Male factory worker maintaining record on clipboard

How to create a custom form with Field Elite

A common requirement for most Field Service Workers is to complete various forms and paper based inspection checklists when visiting customer sites and remote area locations.  Often the data collected is often used in collaboration efforts across multiple teams and organisations. 

Using paper forms, binders, cameras, and filing cabinets can make this process complicated, frustrating, and often, near impossible.

If you consider that, even though we are entering the third decade of the new millennium and despite the proliferation of Smart Phones and Tablet computing an incredibly large percentage of field service teams are still making use of paper based systems!

Read more about the benefits of digital forms data collection

Field Elite Customised forms

Field Elite enables Field Service organisations to easily create their own customised forms which can be attached jobs. 

The creation of forms can be done using the Web Based Administration Portal which is provided as standard to all customers when signing up for an account.

To access the form builder from Side Navigation navigate Settings –> Form Templates –> Create Form

You will then be presented with Form Builder utility which will contain an Empty Default Form and a list of fields types you are able to insert.

There are a variety of fields you can use to create all manner of forms. There is no restriction on the number of fields or field types you can choose to create forms suitable for your purpose.

If you can think it you can create it

In the example, we’ll work through, we are going to create a Simple Conference Room Inspection  Report, to be used by Facility Managers to assist in carrying room inspection reports for conference centres.

To add fields to your form simply Drag and Drop the fields onto the form.

Once you have completed adding which fields you require to your form and you are satisfied with the layout.

Select Settings tab to provide a meaningful name for your form.

You can also select a Form Layout you wish for your form.  For the purpose of this post we are going to leave it as Vertical.

Once you are satisfied with your form you can select Save Form
 

Once your form has been saved it will be available for selection when defining jobs in the system.

Summary

It is really easy to define custom forms using the Field Elite from templates module.  The Form Template module enables you to create any manner of forms your organisation may require.

One single app brings together your back office, mobile workers & customers in perfect harmony.
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Mobile Workforce Management in a nutshell

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It is fairly common for businesses to have staff working across many different locations across the country or even the world.  Engaged in various activities like  door-to-door sales, delivery and installations, service maintenance, conducting inspections & investigations or even data collection.

Managing and co-ordinating tasks, scheduling activities, planning and monitoring activities and communicating can often be challenging.

Mobile Workforce Management is the automation of the entire end-to-end workflow management and operations of any field service workers. 

Mobile Workforce Management Synonyms

Mobile Workforce Management is also known as

  • Field Service Management
  • Job Scheduling Software
  • Job Management Software

Advantages of Mobile Workforce Management

It is increasingly clear that there needs to be a certain sense of discipline and streamlining of field operations and important to automate certain tasks within field sales and operations, primarily because it helps you to track your assets remotely and ensuring contact with your workforce when required. Enabling your team to get in touch when required.

Most importantly, engineers, sales representatives and customer care executives can easily send information, scan receipts, Invoice customers and retrieve other crucial information in a standardized and streamlined manner. Assisting in regulating your business and also bringing some order to what is usually a very chaotic mode of working.

Why choose Mobile Workforce Management

Work Force Management tools help you to stay in control. They assist in automating what can and should be automated leaving only the crucial human-human interactivity. Helping you to keep a record of all interactions and important data within a database, without you having to manually go through sales receipts, complaint slips and other such details.

A Field Force Management tool is a time-saver and efficiency tool for companies. Moreover, these tools help to automate several aspects of your day to day operations, leading to an increase in productivity and motivation.

Streamlining operations, will also ensure that important stakeholders are well informed and management visibility is enhanced. Helping your business to make smarter decisions and help serve your customers better.

Field Force Management is similar to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution but is vastly different. It is specifically targeted at staff that work on the field and is intended to make their and your work more streamlined, transparent and easy to track.

One single app brings together your back office, mobile workers & customers in perfect harmony.

Cloud based solutions help you automate

 Field Force Management is usually cloud based which means all data is stored and accessible on secure cloud servers. There is no question of losing important data or not being able to retrieve something important. If something goes missing, there will usually be a backup available. Field force management tools include the software, the hardware and also the kind of training that is required for users to use it efficiently.

