REI Systems is a leading provider of web-enabled business solutions for the Federal Government and commercial sector. Drawing upon their mission to deliver reliable, effective, and innovative solutions, the company partners with clients to solve complex homeland security, health resources, and criminal justice issues. REI has led the way in creating open source government websites, such as Data.gov, USASpending.gov, and ITDashboard.
By Niki Kohari, Retrium COO
When you think of any government agency or a company that works with them, you probably wouldn't describe it as transparent and open with communication, but maybe you should. Matías Niño is a ScrumMaster at REI Systems, and his team's story of using Agile techniques with government clients might just change your perspective.
His team and their clients use Retrium together, to increase the visibility of information and have honest conversations about the progress of projects. Not only does everyone involved love using Retrium, but Matías also attributes a significant increase in customer satisfaction directly to their usage of Retrium. That's an amazing result!
Matías currently works with two teams, both with distributed members, and they partner with the General Services Administration on a contract. They operate within a broader context that uses the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) to synchronize alignment, collaboration, and the delivery of services across a large number of Agile teams. That's a lot of Agile terms to say that the environment is complex and people need to be on the same page, so of course, retrospectives are a huge part of keeping everyone moving in the right direction.
Before Retrium, the team worked together for about 6 months, and they were struggling with retrospectives because of the distributed nature of the team. Matías recalled his biggest frustration in those first few months:
We really wanted everyone on the team to be an equal participant in the retrospectives, but that wasn't happening. The people in a room together were dominating the conversation, and the remote members didn't feel connected and engaged in the process. While we had some trust in the team, we realized there was more we needed to do to encourage people to participate fully in the retros.
By chance, Matías discovered Retrium at a local meetup, met our co-founder, David, and decided to trial the product with his team and stakeholders on the project. After putting Retrium to the test, he received "immediate and great positive reactions" from everyone involved.
The client really loved retrospectives in Retrium because it enables everyone to participate and share information, and Matías emphatically noted that this increased REI System's reputation and credibility with the client, and ultimately, their satisfaction. In a business where relationships matter, this is incredibly important!
The team has been using Retrium for a while now with a lot of success. Not only has it helped their relationship with their client, but it's really brought the team out of their shell. Matías noted that, “people are more courageous with their input, so new topics for discussion are coming up, ones we would have never been talked about otherwise.”
Don't believe that's true? Well just a couple of weeks ago, he sent a screenshot with the caption:
This was the top-voted question, and yet something I normally would not have gotten raised had it not been for Retrium. :)
This is the kind of feedback product people like me live for!
Because Retrium gives everyone a voice and creates an equal playing field regardless of location, people at REI Systems are far more comfortable sharing their feedback as a result of Retrium. With outcomes like that, what do you have to gain by checking out Retrium?
Obviously Matías and his team have found some great benefits when using Retrium, but those aren't the only ones they've seen. Before Retrium, continuity from retrospective to retrospective was a problem. They were posting topics, conclusions, and actions on a team wiki page, but not everyone had access, so the follow-through didn't always happen.
As you can imagine, this was also a lot of maintenance because someone had to constantly copy and paste information after the retrospectives were complete. All these issues were solved once they started using Retrium! There was no more copying and pasting content, and they can use the history to go back and look at each retrospective. Additionally, they always have access to the action plan to keep track of progress.
Best of all, the team had noticeably more fun during the retrospectives in Retrium. Matías noted that, not only could anyone pick up Retrium and use it without training, but the process is so much more fun using our tool because of the simplicity of the product, the look and feel of the notes, and the focus on teamwork.
It's a delightful product that gives you a happy feeling.
© Copyright leancoffee.org
Matías uses the Lean Coffee format most often because of it's flexibility, and stated
I love that it's bare bones and doesn't make you think about topics as good or bad.” This has helped spur all kinds of interesting conversations that continue to build honesty and trust among the team and their clients.
Matías mentioned two Retrium features that he couldn't live without. The first was voting because it allows the team to talk about the most important issues. Second, he loves looking at the history all the retros from sprint-to-sprint, since they're so powerful and he could never really do that before. It always helps him remember the context of the sprint and what they were talking about and doing at that time.
Want to have more efficient and organized retrospectives with your team? Try two free retrospectives in Retrium and see the value for yourself!