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Product Strategy

Pentalog’s agility program: 2014 achievements and perspectives

Vasile Putina
Vasile Putina
CTO Pentalog Software Factory

Context

As you might have read on our blog, “Guépard” is the name of Pentalog’s agility program that started in July 2014. I’m pretty much sure that everybody is curious to find out what Guépard offered us last year.

This transition process focused on 4 dimensions:

  • Trainings
  • Coaching
  • Knowledge sharing and camps organized by Pentalog Institute
  • Alignment of internal processes

Trainings  guepard2

In 2014, the Agile, Scrum and Kanban trainings represented an important part of the program. How did they help us? Thanks to them, we were able to align with the Agile objectives, values and thinking. Moreover, we learned together how to better use the Scrum and Kanban frameworks to reach our goals.

For the entire period of the program, we designed a plan for almost 1500 training man days on topics such as Agile, Scrum, Kanban, Product Ownership, Leadership, Extreme Programming etc.  By the end of 2014, we successfully managed to carry out 575 man days in the Iasi, Bucharest, Orléans, Cluj, Hanoi, Chisinau and Brasov delivery centers. More than 200 persons from the clients’ (production) teams as well as from within our internal departments attended the courses. Overall, they attracted the interest of both our Pentalog colleagues and some clients that requested to join our teams at the courses. This reassured us that in order for us to become more agile, we should also help our clients go through the agile transition.

Coaching

Our coaching is twofold:

  • Assimilation of correct values
  • Assimilation of Agile best practices

The agile world is convinced that software development is an empirical process relying on a correct level of visibility. This is exactly why we offered support to various teams in order to help them with the clarification and visualization of the workflow, war room, definition of DONE/READY, burndown chart, cumulative flow etc. To the same end, the new projects were accompanied in order to make sure that they started off right and that the teams had all they need to assist their clients with obtaining the highest possible value within a short timeframe and at a fair price. Various persons benefited from coaching, which was aimed at their smooth integration within the company, assuming a new role or bringing new perspectives on their present role. So far, this accompaniment has mainly taken place in the Iasi and Cluj delivery centers. In 2015, we plan to improve these practices and implement them in the other delivery centers as well.

Alignment of internal processes

Pentalog’s Guépard transition process is more than a program. It is a credo: We are agile! The company has also undertaken to comply with the norms of the ISO 9001 Quality Management System, which was confirmed through the 2014 renewal of our ISO 9001 certification. The alignment with these practices has thus become obvious. A first step in this direction was the organization of common workshops with the participation of the Guépard team and of our Quality Department with a view to combining Guépard’s vision with the ISO requirements. The openness and constructive approach shown allowed us to learn together more about agility, ISO and the relationship between them. As a result, some directions have been approved for our future actions:

  • Revision of the courses animated by the Quality Department for their alignment with the Guépard agility program. A first iteration has already been successfully accomplished, but we will most probably need more iterations as these courses are evolving and we are continuing to become more and more agile.
  • Reevaluation of Pentalog’s values to ensure convergence with the chosen strategic direction – agility. This is a still ongoing action.
  • Revision of the operational processes that reflect the ISO requirements with the ultimate purpose of ensuring alignment with the agile practices. A first analysis step has already taken place, marking the beginning of the improvement process. In fact, the continuous improvement process is to be continued in 2015 as well.

Other events

Besides the actions explicitly mentioned in the Guépard program, other convergent activities were as follows:

  • Knowledge sharing and camps organized by Pentalog Institute
  • Workshops with various internal departments
  • Agile courses not included in the agility program, but animated at the initiative of some experienced colleagues
  • Presentations and Master Class events animated at the IT faculties
  • External events

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