The software usually helps in saving and processing information while the hardware helps employees to enter important data into devices while they are on the job. Sometimes, field force solutions can also be a mobile app which negates the need for a specific or special device.

This is very important when it comes to field jobs as carrying different devices can prove to be a cumbersome job. At the end of the day, field force solutions are meant to reduce the burden on staff and not actually inadvertently increase it.

Denizon’s FieldElite Mobile Workforce management application provides significant improvements in efficiency and service with a switch to digital working and the elimination of paperwork.

All the information that is stored on the cloud can be run through analytics software so that you get the kind of reports that you are looking for to improve your business.

Field Force Management Process

A field force management tool helps you to remain in contact with your staff while they are at work on the field. This helps you to track your personnel in real time. Field personnel or your staff can log in and enter their attendance using a smartphone. You can assign that particular day’s task remotely using a web console or your own smartphone.

Next, they can carry out whatever duties they need to while you get all the alerts that you set to receive. This helps to increase transparency. You can choose to receive alerts on your phone or on your desktop.

Finally, staff can tag completed tasks with audio and images, instead of they having to type reports. This helps to focus more on the job than on job reporting. Last but not the least, location tags help you to ensure that the job is done at the right place. Your staff will not be able to take your generosity for granted.

All in all, a field force management tool helps you to track and control your staff without you having to be physically present with them and this is the beauty of this tool.

Summary

Field Force Management helps companies to reduce administration expense and improve productivity. This helps to automate data integration which is usually done with the help of cloud servers. Moreover, you can set invoice parameters that help you to also keep track of stocks, inventories and engage in P.O. and task management.

A number of field force management users also use it as a tool to engage in credit management. Banks and insurance companies particularly find this tool helpful as payments can be received on the job, instead of asking customers to pay online or offline. This also helps in building valuable customer relationships and enhance loyalty.

Thirdly, a field force management tool helps to increase planning efficiency. This means, you will be able to allocate tasks and optimize routing. All this helps to increase your ROI at the end of the day and get back the money you invest on field force management.

Finally, you will have more control over productivity and sales thanks to automation of data collection. You will also have more control over the execution of tasks and that will invariably make your company leaner and smarter.

Want to find out more?

Contact Denizon today to find out how we can your organisation overcome business challenges.

  • 0843 289 4539 (UK)
  • +353-1-443-3807 (Irl)
Ground of cracked with texture

ecoVaro to tackle water stress

Ground of cracked with texture

For many people within the UK, water is not really something to worry about. Surely enough of it falls out the sky throughout the year that it does feel highly unlikely that we’ll ever run out of it. There certainly does seem to be an abundance of Branded Water available in plastic bottles on our supermarket shelves.

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Despite this, Once-unthinkable water crises are becoming commonplace.  If you consider that In England and Wales, we use 16 billion litres of clean drinking water every day – that’s equivalent to 6,400 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Currently, water companies can provide slightly more than we need – 2 billion litres are available above and beyond what we’re using.  In some areas, though, such as south east England, there is no surplus and, as such, these regions are more likely to face supply restrictions in a dry year.

If we take little moment to reflect on some of the most notable water related stories over the past few years, we’ll start to get a picture of just how real the potential and the threat of water shortages can be.

Reservoirs in Chennai, India’s sixth-largest city, are nearly dry right now. Last year, residents of Cape Town, South Africa narrowly avoided their own Day Zero water shut-off.

It was only year before that, Rome rationed water to conserve scarce resources.

Climate change is likely to mean higher temperatures which may drive up the demand for water (alongside population growth) and increase evaporation from reservoirs and water courses during spring and summer.

The impact of climate change on total rainfall is uncertain, but the rain that does fall is likely to arrive in heavier bursts in winter and summer. Heavier rain tends to flow off land more quickly into rivers and out to sea, rather than recharging groundwater aquifers.

A greater chance of prolonged dry periods is also conceivable.  This combined with the harsh reality that no human population can sustain itself without sufficient access to fresh water.

If present conditions continue, 2 out of 3 people on Earth will live within a water-stressed zone by 2025

 

What is water stress?

Water stress is a term used to describe situation when demand for water is greater than the amount of water available at a certain period in time, and also when water is of poor quality and this restricts its usage. Water stress means deterioration in both the quantity of available water and the quality of available water due to factors affecting available water.

