Centric partners with the retailer and grocer to implement an agile methodology and coaching project.
Centric Charlotte partnered with Harris Teeter, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co., to complete an agile implementation and team coaching project to help the retailer and grocer support its employees and better serve its customers.
The work began with a fixed-fee project to design an Agile Operational Model that would align with Harris Teeter’s culture, satisfy their requirements, and remain true to the foundational tenants of agile. Senior Architect and National Cloud Services Practice Lead William “Bill” Klos led the project with support from Chuck Harshey, Charlotte’s Digital and Mobile Strategy Lead.
Both Bill and Chuck called on their prior agile experience, as well as subject matter experts across the firm, to develop a comprehensive Agile Operational Model in three weeks. Once the team designed the operating model, they called upon Chuck to provide ongoing onsite agile coaching to four different Harris Teeter project teams. Under Chuck’s guidance, the team implemented, refined, and adjusted the agile operating model. In addition, Chuck implemented, configured, and deployed Jira so each team could effectively manage their respective agile projects.
Harris Teeter can now respond more quickly to business demands in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
“I have had successful experience with Centric team members on other initiatives,” said Kathy Weeter, Harris Teeter’s Director of PMO Center of Excellence. “The relationship between the two companies is one of partnership and collaboration, truly looking to help us succeed.”
Anthony “TJ” Felice, Vice President and Charlotte Practice Lead, couldn’t agree more.
“It’s been a wonderful experience collaborating with Harris Teeter’s project and leadership teams to implement a solution,” he said. “We are truly honored to have been chosen by Harris Teeter to partner with them on this strategic effort.”
We asked Kathy a few questions about the challenges they faced, the solution we helped them create, and the impact it has had on the business. Below are some of her responses:
What are your biggest business issues or challenges?
Our company runs at a very lean resource capacity. This requires our team members to support all aspects of project activities. The impact on projects is especially significant when there is a major system outage requiring several teams to be engaged to resolve. The same resources utilize an on-call rotation which further impacts our projects. On-call requires the team member to resolve support tickets during the day and be available for resolving severity one issues overnight. The lack of focus when this occurs and the gaps between the workload can cause project delays. Another challenge is the number of active projects for these same resources. They are stretched too thin for project work as well as support/sustaining.
How did you try to solve those issues?
Our project teams attempted to work around on-call schedules to accommodate the gaps in the workload. Leadership teams worked to try to balance the workload, keeping team members focused.
Why or what didn’t work?
With every changing support issues and impacts on projects, the manual management of the workload became increasingly harder to manage.
What technologies/services did Centric use to create a solution? What was the solution?
Centric was our partner in coming up with an agile implementation that would allow us to focus team members on specific project workloads while allowing another team to focus on support. These teams alternate on a rotation basis to maintain skill set, eliminate burn out from always being on-call, and allow project team members to support what they put into production.
Centric’s project methodology was transforming from waterfall to agile, as appropriate. The approach was to utilize an agile coach on-site to assist with training and implementation of agile on specific projects. Project teams now have a better understanding of agile methodology and are implementing true business value incrementally.
Why did you choose us?
I have had successful experience with Centric team members on other initiatives. The relationship between the two companies is one of partnership and collaboration, genuinely looking to help us succeed.
What difference or impact has, or will it make in the future?
Our customers have benefited by getting incremental benefits sooner by not waiting until the end of a project to realize ROI. Our team members are happier, working in a co-located environment, seeing their hard work paying off more frequently. Also, being focused on smaller incremental work as opposed to being spread across several projects, attempting to get it all done, has improved quality.
“We are extremely fortunate to have an executive sponsor that truly believes in the benefits of agile, and has provided unwavering leadership to her organization throughout the entire transformation,” TJ added.
About Harris Teeter
Harris Teeter, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), was co-founded in 1960 by North Carolina grocers W.T. Harris and Willis Teeter. Harris Teeter operates over 230 stores and five fuel centers in seven states and the District of Columbia.
In addition to its retail stores, Harris Teeter also owns grocery, frozen food, and perishable distribution centers in Greensboro, NC and Indian Trail, NC, as well as a dairy in High Point, NC.
Harris Teeter is headquartered in Matthews, NC and has approximately 30,000 associates.