On this years W-JAX I had the pleasure to host a session about explorative product development. The session was about the appropriate mixture of methods and software architecture especially, but not only, for projects in the pioneering phase. A good example of the Creative Software Workbench in action. You can see the session recording on entwickler.de (subscription required).
In 2017 PLEUS Consulting supported Yareto GmbH in the development of their new independent comparision site for the automotive finance industry.
Yareto is a fintech company that specializes in automotive financing. In 2016 the corporate startup was founded to build a brand new comparision site for the automotive finance industry. The site enables car dealers to compare credit offers in the areas of sales financing and purchase financing. Lenders get access to sales channels they couldn’t serve before.
PLEUS Consulting supported Yareto in setting up a Creative Software Workbench. The Creative Software Workbench aligns technology, processes and people in a way that creates an environment in which high quality digital products can be developed in short time.
The front-ends were developed using modern web technologies such as Java-/Typescript, HTML5, CSS and Angular. For the backend Java Enterprise (JEE) and a Sustainable Service Design approach was utilized to design and build a backend with a high degree of reuse and scalability. The service landscape was established using Domain Driven Design principles. Operations was performed using cloud platforms.
On the technical side, PLEUS Consulting supported the teams as Lead Developer. In the area of agile techniques, PLEUS Consulting supported the development teams as Agile Coach. The combination of those roles worked quite well especially in the phases of seed and growth. With these roles the company received thorough support in the areas of technology and methodology.
The project has shown that with a combination of modern technologies, agile approaches and the right people a very short concept to market cycle can be achieved, creating competitive advantages. This is what the Creative Software Workbench is all about.
Agile teams work in a widely self-organized way. This raises the question who actually takes descisions in such a context.
Depending on several factors such as corporate culture the way decisions are taken can differ.
To build trust and support for descisions amongst the team it can be helpful to understand the way a decisions are made.
In order to support that, we created a poster that visualizes the most common models for decision making. It covers the most common decision models single, consultative, consent, consensus and hybrid.
Every model has strengths and weaknesses in terms of speed and sustainability. Every organisation should find the most appropriate model or even a mixture that works best in the respective context.
Visualizing decision models helps to gain insights into the way decisions are made and thus improves fairness and trust amongst the team members.
You can download the poster for free in German and English here.
Agile is successful, efficient and (often) fun. That’s why many companies are trying to be more agile these days. Basically it seems to be easy to apply agile practices and frameworks such as Scrum, Lean Startup or Design Thinking to get started with Agile.
However in reality many, especially larger companies are having problems doing this. From my observations the main reason for this is existing corporate culture. These companies want to be agile but are not willing to significantly change their culture and mindset. They often adhere to bureaucracy, hierarchy and zero mistake policies. This approach has obviously helped them to grow and be successful in the past. When it comes to agile this causes a culture clash which is almost inevitable. These companies can be compared to Elephants. Strong and powerful but inflexible and slow.
There is another kind of animal out there. Squirrels. Squirrels are fast, flexible and full of energy. In other words they are agile. You’ll find these companies in the startup scene, but not only there. Some larger firms spin-off smaller companies in order to gain flexibility. The new companies are free to act autonomously and independently from the originating company. In this scenario the Elephant funds the Squirrel and acts as a sponsor.
There may be some exceptions, but from what I have seen especially in Germany for many Elephants it is difficult to become really agile. They often try a little bit of Scrum-but and wonder why the agile silver bullet does not fly properly for them. It is not the size that hinders them (amongst others Microsoft and Ericsson are examples of successful or ongoing transitions). For Elephants it is very hard to shift their mindset in ths way it is required to be truly agile.
This is great news for the Squirrels as the inflexibility of the Elephants opens up opportunities for them.
To make this topic more tangible, I created a little illustration which shows the difference between the agile animals (the roller skates represent agile and lean techniques 😉 ).
If you like it you can download this poster in A3 format.
If you want to be more agile and work for an Elephant company I would recommend the following options:
1. Change the Elephant’s mindset
Apply agile techniques straight away and start learning. Make sure the Elephant is able and willing to change the culture and mindset thoroughly. This might take a long time and a great deal of energy.
2. Work in partnership with Squirrels
Fund existing Squirrels or create spin-offs (also known as Corporate Startups) which act in full autonomy. This leaves the Elephant unchanged. Over time the market share might be moved from the Elephant to the Squirrel. Once the Elephant sees the Squirrell’s success, changing the Elephant’s mindset will be easier. 🙂
What do you think? If you have any other options, please send me a message …