Water stress refers to the ability, or lack thereof, to meet human and ecological demand for water. Compared to scarcity, water stress is a more inclusive and broader concept.

Water Stress considers several physical aspects related to water resources, including water scarcity, but also water quality, environmental flows, and the accessibility of water.

Supply and Demand

Major factors involved when water scarcity strikes is when a growing populations demand for water exceeds the areas ability to service that need.

Increased food production and development programs also lead to increased demand for water, which ultimately leads to water stress.

Increased need for agricultural irrigation in order to produce more crops or sustain livestock are major contributors to localised water stress.

Overconsumption

The demand for water in a given population is fairly unpredictable.  Primarily, based on the fact that you can never accurately predict human behaviour and changes in climate.

If too many people are consuming more water than they need because they mistakenly believe that water is freely available and plentiful, then water stress could eventually occur.

This is also linked to perceived economic prosperity of a give region.  Manufacturing demand for water can have huge impact regardless whether water is actively used within the manufacturing process or not.

Water Quality

Water quality in any given area is never static.  Water stress could happen as a result of rising pollution levels having a direct impact on water quality.

Water contamination happens when new industries either knowingly or unknowingly contaminate water with their industrial practices.

Largely, this can happen and frequently does so because these industries do not take effective control of monitoring and managing their impact on communal water supplies.  Incorrectly assuming this is the responsibility of an additional third party like the regional water company.

The truth is, water quality and careful monitoring of it is all of our responsibility.

Water Scarcity

Simple increases in demand for water can in itself contribute to water scarcity. However,  these are often preceded by other factors like poverty or just the natural scarcity of water in the area.

In many instances, the initial locations of towns or cities were not influenced by the close proximity of natural resources like water, but rather in pursuit of the extraction of other resources like Gold, Coal or Diamonds.

For Instance, Johannesburg,  South Africa is the largest City in South Africa and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world. It is also located in the mineral rich Witwatersrand range of hills and is the centre of large-scale gold and diamond trade.

Johannesburg is also one of the only major cities of the world that was not built on a river or harbour.   However, it does have streams that contribute to two of Southern Africas mightiest rivers – Limpopo and the Orange rivers.  However, most of the springs from which many of these streams emanate are now covered in concrete!

Water Stress and Agriculture

Peter Buss, co-founder of Sentek Technology calls ground moisture a water bank and manufactures ground sensors to interrogate it. His hometown of Adelaide is in one of the driest states in Australia. This makes monitoring soil water even more critical, if agriculture is to continue. Sentek has been helping farmers deliver optimum amounts of water since 1992.

The analogy of a water bank is interesting. Agriculturists must ‘bank’ water for less-than-rainy days instead of squeezing the last drop. They need a stream of real-time data and utilize cloud-based storage and processing power to curate it.

Sentek’s technology can be found in remote places like Peru’s Atacamba desert and the mountains of Mongolia, where it supports sustainable floriculture, forestry, horticulture, pastures, row crops and viticulture through precise delivery of scarce water.

This relies on precision measurement using a variety of drill and drop probes with sensors fixed at 4” / 10cm increments along multiples of 12” / 30cm up to 4 times. These probe soil moisture, soil temperature and soil salinity, and are readily repositioned to other locations as crops rotate.

Peter Buss is convinced that measurement is a means to an end and only the beginning. ‘Too often, growers start watering when plants don’t really need it, wasting water, energy, and labour. By accurately monitoring water can be saved until when the plant really needs it.

Peter also emphasises that crop is the ultimate sensor, and that ‘we should ask the plant what it needs’.

This takes the debate a stage further. Water wise farmers should plant water-wise crops, not try to close the stable door after the horse has bolted and dry years return.

The South Australia government thinks the answer also lies in correct farm dam management. It wants farmers to build ones that allow sufficient water to bypass in order to sustain the natural environment too.

There is more to water management than squeezing the last drop. Soil moisture goes beyond measuring for profit. It is about farming sustainably using data from sensors to guide us.

Ecovaro is ahead of the curve as we explore imaginative ways to exploit the data these provide for the common good of all.

