Toucan Toco applied a unique agile method in its collaboration with Ubisoft using Trello’s project management tool. This efficient product configuration process has become a trademark for the data visualization company.
TOUCAN TOCO’s LEAN AND AGILE METHODOLOGY
The concept behind the bestseller “The Lean Startup” is simple: build a product that answers the customers’ most basic needs. Then challenge the product with clients’ feedbacks, and iterate with a better version that takes their insights into account. Repeat the same process until customers are happy with the product.
At Toucan Toco, we simply took this theory and applied it to our own activity.
We wanted to increase Ubisoft’s satisfaction with our product’s configuration. Our mission was to aggregate and restore the retail and mobile data of Ubisoft products.
At Toucan Toco, we use clear and simple data storytelling applications for the entire company.
Most software companies in our field perform a traditional configuration, called the “waterfall model”. Once the customer hands over their brief, the software publisher enters a tunnel during the product’s development and configuration phases.
This typically means months without seeing the end user. Once the project is delivered, it rarely meets customers’ expectations. For a very simple reason: the customer was never part of the development process.
This is why we decided to switch to an agile process, as we wanted to ensure better customer satisfaction when setting up the product. The idea was to include the Ubisoft team’s feedback at the end of each sprint.
This exploratory approach allows the customer to get involved in their project, to get used to the product, and to look to the possibilities it offers. By working together with our users, we ensure that they are satisfied with the end result.
IS TRADITIONAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT NOT THE RIGHT FIT FOR TOUCAN TOCO?
The agile project with Ubisoft was a turning point for us. Because our teams weren’t using the same processes or tools, collaborating had become particularly arduous. The iterative approach was time-consuming and simply did not work.
The Ubisoft team had grown frustrated with the project. They felt the project was not going anywhere and did not see any evolution.
On the other hand, our team was moving quickly, but in a private environment. Ubisoft had no way of knowing. At this point, we realized that we weren’t communicating in an agile way. In other words, we lacked transparency.
We had meetings, calls, and emails with different people to exchange information, but it was chaotic. Ubisoft would give us recommendations but had no way to check if we had taken them into account before release during the production phase. It was frustrating for both teams.
AGILE PROJECT: A SUMMARY OF OUR TRELLO BOARD
This is where Trello came in. We decided to use this tool for all our communications. The teams would exchange exclusively on Trello in order to increase transparency and accurately track feedback.
We decided to avoid calls, emails, and appointments as much as possible. From then on, only strategic changes would be addressed in meetings.
We now use Trello very thoroughly. We train our clients to the methodology using a Trello card. We take them through processes and show them how sprints work. We let them know what to expect from us at every stage of the project and how to monitor product development.
The following board shows our project’s development, from idea to validation. The most important column is the “Backlog”, where all feedback is stored. This is where Ubisoft can deliver its feedback at the end of each two-week sprint.
They are able to prioritize tasks at their convenience. We gave them control over where the project was heading, and that’s exactly what we wanted.
This methodology worked perfectly with Ubisoft. We primarily communicated on Trello and increased the project’s transparency.
Training time for Ubisoft: 15 minutes
How the board works:
Icebox: This is where we need Ubisoft to take action for instance by giving us data sets or granting us access to specific databases.
Backlog: All the requirements for the project are placed here and prioritized by the client. They decide what the key points are and where the project is headed.
Ongoing / Waiting for deployment: This column helps Ubisoft follow our progress.
They can’t see what we’re working on in our environment until deployment, but this column shows them their request is being processed.
Review: This is where clients can give us feedback or confirm our tasks. No need to call or send us an email.
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND PRODUCT CONFIGURATION IN AGILE METHODS
This Trello board simplifies interactions. We now use this method for all our customers. This collaborative tool has allowed us to improve our communication and relationships with customers by providing superior quality products.
Now we apply this methodology to all our partners by signing an agile charter, proof of proper practices.
This charter is a promise we make to our customers to involve them in the agile project development and provide them with the best possible experience using our product.
Original article on Trello’s blog