Crown Relocations – Offshore Development Center
Crown Relocations is a division of the Crown Worldwide Group. Crown’s global team of 3,000 professionals deliver a full range of relocation services, serving more than 2,000 corporate clients and 100,000 transferees and their families each year.
Crown faced several issues with its previous Indian IT outsourcing vendor. There was a lack of transparency which led to poor system performance and response. This seriously affected project deliverables in terms of quality and timing.
Crown looked to Bamboo to help create business value by lowering the costs of development while achieving higher productivity.
The team had to be fully transparent in development and project planning, and provide top quality software products to improve the performance and stability of the existing legacy systems, which enables Crown to run its relocation services from end to end.
(The system enables Crown to run its relocation services from end to end. It starts from allowing users to log down a customer inquiry, and then schedule and arrange a survey on the customer's home to collect detail relocation inventory and information. After the survey, users then calculate the quotation and provide customers with different service options. When the customer accepts the quotation, the system will then confirm the transaction from “Enquiry” to “Relocation” and generate a series of tasks to ensure Crown staff follows detail workflows to manage the Relocation. Finally, Crown staff input the actual cost into the system, which will then generate and send out invoices to customers.)
- Bamboo set up a new Offshore Development Center (ODC) team to take over Crown’s existing and legacy systems. A smooth transition was of the utmost importance, and it was critical that Crown’s 24-7 global business operation was not impacted by the transition.
- To ensure a smooth transition, we defined the process of setting up the source code baseline. We tested the baseline thoroughly and then took over the project development completely.
- Bamboo developed our own project management methodologies, which included a series of software tools to provide the highest level project transparency.
- The Project Management Tool (PMT) is a proprietary software tool that serves as a collaboration platform between the ODC and client teams. It covers all the stages of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) including:
- Requirement Management: PMT manages bugs, new feature requirements and tasks. Requirement tickets are created by the client and analyzed by our Systems Analyst. All the evidence of requirement confirmation and requirement changes is recorded and tracked.
- Project Planning and Version Roadmap: We plan each iteration by selecting requirement tickets into each version and then confirming the scope with client. Both ODC and Crown teams can see a clear version roadmap for future iterations.
- Project Monitoring: Developers log in their work log into PMT every day for every task/requirement that they perform. PMT provides a series of reports and dashboards to the project management team to reflect the project progress and health status. It raises alerts if pre-defined status criteria are triggered.
- Testing Phase: Testers report bugs into PMT and reopen bugs/requirements if they are not addressed. Re-open counts are traced to evaluate development efficiency.
- The Crown team introduced TestLink to manage test cases and requirements. TestLink works seamlessly with PMT to ensure test cases are developed for each requirement and reviewed by all parties in a remote model. TestLink provides a series of reports to feedback test progress and test quality.
- By utilizing the software tools we are able to collect detailed and complete data to feedback the development quality and testing quality by precise metrics and to continuously improve.
- Using Bamboo’s Quality System (BQS), we developed a customized Crown ODC Quality System (CQS). The ODC team is audited at every iteration by an independent Bamboo QA manager. Audit reports are sent to Crown-Bamboo project steering committee members.
- A satisfaction survey is conducted at every iteration to collect feedback from the client. Scores are given for certain aspects to evaluate the team’s performance in past iteration. We send out project status reports weekly and conduct quarterly steering committee meetings. In addition, members from both teams communicate with each other daily via instant messenger.
- Talent is a vital factor in maintaining high quality. We put in place hiring policies and training programs to ensure that we have the best people for the job. Programs include aptitude tests at interviews, a shared knowledge database, training for new developers, and English lessons to ensure that the ODC team is able to communicate fluently with the client team.
- The ODC team continuously improves the system to a higher level. Examples of the improvement requirements include SQL query optimization, system technical structure refactor that makes the system more flexible and more robust; enhancing the UI usability to make the system much more user-friendly.
- Code reviews are strictly conducted by our team leaders and all solution designs approved by system analysts. We control the development quality in ODC level and all functional teams comply with the same standard and development guideline.
- Our ODC developers are divided into several small functional teams to focus on different modules to develop their business understanding and expertise.
- We introduced automation tests which significantly improved our test efficiency and quality.
- The ODC successfully took over the development. We delivered the first iteration release after two months of knowledge transition and ODC initiation phase, and iteration 2 to the highest quality and client satisfaction levels.
- Provided full transparency to Crown via PMT, from project planning, to development progress and effort distribution. This has far exceeded client expectations.
- Improved system performance and stability, and enhanced the system structure flexibility, leading to better experience for Crown’s end users. For example, some of the outstanding legacy low performance operations in the system such as Search Invoice used to take as long as nine minutes or more. It is now significantly reduced to around three seconds.
- Seamless communications between the ODC and client teams via PMT ensured that miscommunication is eliminated (the team has an average rework rate of around five to eight percent), resulting in top quality and productivity.
- Reduction of costs while increasing productivity – The ODC team is made up of 15 members compared to the previous team of 50.
“Bamboo took over the complex system seamlessly and our 24-7 global business operations were never impacted by the transition. Bamboo had also successfully fixed some complex performance issues.”
Crown Worldwide Group