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04 Dec 2013

Agile with lastminute.com

by Melanie Franklin

Practical insight into how agile projects work

I attended a fantastic event arranged by Agile London and hosted by lastminute.com who gave us a summary of their agile journey over the last two years.

Can IT and the Business work together?

As ever, I absorbed the information from my perspective, which is how to encourage greater collaboration between IT and those in the business, and how to introduce more flexibility into creation of project deliverables. This is what I learnt, I hope you find it useful.

Filtering new ideas

It’s unlikely that you will have a shortage of ideas for what you should be doing but it’s critical that you are spending time on the right ideas. Create an agile process that is visual and readily accessible across the business to show what you are working on so that anyone can see what is happening and put forward their ideas for what else can be done.

Listen to the Customer

To get the external customer viewpoint go out and talk to customers. Create a visual of what you are trying to do and talk people though it. Don’t spend money investing in models and pro types until you have shown people your ideas in a low tech way. Use real data about what is happening in your organisation to identify new ideas. For example, cut the data in many different ways to assess how, when and why your customers are buying what they are buying and how often they are buying so you work out how to improve these measures.

Follow the money

Keep everyone who is a part of your agile team focused on the bigger commercial picture by ensuring they are measured on their contribution to commercial metrics and not on the number of deliverables they create each week. Use these metrics in each and every idea evaluation sessions to increase the number of ideas that are approved because they are expected to deliver real improvements to the business (accepting that their will always be a few favorites that slip through the net!)

 ‘Go-live’ as often as possible

Simplify the go live process so that iterations of your solution can be used in the live environment as quickly as possible. Lastminute.com shared a metric where they can get a new idea into their production environment within 29 minutes which gives them over 43,000 – yes 43,000 opportunities to go live every year which gives them over 43,000 opportunities to learn what is having a positive impact and what is not delivering the desired improvements.

A big thank you to Billy Jenkins for arranging the evening with his team and John Crosby at lastminute.com (travelocity) for delivering a memorable speech.

Melanie Franklin
4th December 2013
agile, lastminute