A Quarter of the World’s Population, Face High Water Stress

Data from WRI’s Aqueduct tools reveal that 17 countries – home to one-quarter of the world’s population—face “extremely high” levels of baseline water stress, where irrigated agriculture, industries and municipalities withdraw more than 80% of their available supply on average every year. 

Water stress poses serious threats to human lives, livelihoods and business stability. It’s poised to worsen unless countries act: Population growth, socioeconomic development and urbanization are increasing water demands, while climate change can make precipitation and demand more variable.  

How to manage water stress

Water stress is just one dimension of water security. However, like any challenge, its outlook depends on adequate monitoring and management of environmental data.

Even countries with relatively high water stress have effectively secured their water supplies through proper management by leveraging the knowledge they have garnered by learning from the data they gathered.

3 ways to help reduce water stress

In any geography, water stress can be reduced by measures ranging from common sense to innovative technology solutions.

There are countless solutions, but here are three of the most straightforward:

1. Increase agricultural efficiency: The world needs to make every drop of water go further in its food systems. Farmers can use seeds that require less water and improve their irrigation techniques by using precision watering rather than flooding their fields.

Businesses need to increase investments to improve water productivity, while engineers develop technologies that improve efficiency in agriculture.

Consumers can reduce food loss and waste, which uses one-quarter of all agricultural water.

2. Invest in grey and green infrastructure:  D Data produced by Aqueduct Alliance  –  shows that water stress can vary tremendously over the year.  WRI and the World Bank’s research shows that built infrastructure (like pipes and treatment plants) and green infrastructure (like wetlands and healthy watersheds) can work in tandem to tackle issues of both water supply and water quality.

3. Treat, reuse and recycle:  We need to stop thinking of wastewater as waste.

Treating and reusing it creates a “new” water source.

There are also useful resources in wastewater that can be harvested to help lower water treatment costs. For example, plants in Xiangyang, China and Washington, D.C. reuse or sell the energy- and nutrient-rich byproducts captured during wastewater treatment.

Summary

The data is undeniably clear, there are very worrying trends in water.

Businesses and other other organisations need to start taking action now and investing in better monitoring and management, we can solve water issues for the good of people, economies and the planet. We collectively cannot kick this can down the road any further, or assume that this problem will be solved by others.

It is time, for a collective sense of responsibility and for everyone to invest in future prosperity of our Planet as a collective whole.  Ecological preservation should be at the forefront of all business plans because at the end of the day profit is meaningless without an environment to enjoy it in!

Want to find out more?

Contact Denizon today to find out how we can your organisation overcome business challenges.

  • 0843 289 4539 (UK)
  • +353-1-443-3807 (Irl)
Portrait of construction engineers working on building site

What is work force management?

Portrait of construction engineers working on building site

For organisations to ensure they provide the right service.  In order to do they need to assign the right employees with the right skills to the right job at the right time to meet demand.

Workforce Management Background

Workforce management (WFM) is a strategy used by companies to increase their efficiency and performance. It entails all activities aimed at maintaining a steady output, such as human resource management, forecasting, field service management, budgeting, scheduling, performance and training management, analytics, recruitment and data collection.

Workforce management utilizes a unique set of performance enhancing tools and software to bolster corporate management, workers, and other categories of managers and supervisors in the manufacturing team, distribution, transportation, and retail operators. This is sometimes called HRM systems, or part of ERP systems, or workforce asset management.

Unlike the conventional outlay that only needed staff scheduling to improve time management, workforce management is now all-inclusive and demand-oriented to optimize staff scheduling. Apart from focusing on demand-orientation and optimization, workforce management also incorporates:

  • Estimating the workload and resource utilisation
  • Job scheduling
  • Management of working times and accounts
  • Monitoring the process of workforce management

Each task should be clearly defined and performed efficiently based on set engineering standards and methods of optimizing each task as much as possible. Out of this framework and demand based forecasts, workers are scheduled and given tasks, performance measured, give feedback, and incentives computed and paid.

Workforce management is an entire scheme aimed at building the capacity of workers, increase productivity and client relations, and where possible reduce labour costs.

