MACH - software for administrative management
To make their MACH ERP software product portfolio ready for Digitization of public administration in Germany, Mach needed highly skilled software architects and developers who could complement their existing teams.
It was 14 May in 2018 when I met up with our CTO because we were facing a large new project with the federal state of Berlin. This is when we, MACH AG, decided to increase our development capacities by collaborating with CROZ. My name is Robert Krüger and I have been in the CROZOne team as the Product Owner right from the start. I am responsible for the preparation of the so-called User Stories and their order in the backlog, managing dependencies, explaining the business context to the developers and satisfying stakeholders with information needed.
In the beginning, we faced large challenges. It was not the language barrier that was the most serious challenge we faced; it was the integration of an external team in the processes of MACH in general combined with a very deep specialization in the business context of German administration. But with high top management attention and an overwhelming willingness of the team itself to get everything up and running, we managed to reach a satisfying performance within the first 6 months. It was a very steep learning curve for all of us that we successfully climbed up.
We adapted to the SCRUM process and its values, especially with the courage needed to go forward as the first external team creating ERP software based on English user stories. The ability to abstract use cases and requirements and build up solutions in the agile and most pragmatic way, was our road to success. We have never obeyed too strictly to the process when there was no clear payoff for the project and in the end for the customer. The trustworthy collaboration between German and Croatian team members is one of a kind.
The influence of the cooperation between MACH and CROZ does not only contribute to the great performance of one single team. It was a turbo injection that got MACH ready for further international collaboration. All developers got familiar with the creation and consumption of guidelines in English, commenting code in a foreign language and using new tools, like Slack instant messaging and calls, which was first used by CROZOne team. If I were to talk to my former self, I would congratulate him on getting the opportunity to work with such a great team in the next 3 years. I would also advise him to keep calm and enjoy the weekends.
MACH ERP software is a tool for administrative management in the areas of finance, human resources, ECM, and business intelligence. The E-Verwaltung (ECM) is the central component of electronic administration. Many administrations are already relying on e-files to make their work easier, more user-friendly, and more efficient. The MACH E-Verwaltung was designed for public administration and offers an optimal solution for central records management. The MACH E-File fulfills the legal, technical, and functional requirements specified in the electronic administrative work organization concept.
We started working as a small remote team who extended the Mach team located in Lubeck Germany. In the beginning, there were a few struggles and impediments that we needed to overcome, like the language barrier (apps, code, database… Everything was in German), a geographically distributed team that never meet before working as one and legacy code which takes time to understand. This was resolved by adopting Scrum methodology where requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing CROZ-functional teams.
Once onboarding was completed and impediments resolved, we quickly started to contribute and to speed up the product development.
In the beginning, most tasks were related to their ECM product line which included:
• Alfresco Share user interface modification
• Development of Alfresco backend services
• Alfresco integration with various external services and applications
And over time we scaled up our teams and started working on their entire ERP software portfolio.
The goal was to quickly onboard teams which then worked on new ERP functionalities in order to improve their time to market.
This project was a perfect example how teams from different geographical locations can easily overcome any obstacle by implementing Scrum methodology in order to bring customer a measurable value.
Technologies we used
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