|An insight into Labs² Operations|
Interview with Project Owner Mathias Thinsz
Hi Mathias, What are your tasks at Labs²?
Hi, I’m Product Owner of BRIKKS, as our product is called.
What is BRIKKS?
Briefly, BRIKKS is a system that facilitates for subscribers to order broadband, telephony and TV in a simple automated manner. The system controls the hardware, manages customer support and invoicing, and everything pertaining to this.
What is the Product Owner’s task?
It is one of the roles within the Scrum development methodology. Product Owners have ultimate responsibility for representing the interests of the customer. In consultation with the customers, I identify and prioritise the feature required, and when to implement it. As Product Owner I answer queries from the Development Team and help them to compile the necessary information from the customers. I also answer customer questions relating to the status and features of the system.
How do you organise your work?
As previously mentioned we work according to a development methodology called Scrum, which is perfect for software development and suits us our needs. Scrum is all about doing the right things. By that I mean to prioritise high business value in relation to the work load. This means that productivity is improved while maintaining a high quality level without increasing the workload of the developers.
We work in short development cycles called sprints, and we have empirically come to the conclusion that three week cycles are best for us.
A burndown chart. Data is fetched continuously from the project management system and shows how much work is remaining on the actual sprint. The diagram is used to check that everything is according to plan.
So a new version of BRIKKS is released every three weeks?
Yes, we’ve decided that the best thing for us is to release a new version of the product at the end of each sprint. This enables us to quickly deliver the new features that are most important for the customer.
How are the work tasks divided?
Once we’ve decided which feature to be developed the tasks are allocated to the various development teams of 5-7 people. The idea of smaller teams is that they work optimally at a communicative level. The development teams are self-organising. The team is responsible for the tasks they take on board in a sprint and they organise their work themselves.
To assist them they have a Scrum Master. He or she is similar to a project leader but as the team is self-determining, their sole task is to ensure adherence to the methodology, synchronise the work with external parties and remove all obstacles to allow the team to work as effectively as possible.
How do you compare BRIKKS with other systems on the market?
BRIKKS focuses on the broadband sphere. I often think that other systems focus too much on the technology. By this I mean that BRIKKS has a very good and competent way of solving how suppliers wish to offer their services and how subscribers wish to purchase them. BRIKKS of course connects the customer to the required service but we solve the technology from a business perspective.
What is the best part of working at Labs²?
I must say that our working method within the Scrum framework makes the job very motivating. In addition, BRIKKS is an exciting product on an exciting market that is still relatively young. There is enormous potential in the rest of the world and I think we will have lots to do on new markets.
Interviewed by Fredrik Wildt