Is My Warehouse Management System Project Done Yet?
We can honestly (and proudly) say that we don’t hear that question from our clients during Warehouse Management System (WMS) Implementation projects. It’s not because we’re perfect people – we aren’t. We don’t get the “Are we there yet?” kinds of questions from our clients because we use a methodology and process that allows us to calculate with a high degree of certainty as to when something effort-driven will be completed. We know within days of the project starting what the end date will be and we track to that end date daily.
How can we be so confident about this? After using Agile Scrum for so many years, we know that it just works.
Agile Scrum is a framework for tracking complex projects. Scrum was originally created for software development projects, but works well for what we do for our clients, particularly for supply chain software implementations such as WMS, TMS and LMS. We start with daily progress meetings where the Scrum Master helps keep the team focused on the goal and records impediments. Each team member quickly reports what they completed that day, what they will do by the next meeting and any issues they have blocking their way forward. The team members track their own progress, with each responsible for estimating the percentage complete and the total work remaining. The team members change those two areas to reflect reality, i.e., if they discover new work, they independently adjust up, or if they discover work wasn’t as hard as initially thought, they independently adjust down. We create Daily status reports for clients that show accomplishments, impediments and a Burndown chart so that there’s never a question as to where the project is at any given time.
We said above that we aren’t perfect. We make mistakes just like anyone else, sometimes silly mistakes. But we’ve found that the simplicity of Agile Scrum allows us to react quickly to those changes and correct projects on the same day that a discrepancy was discovered.
Here’s a real example from a recent project of ours that started on a Wednesday. When the Monday Burndown chart was created, it was discovered that we had included weekend days in our effort. When weekends were removed, our end date was way past the required date. Our total time was right, our effort was right and the finances were right, but our staffing level was wrong. We were able to react on the fourth day of the project and move to two full-time equivalents (FTEs) rather than one and a half. In all likelihood, had we been using traditional Project Management techniques we may have missed this until early June when it would be necessary to add another three FTEs working 60 hours a week to bring the project in before the due date.
Here is the Burndown chart before we realized our weekend day calculation error:
And here is the same project several days later after changing to two FTEs. It is clear this project is in control and will complete on the due date or even a day or two early:
Can you have really successful software implementations without using Agile Scrum? Of course, Scrum is not the only way to track implementations. We’ve developed our methodology around the Agile Scrum principles. It works so well for us there’s no reason to consider a different method. We love it. Clients love it. If it ain’t broke…
Want to learn more about Agile Scrum methods? Click here for this high-level overview and summary of the Scrum process provided by AxoSoft.