What is Mobile Workforce Management (MWM)

Mobile workforce management (MWM) is a software-based service used to oversee employees outside of the institution’s premises; MWM sometimes refers to the field teams. Mobile workforce management encompasses all activities done to monitor and schedule the field workforce.

The entire process includes procurement, management and using mobile devices, applications and computer software. Related support services like tracking, logging, dispatch, productivity management, and other types of communication are also to make it efficient.

Companies do not have the same needs and MWM firms need to fine-tune their software and devices to sufficiently bridge this gap. Some providers are suited only to a specific type of company because of specialization, like managing the electric grid. This experience makes the MWM company suited to provide applications that are relevant to the company for them to continue operating smoothly and efficiently.

With the increase in mobile devices, applications, secured wireless networks and virtual desktop, there comes a stream of opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) and other ventures. Nevertheless, a mobile workforce needs better controls, security and support, as well as a functioning mobile workforce management strategy.

MMS (managed mobility services) is often used interchangeably with MWM, but they should not be confused. MWM is related to software and applications used by mobile and computer devices to manage on-field work while MMS focuses on enterprises, and is like a way of keeping in touch with the company, other employees, and linking the mobile while at work to servers and the database.

 

Benefits of Mobile Workforce Management

MWM allows the utilization of technology to drive productivity. Here are the top five advantages of MWM..

  1. Customer focused. The customer is the backbone of any business. The team needs to keep in touch with up-to-date information about every interaction. In the end, better client relation makes sure that the customer is always happy.
  2. Information has the power to build or destroy. A cloud-based system is easier to manage and can help with collection of data which is used to make business decisions. This can help cut costs, increase the workforce support, and identify areas where polishing needs to be done.
  3. Improved efficiency. Mobile workforce management is majorly used in taskforce allocation. If the company adopts a cloud-based work force management system, allocation is done automatically saving a lot of time.
  4. Increased revenue. Each business seeks to maximize the profit. With cloud-based mobile workforce management some operations like task management, data analysis, customer communication, reporting, and performance monitoring can be automated. This reduces the costs incurred for multiple applications and saves time.
  5. Ease of communication. Communication is vital. Constant communication with customers drives sales rates and everyone loves that. Quick communication will help customers solve their problems faster and get instant feedback.

 

Additional WFM benefits

 Other WFM benefits are:

  • Operations are made efficient as all complex processes are automated.
  • Employers learn more about worker engagement, productivity and attendance, allowing them to modify training, coaching and processes aimed at streamlining performance.
  • Automation and easy manipulation of data to improve HR, productivity and slash administrative costs.
  • It increases employee productivity by reducing absenteeism and late arrivals.
  • Boosts the morale of employees by encouraging transparency and facilitating manager-employee communication.
  • WFM analyzes market and schedule requirements to pick the right employee with the best set of skills for a certain task.

Companies which embrace workforce management and mobile workforce management have a higher operational efficiency. They have lower operational costs and limit manual work as much as possible

Want to find out more?

Contact Denizon today to find out how we can your organisation overcome business challenges.

  • 0843 289 4539 (UK)
  • +353-1-443-3807 (Irl)
Electrician with Electric Cable

Top 10 Benefits of Using a Field Service Automation Software

Electrician with Electric Cable

The Field Service Management (FSM) Software market is growing at rates never seen before if the recent statistics are anything to go by. According to the latest estimates, the FSM market is worth $3.5 billion and is expected to hit $5.9 billion by 2024.

It’s understandable why this is happening. Technology is advancing, and we all know it’s every entrepreneur’s dream to optimise the use of the available resources while guaranteeing customer satisfaction. If technology can deliver this through automation, why not? Every business now wants to automate things, and the focus is to maximise resource output. You should, therefore, not be surprised to see the FSM software industry booming. If you just considered the field service industry, you’ll realise that there are so many software applications to help with service automation, whether full or partial.

A good example is FieldElite , which helps with the management of field workers. From your desktop or the palm of your hands, on a tablet or smartphone, you can take full control of your field workers, manage scheduled jobs, and use maps to manage work assignments for the already dispatched field workers. Not only does FieldElite help you handle tasks in an accountable manner but also provides options for accounting and reports, all managed in an easy to use dashboard.

