Our client has been at the forefront of product information systems innovation for almost 50 years. In 1973, the grocery industry came together to agree on one way of doing business by adopting the U.P.C. barcode to drive speed and efficiency at retail checkout. This cooperation marked the beginning of our client’s business. Their mission is to help organizations of all sizes – ranging from large multinational corporations to small start-up businesses – uniquely and consistently identify products, assets, shipments, and physical locations throughout the global supply chain while also enabling trading partners to exchange information critical to their businesses.
Today, the beep of a barcode is heard over 6 billion times per day and their standards are the most widely used system of standards in the world. More than 300,000 businesses in 25 industries are members, including organizations in the apparel, general merchandise, grocery retail, food service, and healthcare industries. They continue to enhance their ability to provide a common foundation that moves business forward – from enhancing product information transparency and enabling more precise product recalls to improving inventory visibility across retail channels and helping healthcare professionals deliver quality patient care. Barcode Product Company (BPC) Standards offer businesses the capability to drive efficiencies today and innovate for tomorrow.
Shifting consumer habits, accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, have increased demand for new products and features to support a shift to omnichannel shopping experiences. As a neutral and not-for-profit membership-based organization, our client is guided and governed by its user/member organizations that have a direct say about the feature roadmap. They don’t build features for their members, they build it with them. In this unique role, BPC US actively brings the business community together under BPC leadership to identify issues impacting their business or industry and build consensus around best practices using standards-based solutions.
Along with its deep industry relationships, BPC has developed strong technical partnerships. and use cutting-edge technologies to preempt requests from its member organizations. They set the standard for innovation, technological adoption, and consistency in delivery extremely high. Their track record for delivery is a point of pride and they’ve used the last several years as an opportunity to deeply focus on delivering business value as often as possible.
The decision was made to adopt the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) across the enterprise. The directive was clear – organize teams around creating the most direct business value as often as possible.
SAFe is a set of organizational and workflow patterns for implementing agile practices at an enterprise scale. The framework is a body of knowledge that includes structured guidance on roles and responsibilities, how to plan and manage the work, and values to uphold. SAFe promotes alignment, collaboration, and delivery across large numbers of agile teams. It was formed around three primary bodies of knowledge: agile software development, lean product development, and systems thinking. As businesses grow in size, SAFe provides a structured approach for scaling agile.
SAFe requires exceptionally high levels of collaboration because teams organize around customer value streams. These teams must coordinate to ensure the alignment of feature delivery. The organizational unit for teams aligning to a specific value stream is known as an Agile Release Train (ART) in SAFe. ARTs are long-lived team of Agile teams, which, along with other stakeholders, incrementally develop and deliver, one or more solutions in a value stream. Each ART is a virtual organization (typically 50 – 125 people) that plans, commits, develops, and deploys together.
BPC was early into its adoption of SAFe when Covid-19 forced everyone to begin working from home consistently. First, leadership began to see a dip in overall productivity from teams that were based in both the US and India. However, the more significant slide in productivity came during planning sessions for Program Increments. There was an overall lack of engagement. Questions, ideas, and collaboration became less and less. This sparked a cycle of slipping delivery reliability as teams were finding it difficult to collaborate deeply on a consistent basis due to time zone differences. This situation was also complicated by the fact that BPC was looking to adopt new technologies and architectures that was stretching the knowledge of their Indian team.
BPC had roughly 40 team members in the US and 30 team members in India that comprised this ART. It was becoming clear that the strain between the two offices was increasing and BPC had to find a way to quickly add capacity while minimizing the ramp-up time to their SAFe development environment.
The outcome of this engagement has been increasingly positive. They continue to look for new ways to incorporate more number8s to the team. Direct feedback from leadership has been overwhelmingly positive, with a VP saying: “I love that [number8] people speak up, ask questions, and seem fully engaged. It has really made it stand out that our offshore team is largely just order takers. It is starting to make us question our offshore relationship.” The complexity of the SAFe environment reduces with each completed Program Increment resulting in reduced onboarding time and increased productivity.
Number8 consultants continue to be involved in critical development teams and are foundational to the continued success. 2021 and 2022 have some of the most compelling feature delivery years for our client. The ability to pivot quickly and deliver customer value in a shorter time frame has increased the demand on the team. Success creates higher expectations. A client leader added, “I want to reiterate that we are looking for long-term partnership here and that number8 has knocked it out of the park so far.”
Provide your information to talk with a number8 Account Executive about your development needs today and feel what it’s like to be listened to before being sold a solution.
Let us help you add highly skilled, versatile developers to your team.