Currently, under the project name Clarity Experience, A+W is developing a completely new, ergonomic user interface, initially for A+W Enterprise and then for A+W Production. The company is working closely with its customers, using their expertise and experience to achieve the best results.
In a first step, A+W has taken on the areas of order entry and dispatch in A+W Enterprise. In dispatch, there is already a pilot installation that is being tested intensively.
The Clarity Experience project is scheduled to last four years. In the first year, the dispatch module was developed and work was started on order entry. These are remarkably short development times if you consider that the developers are working on the “open heart” of A+W Enterprise, which must keep beating and remain fit for work throughout.
For the pilot users, the new elements are implanted in their familiar work environment, so that old and new input systems are provided in parallel. The dispatch module has already proven itself to pilot users in real-time operation.
Agile sprint methodology
This is all possible thanks to the application of a new development methodology, the agile sprint methodology. The development teams work in ‘sprints’ of a week or so and then present their results to all participants.
Here, there is no clear end goal – the project can and should change during the development. For example, at the end of a sprint, a customer could suggest practical changes to one of the newly-developed input screens, changes that result from experience in his working world. The teams work extremely flexibly and in close contact with customers and colleagues.
Customers especially appreciate that the results of the sprints are integrated immediately into the ‘real’ work environment and can be tried out. This is how A+W can constantly incorporate new suggestions and avoid presentation of a flawed product that fails to meet customers’ needs after many years’ development time.
Agile software development includes various approaches, with which requirements and solutions arise thanks to the cooperation of a self-organizing development team and customers/end users. It requires adaptable planning, evolutionary development, timely provision and continuous improvement, and quick and flexible reaction to changes.