But why would organisations need to invest in a Workforce management app? Below are some of the key benefits of using a Field Service Management software.

Field Service Software: Improves Efficiency

Improved worker efficiency is one of the main advantages of field service software like FieldElite. 

Most FSM software programs allow the administrator to send tasks directly to the field worker’s mobile. More often than not, the FSM software provides vital information, including service history, optimal route to the site, the tools required, and contact numbers, among other details.

This improves efficiency by ensuring that the client’s needs are taken care of promptly. Where it’s about machine maintenance, the downtime would be as short as possible.

Field Service Software: Enhances Professionalism

FSM software programs are known for ensuring professionalism in the manner in which business activities are conducted. Of course, professionalism is attained through several factors, including working with a team of professionals. Such a team, using FSM software, results in enhanced efficiency and excellence.

A field service software like FieldElite helps you to consolidate all your business information into a single central database. With different access levels, your employees will access only as much information as is relevant to their respective duties.

An FSM software is ideal because the stored information can be accessed from any location, meaning field workers can pick new tasks while in the field, provided they’ve got the requisite tools. Instead of having to come back to the office, the employee would access all the information and execute the necessary task.

Field Service Software: Enables Resource Optimization

Resource optimization is one of the key determinants of a company’s profitability. While businesses vary in size and purpose, they all share one thing in common – the desire to increase productivity while ensuring the optimal usage of resources.

Besides productivity, field service software also allows for efficient utilization of the available resources to cut down on costs.

Field Service Software: Ensures Better Coordination

FSM software facilitates improved coordination with the workforce. The software streamlines the management of the entire field service life cycle, ranging from labour to work orders, returns, contracts, warranties, and equipment.

The idea is to bring all the company’s field-related operations to a central point. And now, with easy data accessibility from a central platform, improved coordination is easily achievable.

Field Service Software: Guarantees Higher Accuracy

Adopting the field service management software is more than just a way to improve efficiency. It goes a long way towards improving a company’s accuracy. When a field service management software is used to trace a company’s activities, all the tasks are tracked on the mobile device, keeping the managers informed of every step.

Besides, the technicians also have a free reign to record the diagnostics, quality information, test results, and the parts consumed. All the information can be captured using text, audio, videos, and still photos. This guarantees minimal to no instances of data manipulation.

Field Service Software: Improves Customer Satisfaction

Field service management software improves customer satisfaction. How does that happen? Well, using a field service software like FieldElite allows for quick response to customer queries. If there’s one thing that quickly turns your customers off, it’s delayed response to their requests. With the field service management software, however, you can respond to such requests quickly and effortlessly.

Moreover, your customers can also track the service engineer to ensure they’re well informed of any anticipated delays. With quick response time, customer machines have more reliable uptime, which is the desire of every client.

Field Service Software: Provides Flexibility

If there’s one thing that customers like when dealing with a company, it’s flexibility. Instinctively, customers will always want different options to choose from when using a service without appearing to be confined to one provision. Having limited options would also appear boring.

To this extent, it would be wiser to adopt advanced FSM software. Advanced FSM software is compatible with mobile phones, meaning users can easily manage their tasks from isolated locations. FSM software can either be device-agnostic or device-specific. The device-specific type supports Android, Windows, and Apple iOS. This guarantees mobile-friendly tasks where users can easily manage the assignments via mobile application..

Field Service Software: Stores Client History

The mentioned software stores client history precisely. All the past data, including order history, are stored separately and accurately. In so doing, the field technician gets easy access to the tools, specifications, and technician instructions that aid them in their operations. The result is increased productivity and on-time service delivery.

Field Service Software: Enables Asset Management

Naturally, companies offering different repair services have plenty of assets to store. Accordingly, retrieving a specific part out of the large collection would be daunting.

With a field service application like FieldElite, the staff members can track down all the products effortlessly using the GPS. Furthermore, the FSM software ensures excellent maintenance of assets.

Field Service Software: Improves Oversight of Field Workers

The FSM software comes with many useful tools, including a built-in GPS tracker. The GPS tracker oversees the operations of the on-field workers, providing precise details about their geographical location, actual arrival time, and most importantly, the distance from the job site.

