Pandemic and Agility: how Remessa Online started delivering value faster and with more quality
- Squads ágeis
During the coronavirus pandemic (2020), Remessa Online, as well as several other Brazilian companies, had to reinvent itself. In order to achieve this, they relied on Objective’s work with the aim of improving the quality and the speed of their deliveries. The work began in November 2020, with 20 professionals and we have kept this journey up to this day.
Remessa Online is a Brazilian platform that offers solutions for sending and receiving money from other countries. It was launched in 2016 and, since then, its main focus has been to meet the demands of Brazilian natural persons who needed to send amounts to a foreign bank account.
With the pandemic outbreak plus companies’ need to reinvent and adapt themselves, a great opportunity to expand the service to legal persons came up. The crisis caused by Covid-19 led to a great devaluation of Brazilian real (BRL) against foreign currencies, such as Euro and U.S. dollar, and also a wave of mass dismissal in Brazilian companies.
Many specialized Brazilian professionals became available in the market structured by the new model of remote work, as they result on qualified and cheaper labor for foreign companies, which benefited from the appreciation of their currency, there was a mass hiring by foreign companies to provide remote service as microentrepreneurs (MEI – Brazilian acronym for microempreendedor individual). Therefore, Remessa Online saw in it the opportunity to use its product for companies, aiming to help these people, who became legal persons, to send and receive money from other countries through their company, with transparency, efficiency and security.
By that time, Remessa Online’s service to companies was still in a rather embryonic stage. There was the need to develop the already existing functionalities which were on the natural persons platform as quickly as possible to take advantage of the market opportunity before competitors.
By hiring Objective, their aim was to accelerate value deliveries according to Remessa’s experiment culture, improving the flow of hypothesis validation (Upstream and Downstream). Some operational problems of the business development were also pointed out, they were:
- Low quality;
- Low scalability and difficulty in maintaining the legacy code.
Those were not focal points, but also there were expectations for them being improved, and so they were added to the journey.
Our partnership has begun in November 2020, with a squad (called hive according to the context, as a joke on Remessa Online and BeeTech’s emergency). At that moment, the team consisted of: a Project Manager, an Agile Coach, A Tech Lead, a Product Owner, five Devs and two Testers, counting on the support of a Product Manager and a Product Designer from Remessa.
As the results were being perceived, we increased the teams and now we have four Squads/hives, composed of: a Project Manager, an Agile Coach, two Tech Leads, seventeen Devs and two Testers, with the support of four Product Managers, four Product Designers and one UX Writer from Remessa.
This journey from one point to the other can be divided into three major challenges we will see below.
First challenge: Locked Upstream
The first step in this journey was to ensure transparency and communication between Remessa and Objective. Such goal was set through cycles of feedbacks for continuous and structured decision making. With actions of prioritization and refinement, we overcame some causes which were the problem root: very large items, difficulty in prioritization, unavailability of stakeholders and misalignment of User Research/UX/UI processes.
Second challenge: Downstream Stabilization
With the Upstream flowing, the challenge was to start making value deliveries. For achieving this, we implemented visual management and Kanban Meetings to follow up and evolve the team’s activities, as well as a Weekly Operations Review.
After demonstrating the advantages of working with flow management and pull work system, we introduced flow metrics into Operations Reviews to show our evolution and start working with delivery predictability for Remessa’s team.
At the operational level, we have always worked with pair programming, TDD, refactoring, code standard, continuous integration and acceptance tests.
Third challenge: QA bottleneck
As we had increased the number of devs from five to seventeen without increasing the testers, we generated a bottleneck in the homologation step. This culminated in the increase of Lead Time and consequent decrease in Throughput, and worsening in the flow efficiency.
In order to treat this dysfunction, we implemented Alpha testing cross-chain and a strong WIP control, whose results we will see below.
Results and Improvements
Eventually, during our process, we were able to notice some of the projects results and improvements. We brought them here separated in four parts.
Business results (effectiveness):
New users per month: increase of 170%;
New customers accomplishing their first operation per month: increase of 158%;
Recurring customers per month: increase of 164%;
Number of operations per month: increase of 150%.
Process results (efficiency):
Lead time with 85% certainty: ~50% reduction (from 41 to 21 days);
Throughput: average monthly rate increase of 100% (from 15 to 30);
* The data were obtained by comparing the initial 5 months to the last 11 months (until March/2020).
Upstream + Downstream Communication;
Delivery decision making of higher value for the business;
Deliveries Standardization of Granularity;
Faster validations of business hypotheses.
Visibility of the work in progress, bottlenecks and dependencies;
Legacy code and platform quality (more stable, fewer bugs);