Need for change - starting from the Board
The year was 2016. I sat on the board with the other two people with sales and legal background as the only "that programmer" among them. I’d been observing what was happening, how the company worked, and I'd seen that crisis that'd got us, feeling that we couldn't work in the same way anymore. I decided that a revolution in management must take place and I took up this challenge to encourage my colleagues to understand my way of thinking. I wanted them to believe that Agile in VM.PL is possible. However, I knew that even the best Scrum Master or Agile Coach couldn't make the expected changes if the transformation doesn't start with the management and owners of the companies. Only a well-thought-out strategy, which is supported by the management can make a positive difference and increase productivity.
This situation reminded me of the times when I was a developer myself and we were making the first framework to speed up the development of portals for other clients to provide a significantly greater security. We started our work in the morning and we stayed at the office until late at night, finishing it. It wasn't because someone promised us a bonus, but because we loved what we did. Spotting these aspects was crucial for me in the context of the need to carry out the Agile transformation in our company as well. The rapidly changing reality and greater self-awareness of employees was the basis for modifying the previously practiced methodology. We had to become consistent and adapt our business model to the requirements of the modern world.
Small steps lead to great success
The beginnings were very hard. We talked and experimented a lot. This was necessary in the transformation which was supposed to get us away from the typical Waterfall methodology and bring us closer to Agile. We started treating employees as adults and tell them about the business environment in which we work. Agile also requires focusing on self-improvement and continuous work on quality. This is what all meetings and conversations are for, and those meetings are an important part of our cooperation. Nevertheless, we do not treat them as status meetings where the team reports on the completed tasks, but rather as an opportunity for the employees to draw conclusions allowing to make better decisions in the future.
Since the beginning of the Agile transformation, we have grown 450% in 3 years. The company is profitable and increases its profitability from year to year. The Agile philosophy has also helped us in the current crisis when important decisions had to be made quickly. Allowing our employees to express themselves and take part in the process, has contributed to the joint development of the strategy and has given much better results. Following the Agile methodology, we want to demand a little more from each other every day. At VM.PL, a combination of great motivation and transparency towards employees and customers is our way of success.
Agile – a solution for every crisis
Each of us has arranged some cosy place to work at home. Very often it required a little modification when done for the first time, but after a day or two of intensive testing this can work like a charm. If someone was missing their office equipment, they could pick it up from our office - e.g. LCD display or some cables. We all work on business laptops and so carrying it home was no problem. If they needed anything else, company has ordered it for them.
Łukasz Borzęcki / CEO, CTO / VM.PL