Success story of implementing and scaling agile in fast paced payment solution provider using Yodiz

Guillaume Pousaz, Serial Entrepreneur, Agile Evangelist, Founder and CTO   

Checkout grows from a team of 5 people to 84+ team members, with offices in UK, Mauritius and Singapore. Checkout at the forefront of the online payment solution, developing the most innovative payment solutions to cover both domestic and cross-border needs.

Discussion with Checkout CTO and Founder on how Yodiz is helping their teams to become better organized.

The reality is, today we are more precise then ever in our ability to deliver feature for our sales people, or clients. Simply because we are able to estimate better and calibrate properly, that’s been main benefit of agile for us.

What role Yodiz plays in your Agile journey?

Yodiz brought a lot of structure that we didn’t have in past. Allowing us to achieve our goals with lot more certainty and structure. The collaboration within the team has improved greatly. If somebody is facing challenges and get little bit slower, people come to help them. Comments allow them to be lot more interactive. We have asked people now to try document as much as possible through Yodiz, add their questions, and upload files in Yodiz. We have much deeper use of the system then we had in the past.

What aspects of Yodiz you like most

Yodiz boards are very visual and it is very easy to follow progress of sprint and each team member. It allows us to see how well the team is progressing, but more importantly it’s generating a good community feel. We have global teams, so developers who are working in one region of the world now easily feel that they are part of the bigger picture. People are more part of the projects this way then they are if they work on a feature and don’t see rest of the features. When you are able to see everything that is going on and you have access to interact with other people, it generate lot of positive energy and there is no question that Yodiz is helping us to achieve it. This interactive way of working is actually boosting moral of team, which is very important.

We clearly have seen some of the stunning improvements in the Yodiz platform in last few months. The way you have integrated the bug tracker, there are lots of things that are actually really nice. There is a big challenge for me now as I the interim CTO, in a sense to keep pushing my developers to use all the tools that you are actually developing for them through the Yodiz platform. It’s about challenging them a little bit. We can clearly see that you are using your own tool to develop it further.

Yodiz is self-driven, I just give access to the management in London and they can log in to see the sprint completion and what we are doing. Overall it allows us to be more structural then in the past. I think that’s the key benefits. Structure brings efficiency, and it ultimately makes the whole cost of technology lower.

It’s also a lot of pleasure to look at all the sprints that we have already done. It’s a good way to keep track of everything that we have achieved. We like to just go and browse through all the user stories and sprints that have been done; it does generate some form of satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

Have you used any other Agile tools?

I can tell one thing that Yodiz is extremely friendly to use. Because I have used JIRA in the past and it was not friendly, something which is very common problem about it. JIRA does keep a log of everything you have done, buts its just not friendly to use. Its been used by many developers, they know how to use it but from overall user experience prospective, to be honest, its not something that I really enjoyed using. We used lot of different services in the past we used Planbox before we were using Yodiz. Planbox didn’t have issue tracker, had poor metrics in terms of monitoring the quality of sprints. When we decided to come to Yodiz it was an educated decision.

Yodiz simplifies a lot of our work and once again, for us it’s no brainer that it’s right tool for our team. Best part is the team embraces Yodiz and every one enjoys using it now. People feel they are more efficient, its bounding people from different parts of the world. We have good team spirit, for me it’s strengthening the team.

Why you selected Yodiz?

Originally what really drew our attention to Yodiz is its ability to combine issue tracker with Agile, as that was very poor in Planbox. Having QA team to work on same tool as rest of the team was something really important for us. Over the last 12 months, Yodiz released a lot of powerful features and they are really pleasant to use. Especially on the dashboard, there are lots of metrics. It gives you a quick view where you are in the sprint; I don’t need to go and deep dive in my sprint or US to see what’s the status. So from management stands point, this is something which most of the tools didn’t have.

Another tool that I am not using personally but I know other people are using it is pivotal tracker. It is easier to use but again their metrics are very weak. I was comparing it with other CTO, who is also from Scandinavia, he lives and breathes by Pivotal Tracker and I was showing him my stats, the level of granularity, and information is lot higher in Yodiz.

How Yodiz fits into your Agile process

Even though one want to be pro active and want to forecast as much as possible, its very difficult to have a too much of a long term view. As we are getting more mature as a company, we are able to have better time lines. We are really able to know what we are building up till end of this year. And we try to document this in Yodiz. It’s like having a macro view of where we stand in terms of development and where we want to go and that is really great for us.

Before we were not using Epics inside Yodiz, but we started to use it a lot more now .We also started using releases but its not completely adopted by people at this point. I very much believe in continuous releasing, so I don’t like to release too big chunk of features at once. I am from school of thought where every sprint should be converted to product update release. This way you can track your issues a lot easier when they go live. And if you take a step back, its not affecting too much of the other features. So at this point of time, we are not heavily using the releases. Our releases are very often aligning with the sprints, it might change in future, but it’s not in the short-term plan.

We do daily scrum meetings, like 5-10 mins. We also constantly put ourselves in question, what we did wrong, what we did right. We actually keep a master post mortem sheet at the end of every sprint. And we try to review this every quarter. To see if actually we are improving over time.

Let me just take it as disclaimer, because you release a lot of features and our developers do not have the time to go and look at everything you are doing. It’s the project manager, or ultimately myself who try to have a look at every 2-3 months what you release. And how we can implement this in our day to day. Also once again it has to be easy to adopt. Because, as I was saying earlier that people are averse to change. Even if they love agile now, if you try to change too much things when they are used to a certain procedure, changing it is always a bit more difficult.

One thing we definitely will be using is Yodiz Grab. Today we are using heavily another SW called redbend, it’s a great SW. but now that we have Yodiz grab I have to start using it my self, get used to it, and I am almost sure we will stop using redbet.

Yodiz team keeps developing the tools and features that allow us to keep most of the things we are doing in one portal. With this Yodiz Grab you honestly be our main interface for anything that is development related.

I would say keep up the good work, even as a company and also for the developers, it’s a lot easier for me to set my developers to use Yodiz. When they see you keep developing and releasing new features, it makes my life a lot easier.

Obviously your performance over loading time and everything is lot better then in the past. This release is a lot better then the previous one and a lot faster.

My opinion as a developer and as a CTO is that, there is no point in developing too many features because performance is equally important to the features that you develop. Then having a completely seamless interaction with the system. If you built too much features not every one is using them. So sometimes its question of the 80/20 rule and focusing on what’s adding value.

One thing which I know you are doing, which is extremely important is listen to your customers. You will definitely hear more feedback from me, the things we would like to see, and hopefully that will make add value to Yodiz experience. Generally speaking it has been a pleasure to work with you guys.

Would you like to add something as your concluding remarks?

And this point, we see Yodiz as great tool and I am ready to be challenged by any other tool for agile project management. So you are not going anywhere, you have a happy client.

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