While this might not be useful at all times, it comes in handy when you need to assign an urgent task to the nearby technician. Call it a classic example of dynamic scheduling.

Final Thoughts

With so much at stake, it’s increasingly compelling to include the Field Service Management Software in your business. With every industry moving towards automation, your business cannot afford to lag.

Quick and efficient service delivery through FSM software may be the difference between you and your competitors.

The FSM software is no longer the cherry on the cake but a must-have tool for your survival in the highly competitive market.

Want to find out more?

Contact Denizon today to find out how we can your organisation overcome business challenges.

  • 0843 289 4539 (UK)
  • +353-1-443-3807 (Irl)

Is Your Project Agile, a Scrum or a Kanban?

Few projects pan out the way we expect when starting out. This is normal in any creative planning phase. We half suspect the ones that follow a straight line are the exceptions to the rule. Urban legend has it; Edison made a thousand prototypes before his first bulb lit up, and then went on to comment, “genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration”. Later, he added that many of life’s failures are people who did not realize just how close they were to success when they gave up.

So be it to this day, and so be it with project planning too. There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to it. Agile, Scrum and Kanban each have their supporters and places where they do well. Project planning often works best when we use a sequential combination of them, appropriate to what is currently happening on the ground.

Of the three, Agile is by far the most comprehensive. It provides a structure that begins with project vision / conceptualisation, and goes as far as celebration when the job is over, and retrospective discussion afterwards. However, the emphasis on daily planning meetings may dent freethinking, and even smother it.

Scrum on the other hand says ‘forget all that bureaucracy’. There is a job to do and today is the day we are going to do it. Although the core Agile teamwork is still there it ignores macro project planning, and could not be bothered with staying in touch with customers. If using Scrum, it is best to give those jobs to someone else.

The joker in the pack is Kanban, It believes that rules are there to substitute for thought, and that true progress only comes from responsible freedom. It belongs in mature organizations that have passed through Scrum and Agile phases and have embarked on a voyage towards perfection.

That said, there can be no substitute for human leadership, especially when defined as the social influence that binds the efforts of others towards a single task.

Becoming Nimble the Agile Project Management Way

In dictionary terms, ‘agile’ means ‘able to move quickly and easily’. In project management terms, the definition is ‘project management characterized by division of tasks into short work phases called ‘sprints’, with frequent reassessments and adaptation of plans’. This technique is popular in software development but is also useful when rolling out other projects.

Managing the Seven Agile Development Phases

  • Stage 1: Vision. Define the software product in terms of how it will support the company vision and strategy, and what value it will provide the user. Customer satisfaction is of paramount value including accommodating user requirement changes.
  • Stage 2: Product Roadmap. Appoint a product owner responsible for liaising with the customer, business stakeholders and the development team. Task the owner with writing a high-level product description, creating a loose time frame and estimating effort for each phase.
  • Stage 3: Release Plan. Agile always looks ahead towards the benefits that will flow. Once agreed, the Product Roadmap becomes the target deadline for delivery. With Vision, Road Map and Release Plan in place the next stage is to divide the project into manageable chunks, which may be parallel or serial.
  • Stage 4: Sprint Plans. Manage each of these phases as individual ‘sprints’, with emphasis on speed and meeting targets. Before the development team starts working, make sure it agrees a common goal, identifies requirements and lists the tasks it will perform.
  • Stage 5: Daily Meetings. Meet with the development team each morning for a 15-minute review. Discuss what happened yesterday, identify and celebrate progress, and find a way to resolve or work around roadblocks. The goal is to get to alpha phase quickly. Nice-to-haves can be part of subsequent upgrades.
  • Stage 6: Sprint Review. When the phase of the project is complete, facilitate a sprint review with the team to confirm this. Invite the customer, business stakeholders and development team to a presentation where you demonstrate the project/ project phase that is implemented.
  • Stage 7: Sprint Retrospective. Call the team together again (the next day if possible) for a project review to discuss lessons learned. Focus on achievements and how to do even better next time. Document and implement process changes.

The Seven Agile Development Phases – Conclusions and Thoughts

The Agile method is an excellent way of motivating project teams, achieving goals and building result-based communities. It is however, not a static system. The product owner must conduct regular, separate reviews with the customer too.