Using Scrum to Implement Your Field Service Management Platform
As the focus of corporations returns to cost management and operational efficiency, we have seen a significant increase in Australian companies wanting to improve profitability by transforming their field service operations.
While it is good to see this interest in managing field service operations from the cloud and mobile devices, what we have learned from hundreds of successful implementations is that is not simply about employing new technologies to fix old problems.
Our experiences, and those of our software partner ServiceMax in their collaboration with Tyco (https://youtu.be/hwE_UnAVxa8) are that understanding the field workforce and their capacity for change is an important and sometimes neglected factor. Successful change is about software technologies for sure, but also requires broad support from your field workforce (by involving them in the change) and executive buy-in and leadership to drive forward the change program.
Two elements of successful change management (discussed in the Tyco story), that reflect ProQuest’s agile approach to ServiceMax implementations are:
1) Reducing the gap between when the change is introduced and the change is adopted.
2) Making user acceptance testing an essential part of the change process to ensure the change reflects the way your people work by making them part of the build for the new system.
These two elements reflect the importance of maintaining a disciplined and agile approach (i.e. Scrum) for project implementations, not just when things are going well, but also when there are challenges in the project. Scrum is an agile methodology that can be applied to nearly any project; however, the Scrum methodology is highly applicable to cloud development projects such as ServiceMax implementations.
The purpose of the SCRUM framework is to:
- capture the best and most recently understood version of your company’s business requirements and address them with the best possible implementation of ServiceMax,
- provide complete and continuous transparency on the progress of the project,
- reduce risk and uncertainty in project delivery,
- deploy (regularly and often) significant business value to your company,
- provide a rewarding and motivating project experience for your employees, and,
- establish a platform for further incremental improvements over the life of the system. Your needs will evolve and the system needs to support rather than hinder such change.
SCRUM takes our customers on the most efficient and transparent journey to achieving your goals, while accomplishing quick wins and user buy-in through incremental implementations (Sprints). A Sprint is completed every two weeks, during which a potentially shippable product is implemented.
The first Sprint will likely include confirming the requirements of the project with users and management, and testing these against the scope of work for the first implementation. Later Sprints may include testing for SAP or Google calendar integration, setting up IPAD functionality to email customer summary break-fix or Preventative Maintenance Service Reports, or setting up workflow to notify inventory administrators of parts requests.
Whatever the nature of each Sprint, user acceptance testing is built into each stage of the project. This is what brings your field workforce ‘into to the tent’ as they become an integral part of the implementation process. This means the field engineers who are most familiar with the processes you are planning to change can quickly identify issues within each Sprint, before the system is fully implemented; thereby reducing the risk of failure en route to successful implementation.
We have seen the results of so many projects where the consulting company has come in offering an agile approach, only to fall back to the older style waterfall approach, and then failed. Or produced a mad scramble to the finishing line with a compromised end result.
This is why we ensure diligent adherence to the Scrum process with all of our projects.
This is the first of a series of discussions about the value of enthusiastically applying an agile approach to Force.com implementations. We’d welcome your comments about your experiences of implementing cloud-based projects to assist you with applying ServiceMax or Salesforce solutions to improve your business performance.
What do we offer innovative companies in Australia and New Zealand?
ProQuest Consulting is a strategic implementation partner for ServiceMax in Australia and New Zealand. ProQuest is focused on increasing the competitiveness of Australian and New Zealand industries that wish to transform their service businesses.
Using our agile approach to project delivery, we ensure an efficient and rapid implementation of ServiceMax and a reduction in your project risk.
ServiceMax is a complete end-to-end solution. ServiceMax provides a full suite of cloud-based field service management solutions ranging from contract entitlements, scheduling and workforce optimisation, to inventory, depot repair, service parts and reverse logistics; all natively integrated with Salesforce.com’s customer relationship management capabilities. The solution can be accessed via a range of mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones or laptops. It also includes cutting edge features such as social collaboration and real-time customer and partner portal access.