Author: Martien Merks

How Oliver IT introduced a new Mobile Application and the Agile/Scrum approach within DNWG

Jubilee interview

In the context of Oliver IT's 10th anniversary, some clients talk about their experiences with Oliver IT within leading projects. Earlier, Paul Hoekman, manager ICT-ASP at network operator DNWG, spoke about the important role of IT within their organization and the valuable contribution of Oliver IT in this.

Now Björn van Eck, then Product Owner at DNWG, talks about the delivery of the new MOTO2 application that Oliver IT developed and the Agile/Scrum working method that they introduced. DNWG implemented the app in 2017, which significantly improved the work process for mechanics.

A renewed mobile application within DNWG

Björn van Eck, currently Programme Manager Operations at DNWG, concluded at the time that the organisation was in need of change. "Our engineers then worked with an outdated mobile application, they went into the field with laptops and had to operate countless SAP screens. That's why we started the MOTO2 project (Mobile Application 2.0) together with Oliver IT. As an innovative IT partner, they brought both knowledge and technology to this project. With the right commitment and perseverance, they have contributed to the success of this project. Today, our mechanics go outside with fully portable tablets with links to SAP, Sharepoint, GIS systems, GPS and real-time synchronization with the calendar. Oliver IT developed a very user-friendly app that is fully tuned to the way the mechanics work themselves. As a result, they work faster and are now even able to collect data. That wasn't possible before".

The introduction of the Agile/Scrum method

For DNWG, the MOTO2 project also meant an introduction to Agile and Scrum. Björn: "We were the first Scrum team within DNWG. Oliver IT introduced this within DNWG and has had an important role in its implementation, both in the technical sense as well as in project management and making people available in the Scrum team. We noticed that this project sometimes stagnated because we didn't have the whole business involved in the Agile method yet. In the initial phase, we still worked with a steering committee and project leader, which is something you don't want to have in an agile environment. You want, within the set frameworks, to give the scrum team the freedom and responsibility to do what brings the most value to the company".

Learning: switch completely to the Agile method

The MOTO2 project was not realised without a struggle. Björn explains: "The transition from the waterfall method to Agile/Scrum had a lot of struggles within DNWG. Logically, Oliver IT also had to deal with that. To be successful, we had to let go of old methodologies and really embrace the Agile way of working. I became the Product Owner and, together with the Scrummaster, kept a close eye on working in sprints. From that moment on, we connected all disciplines to MOTO2 within two years. Looking back, we can say that MOTO2 has been a good learning experience. Subsequent teams have benefited from valuable learning and our insights".

A crowning achievement at work, a lasting memory

DNWG and Oliver IT won a bronze SAP Innovation award for the delivery of the MOTO2 project. "We decided together to enter our project for these Awards. There we then became third! That is a wonderful recognition for both Oliver IT and DNWG.

That 3rd place confirmed the strength of our collaboration with Oliver IT and what they have added in terms of technology, business and delivery. We did a fantastic job! Especially considering the fact that we as DNWG were a relatively small organization, among the large participating corporates. We are still very proud of that. That award travels with me, because I don't have a fixed workplace", jokes Björn.

Oliver IT: Involved and always critical

The MOTO2 project took about four years to complete. "The project is still up and running, but after the delivery we have scaled down considerably in terms of people and moved on to the management phase," says Björn. "Looking back on the process, I can say that it has been a real team effort. Oliver IT was always transparent and felt responsible for the ins and outs of the team. They always remained critical to get the best result, without going into "yes/no" mode. The involvement with Gerben, Martien and the developers was always high. It wasn't always ideal, but at that moment they were also willing to put their hands in their own bosom. If it didn't work out with a developer, for example, they acted to improve the situation".

Special moment: the handing over of the tablets to the mechanics

"The people of Oliver IT set the bar high. They really go for adding value and delivering quality. They kept us on our toes. We just worked with good professionals who only wanted to go for the best. Then I think back with great pleasure to that special moment when every mechanic handed in his laptop and received the tablet with MOTO2, which was really a serious milestone. It's special to see that the project you worked on for months in preparation is then put into practice. We really celebrated that with dinner. You keep up with those moments", says Björn.

Looking ahead: a rapid pace of technological developments

"Developments within IT are taking place at an unprecedented pace. Now we are in the recent development that all data will be transferred to the cloud and that systems will be linked "lousely". Previously it was precisely the trend to build one modular ERP system in which everything was integrated. Something that is being delivered today is actually already outdated because new systems are already on the market. What's more, within grid management we have the challenge of implementing automation without compromising the reliability of the grid. After all, it must not happen that someone simply shuts down an electricity network. That is our challenge, to find secure solutions that still take into account the advantages of, for example, data supply".

10 years Oliver IT: Maintain openness and flexibility

As part of the 10th anniversary of Oliver IT, we ask Björn what he advises and wishes Oliver IT. "The openness and transparency that Oliver IT now has is, I think, the only way to maintain a long-term relationship with customers. It has been a smart move by Gerben and Martien to involve all employees in the issues within the company and make it a real team effort. Involved staff ultimately deliver better results for the customers, as we have experienced ourselves. I hope that Oliver IT will continue in this way and be able to move with market demand. They have always done that so far," concludes Björn.

Read the previous publications in the context of 10 years of Oliver IT:

>> Oliver IT celebrates!

>> How Oliver IT surprised DNWG client with their approach

>> 10 years of entrepreneurship: a great experience

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Jeroen Jansen Consultant
Jeroen Jansen