the warmth of early fall.  Now it was winter, and we were ready to see if we had made the right choices.  Some time ago, our professional services team went all in with Agile.  Our sales team introduced Multiradio to the concept early on, and I described the process at the beginning of the project, achieving buy-in from their CFO Monica Melito, who is no stranger to project implementations related to SAP.  See her profile here.

At the start of this project, we held a a planning workshop at Multiradio’s office in Buenos Aires, where we defined a list of user stories for the backlog.  Then Multiradio decided on the minimum set of user stories required to “go-live” with the implementation, and we set a “go-live” date.  In the old world of waterfall project implementation, Multirado would not have celebrated their go-live until all of the users stories were completed, which would have put their “go-live” somewhere around the end of the year.  Yet, here we are in July with the users:

  1. Realizing the productivity gains 6 months early
  2. Providing important feedback to the implementation team
  3. Gaining system knowledge
  4. Unknowingly achieving change management “buy-in”

Wow!  Using Agile methodology for this implementation, Multiradio was able to get their hands on the system immediately and test each user story as it was developed. During the development process, six additional user stories were identified and reprioritized into the back-log with the original stories.  In the week after the World Cup, the Multiradio team documented 11 new user stories, which were also included into the agile implementation.

During a morning session complete with rolls and mate, we reprioritized the backlog again with all of the new user stories. Features needed were identified early by the users themselves!  This final
AP on Demand solution will look very different compared to a solution that would have followed a waterfall implementation, where all the requirements are locked in at the beginning of the project.  Even this final Agile solution will be different than what was designed during the original planning workshop; yet this one  being more useful, efficient, and able to achieve higher adoption from the user community. This Agile Archer and my band of merry men have returned home (to Wisconsin) to finish the newly ordered list of stories that we will roll-out throughout the rest of the year.

Have you contrasted waterfall and Agile projects?  I’d like to hear about it.

Joe Hanousek (aka The Agile Archer)

As Esker's Customer Experience Manager, Joe is leading a team that applies CX principles to all customer journey touch points within the organization. He has agile project management experience designing, managing, implementing, and supporting document workflow processes and integrating them with ERP’s.

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