VHB

Engineering company goes agile

Benefits

  • Supporting the transition from traditional waterfall process to agile methodology
  • Increased the team productivity with clear project and backlog priorities set upfront
  • Enabled a dynamic and efficient management of project scope changes
  • Enabled the team to work concurrently in a larger number of projects due to the clarity and easiness of visualizing the backlog and priorities for each project
  • The responsiveness of Team Agilefant

Journey

In 2014, a team of software engineers from GMB Engineers and Planners led by Claudia Paskauskas, identified the need to transition from the traditional waterfall methods to agile methodology in order to meet the demand of a growing project and client portfolio.

Since the team was not fully versed in agile, they decided that choosing a backlog tool that they felt comfortable with and that could grow with the team’s maturity in utilizing agile as part of its workflow. After extensive research the team’s choices for potential tools narrowed down to Basecamp, Rally, and Agilefant. The GMB team selected Agilefant because of its economic pricing, usability, friendly interface, and the ability to visually organize the work breakdown.

Claudia observes, “We needed a tool which could accommodate traditional up-front planning, and gradually support a more iterative agile planning. Looking back, comparing how the team used to set-up projects in Agilefant, we notice a great difference and a clear transition from the traditional waterfall mindset to agile. The flexibility of Agilefant has allowed the group to refine its agile profile and mature overtime by leveraging the Agilefant features and its iterative refinement to their full capability.”

In early 2015 GMB joined forces with VHB—a 1,000 person team of engineers, scientists, planners and designers. The Southeast VHB Technology Solutions team now is part of a larger IT group. This added complexity and volume of the team’s backlog planning and interaction with others.

“As of now, the Southeast Technology team has grown to ten professionals that are actively supporting on a day to day basis, three offices and nine different engineering practices. Without a tool like Agilefant such agility and transparency in the team’s backlog would not be possible due to the dynamic nature of the company. Our clients also appreciate the ability to see progress being reported directly from the tool, enabling dynamic interaction.”

“I would say that my team is about twice as productive as it used to be, and moreover, the backlog of what needs to get done and by when stays clear. This transparency and our productivity level amazes our clients.”

Currently, Claudia exports the Agilefant data into Excel and formats it accordingly to achieve the Gantt Chart look for the team’s projects that the clients and the management are used to. “I’m looking forward to getting the Gantt Chart being exported directly from Agilefant. I know the Agilefant team is always looking for ways to improve the tool and they do listen to clients’ requests. They have been very quick to respond to requests I have had in the past. This is one of the rare opportunities in which the project manager has a direct relationship with the backlog tool development group, and I find it to be invaluable.”

Claudia is actively working to engage others from VHB to utilize agile regularly as part of the company technology portfolio outside of the southeast region. “Agilefant is starting to become a buzzword across the company. The agile methodology and Agilefant easy to use interface has boosted interest from other project managers of non-technology related areas such as Planning, and Transportation. My goal is expanding agile throughout the entire organization and as a happy client of Agilefant, my team and I strongly recommend that others at VHB adopt it as its main backlog tool.”