Case Study: How we rescued a start-up project within 3months

Date posted: 15th March 2023blog-post-cover

Our client, the CEO of a successful SaaS SEO management tool for SEO agencies, had previously built an outdated version of the product himself. He had put together a scrum team to develop the next version of the product using modern programming frameworks. However, 18 months later, he found himself running two applications in parallel, as users preferred the outdated version and wouldn't migrate to the newer version of the product due to an unending list of bugs in the new product. The relationship between the CEO and the developers had deteriorated to the point where the team could no longer deliver usable software.Our engagement with the client began with interviews with the CEO and every member of the Scrum team to understand the issues they were facing. We identified several challenges, including

  • The CEO's installation of keyloggers on developers' laptops and spending four hours every week reviewing the key logs before paying invoices.

  • The developers were consistently working extreme hours to try to make the CEO happy, but nothing they did seemed to please him.

  • Every product backlog item seemed important, and priority wasn't transparent to the developers.

  • The team had very long and painful planning meetings plagued with arguments between the CEO and the developers.

  • Despite customers' increasing dissatisfaction, they were still happy to leave feedback for the newer version of the tool.

Over the first two weeks of our engagement, we facilitated an agile and scrum refresher course and subsequently co-create a number of experiments with the entire scrum team. Some of the experiments are

  • A one-week sprint due to the frequency of customer feedback being received by the support team.

  • Supported the CEO in fulfilling the Product Owner accountabilities. The CEO focussed on reordering the product backlog influenced by customer feedback and product goal for the current quarter.

  • Drop the use and review of keyloggers, essentially asking him to trust the team. This was done to help the CEO focus on outcomes and not outputs.

  • In response, the team agreed to collaborate with the CEO to create a weekly sprint goal as a focus for the Scrum team.

Within the first four weeks of our engagement, we were able to turn the organisation around, resulting in the following:

  • The product Net Promoter Score (NPS) kept increasing week on week.

  • The Scrum team was happier and could consistently deliver the sprint goal.

  • The CEO was very happy with the outcomes, and 12 weeks later, the last customer on the older system happily migrated to the new version of the system.

We were pleased that we were able to use the Scrum Framework to deliver valuable outcomes for this client, and our engagement with the client ended on a high note.

Credit: Pic from Jon Tyson on Unsplash