Agile in the manufacturing industry

Oceaneering is a multinational company that deals with products that are used from the bottom of the sea to the farthest corners of space. The location in Utrecht develops, produces and maintains logistics solutions with automatically controlled vehicles (ACVs). This includes distribution centers where an ACV reads barcodes from pallets, collects pallets from the automatic loading and unloading system, and sorts them in rows on the floor. In this case, the ACV replaces the forklift transport that used to be used to unload trucks.

The beating heart of an ACV is SuperFROG, the control software that coordinates ACV vehicles and controls the total transport. The ACVs use the vehicle software cFROG. In addition, there are other modules that are being developed within Oceaneering, such as middleware solutions for SAP interfaces of customers. In addition to developing software, electrical engineering, mechanics and assembly also play a role in the production of the ACVs.

Since January new teams have been formed, with a consultant from Improve being a full-time Scrum Master of three teams. Together with a colleague Scrum Master, he has made a start with Agile working in the software department. In the beginning, the focus was mainly on “just starting with Scrum” and filling a product and sprint backlog. As a result, the team got into an iterative rhythm, making the work easier to plan than before. Due to external work at clients, not all project members are always physically present together in Utrecht. Due to this distributed form of Agile working, extra attention is required for clear and transparent communication within the teams. For example, the Confluence tool is consistently used for explicitly recording basic information (quality agreements, presence of team members, etc.), but also for all kinds of question-and-answer matters and blogs are written about a customer’s experiences in order to actively share knowledge.

In addition to the “standard” activities such as facilitating Scrum events, the Improve consultant at Oceaneering also plays an active role in propagating the Agile philosophy among the teams, so that they understand what it entails in concrete terms and what is expected of the team members. He also helps various (software and project) managers with the transition to Agile working.

A challenging consultancy job in a complex and innovative environment.

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