On the Road to Success with Agile Project Management in Scrum

Agile Transformation at RWE Vertrieb AG enables the Rapid Restructuring of Sales Processes

In 2014, in order to introduce a CRM industry solution in the B2B division of RWE Vertrieb AG (today Retail innogy SE), an agile project team began working in accordance to the Scrum framework. Thus, within a period of six months, the launch of the pilot installation for new customer processes was achieved on time and within the planned budget. Furthermore, the target extension on all sales processes, including the migration of customer data from the former CRM system, was completed by December 2015.

Mission

As part of the restructuring of RWE Vertrieb AG’s sales processes, the CRM industry solution EVI was to be implemented as the main component of an end-to-end solution based on standard products. It supports all processes in B2B energy sales, from the first customer contact all the way through to billing. In 2009, three regional RWE-sales companies merged to form RWE Vertrieb AG. consistency was commissioned to introduce, coach and responsibly manage agile project management with Scrum.

Implementation

In order to organisationally, financially, and timely achieve the ambitious project, new avenues had to be explored. Based on a jointly defined IT target architecture, the optimised functional and process landscape was planned and implemented for the first time with agile processes. In addition, the diverse internal and external project participants were controlled using an interactive cooperation model.

The project had a total duration of 18 months and was divided into two project phases: A six-month pilot phase, followed by an extension with a targeted duration of 12 months. The pilot phase involved the go-live of the new customer acquisition process – including the necessary market communication and billing processes. The strict priorities, which were set in line with “Agile & Lean” principles, meant that initially only the two highest-yielding products were implemented in the system. Together they accounted for around 90% of the client’s gross profit.

To implement the project, consistency introduced a scaled Scrum approach. It included a total of four parallel Scrum teams – CRM & Calculation, Product Mapping & Billing, Market Communication, as well as Reporting. The teams consisted of experts from the client side as well as internal and external IT service providers. The Scrum framework helped the teams gather regular feedback, ensure tight team-wide coordination and a high level of quality in software development.

After the six-month implementation phase (structured in 3-week sprints), the executable pilot for acquisition in a selected B2B sales area for electricity customers successfully went live. It provided important insight for the further course of the project.

During the second project phase, the optimised sales process (with all processes and products for all eight sales locations) was successively put into production in regular delivery cycles. Additionally, the migration of customer data to the new system world was carried out. Training the approximately 250 users proved to be a mammoth task.

The overall project was completed “in time, budget and quality”. It was then transferred to a continuous program for the further development and maintenance of the entire B2B and B2C process and system landscape.

Conclusion

In addition to increasing the performance of the sales processes and harmonising the system landscapes, the agile-managed project drastically reduced IT and process costs. The results of the first phase, which was completed ahead of schedule, received unanimous approval not only at the technical level. Achim Suedmeier, CEO of RWE Vertrieb AG, and Michael Neff, Group CIO, who closely followed the project from the onset because of its immense importance, were also extremely satisfied:

“We can be very proud of this project team – with the emphasis on “team”. It is sensational that a newly assembled team can act so successfully right from the get-go. This innovative project is a prime example of how our company values should be enacted.”

“The new company had inherited diverse system landscapes, which we needed to harmonise and frequently adapt. The complexity which resulted from a high-level of system diversity made it extremely difficult to react quickly to new market requirements and to launch new products. Especially in the B2B sector, long reaction times are no longer acceptable in the liberalised energy market. The agile approach supported by consistency has significantly advanced us in this regard.”

Timo Dietrich
Head of Retail IT Germany
innogy se

“The way in which the project was organised, as well as the cooperation model was what distinguished the approach from standard IT projects. All participants were able to fully identify with the project. Management truly exemplified the agile values and principals and thus, spread their enthusiasm throughout the entire team. After successfully completing the project, my team (including myself) cried tears of joy. It was then I realised that emotional investment and team solidarity are key success factors.”

Sebastian Lemke

Sebastian Lemke

4

B2B Scrum TEAMS

> 60

PROJECT EMPLOYEES IN THE B2B SUBPROJECT

approx. 5

MIL EURO BUDGET

approx. 6

MIL EURO SAVINGS PER YEAR

after 6

MONTHS PILOT-GOLIVE

18

MONTH IMPLEMENTATION PHASE