It was two days of atypical training. Marcos Garrido from K21 made sure of this. Well, for starters he doesn’t follow a classic training plan with the monotonous slide show, not at all. Marcos chose to propose a more relaxed way of passing knowledge, more agile. We had an interactive training plus a massive participation of the whole group that presented examples from their own experience and questioned when they considered necessary.
This training proposes an empirical approach with real successful case studies framing the principles and methodologies adopted by Agile. These examples demonstrated how we can and should practice agility in complex and time-consuming processes, and how incremental the return of value can be in short periods of time.
In this article I present one of these examples which demonstrates, in a univocal way, the applicability of Agile in a project that at first look makes no sense, at least not for the company in study, The Coca-Cola Company.
“Nothing is permanent except change.”
Heraclitus, around 500 BC
Not just an Agile Case Study.
One of the examples that better demonstrated the agile applicability was that practiced by the Coca-Cola Company, more specifically in the evaluation process for the inclusion and launch of a new brand drink to the Coca-Cola portfolio. This new drink called “Topo-Chico Hard Seltzer“, unlike the others, presents itself as a competitor to beer and is a fruit-flavoured soft drink containing 4.7% of alcohol. The main objective of this product was global commercialization.
The average time to launch a new beverage on the market is approximately 9 months and involves a whole complex process that includes different areas of the company, subject to its hierarchical structure for decision making and approval processes.
Nevertheless, it was urgent to launch this new product. It was proposed to Coca-Cola an alternative methodology that would allow short cycles in order to correct the course, a continuous improvement to obtain an excellent response, and finally to focus on the most important which was working on maximizing the return.
Therefore, the applicability of an Agile philosophy and the use of the Scrum methodology as an alternative to the classical process was believed to be the right approach.
Copyright from Topo-Chico Hard Seltzer, Coca-Cola® Company brand.
Delivering High-Value with Scrum.
The Scrum methodology was applied with the creation of autonomous decision-making and multidisciplinary teams, encouraging the constant feedback of the management in all stages. Sixteen cycles were defined for this initiative and each cycle would comprise a Sprint Timebox with the duration of two hours in four days of intense work.
In an organization where transparency provides an environment that allows the inspection of the work done by enabling the ability to adapt and plan for the next Sprint cycle, the applicability of the action points makes possible to improve the process through the immediate implementation of the following Sprints.
Copyright from Eden Constantino on Unsplash.
The tasks, referring to the items in Backlog and previously known by the business, were the target of improvement over time, resulting from the teams’ interactions in the respective Sprint cycles, simplifying the process and speeding up delivery.
The Scrum Master focused, above all, on the role of the methodology advisor, mainly in the impediments and facilitating element. This created a conducive environment to the team’s growth and allowed them the be the protagonists in the execution of tasks and in the delivery of value.
Each completed two hours cycle enabled the delivery of many tasks, something that would take several weeks using the classic working methodology. Agile allowed to accelerate the admission of the product in 98,5% of the time, making it a success in the Brazilian market.
Currently, all beverages of The Coca-Cola company are launched in a few days, allowing an efficient response to the market needs and ensuring a favourable positioning of the organization in relation to the competition.
The essence of Agile.
Organizations must respond swiftly to market demands, and for that, the mindset and organizational transformation are both sides of the same coin for the sustainable achievement of the proposed objectives.
Agile is not a methodology, it’s a philosophy. It’s the mindset that allows people and organizations to achieve results more quickly and timely framed in the needs of the client, as a response to increasingly complex problems.
However, its applicability suggests that the organization and its stakeholders know and naturally accept its benefits and purposes, respecting the methodology adopted. Agile must be part of the organizational culture. People are not strange to change, they are part of that change.
The training made also clear that it is not intended that this philosophy and its associated methodologies unconditionally replace any other methodology, namely the Waterfall Methodology.
Copyright from Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash.
The role of a Scrum Master is also coaching, sensitizing and suggesting alternative paths that demonstrate how the adoption of a philosophy such as Agile provides an environment where transparency is a catalyst for efficiency.
Agile enables organizations to respond quickly by mitigating the risk associated to complex projects with increased delivery over time, adding value to the organization, stakeholders, and the end customer.
Nuno Manuel Sousa
Business Analyst at Polarising
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