Last week we ran our 9th Program Increment Planning Event @Quyntess (PI Planning or "PIPE" in Agile language). In short this defines the outline for the work for the next three months for the agile teams, structured as Agile Release Trains and executed in three weeks sprints in our case. Simply put, these define the content of the work that will be delivered. In this process my Agile role is that of a "Business Owner". Reviewing our backlog for this Program Increment, I wanted to answer the following question: Are we actually building the things that our customers need today, or are we building things they needed a year ago?
Running a query on the the create date of all the tickets I found that 88% of them were less than three months old. So, this means they were not in the backlog before our previous Program Increment. Customers really appreciate this "freshness". No need to explain that business conditions and business processes in supply chains are very volatile these days and working with tools that were built and designed for company. What do you see in your business environment?
Of course, you can challenge this and say "easy if you do customer specific work", but this is not the case. We have a portfolio of 12 Supply Chain Apps that customers can activate on demand, so not everyone uses the same or all apps. Depending on the age of the app itself it may have more or less features and indeed, some are used by more customers than others. Some even by a single customers. Every feature however is released on demand with a switch in the back-end. If you don't switch it on, you don't see it, or it does not work for you. So, there is actually only one version of the app of all customers.
If you look at your current supply chain application landscape, consider where you are today in terms of agility. What we see happening a lot in ERP roadmap driven corporate environments is that customers try to achieve more agility with MS Excel spreadsheets and BI tools or small bolt-in mini applications for a specific role or process, while their ERP legacy systems and projects calendars are based on oil tankers like roadmaps. Do you recognize this?
I would love to talk about this topic and strategize on practical and concrete strategies for the future of Supply Chain Management applications, how they blend in with ERP and other legacy systems, how they can work as composable applications together in stead of band-aid one trick pony bolt-on portals creating disjointed user experiences. Feel free to share your perspectives in the comments or reach out to me with a direct message!