During this week’s discussions, I had the pleasure of engaging with Zoran Vujkov, Agile Coach at United Cloud. And I’d love to share some insights from our conversation with you.

United Cloud provides platforms and services within telco and media product ecosystems with strong interplay.

Their streaming platform is a major player in the world of online entertainment. They offer a wide range of shows and movies that you can enjoy anytime, anywhere, whether you’re lounging at home or on the go.

Their app makes it easy to access their diverse content library, similar to services like HBO Max or Disney+. What sets them apart is their innovative use of technology to recommend personalized content tailored to your tastes.

United Cloud has ultimately become one of the fastest-growing innovation centers in Europe.

However, scaling end-to-end teams in a complex technology landscape presents its own set of challenges.

Coordinating diverse skill sets, managing communication across distributed teams, and maintaining cohesion amidst rapid growth are key hurdles.

Tune in to the conversation to learn how the teams in United Cloud navigated these complexities to sustain efficient operations at scale:

Now, let’s dig deeper into the concepts.

Peek Inside United Cloud’s Workflow Strategies

The company oversees more than 30 teams, employing a hybrid of Agile frameworks and the Kanban Method. The focus really lies in understanding the maturity level of their teams, not just technically but also in terms of how they manage their work. This approach helps pinpoint precisely where improvements are needed.

Like many other product companies, they’re also dealing with the challenge of estimating their work. It’s been a headache, but they managed to ease that burden by introducing flow metrics and making sure their teams work in a more stable delivery system. Ultimately, it’s about making their processes smoother and getting more done with less hassle.

“We introduced KPIs, and I create quarterly snapshots of our metrics. The Executive Dashboard helps a lot with that.”

Zoran and his teams use flow metrics to track quality and efficiency. The team managers monitor key indicators like lead time and cycle time to see how well the teams are doing.

Executive Dashboard by Nave

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Executive Report by Nave

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“We use this four-step process with our team managers: first is collecting data, second is analyzing it, third is identifying trends and potential issues, and fourth is taking action.”

The team noticed improvements in how they work together and get things done. By making adjustments to their processes, they become more productive and deliver better results faster.

Zoran really drives home the importance of keeping things moving smoothly within the team. He is a huge advocate of applying Work In Progress limits to make sure tasks flow consistently.

Agile Product Management and Flow Metrics Analysis

Zoran digs deeper into the process of analyzing data and extracting actionable insights, explaining their approach to monitoring cycle time and flow efficiency.

He explains how cycle time is crucial for measuring team efficiency and responsiveness. By studying cycle time, teams identify bottlenecks and areas to improve their workflow.

Cycle Time Scatterplot by Nave | With A Start Date

Use the Cycle Time Scatterplot to analyze outliers in your process and identify the tickets that have taken the most time to complete.

Moreover, Zoran elaborates on the concept of flow efficiency and its role in reducing waste. By analyzing flow efficiency, teams quickly identify low-hanging fruit and immediately know where to focus their efforts to move the needle.

“We use the Flow Efficiency Chart to identify certain types of tickets that have these kinds of problems, such as having low efficiency and long cycle times.”

Flow Efficiency Chart by Nave

With the Flow Efficiency Chart, you can zero in on the tickets with the lowest flow efficiency and highest cycle time, ultimately presenting the best opportunities for learning and growth!

Analyzing their flow metrics enables Zoran to discern things that are not immediately visible otherwise and use them as opportunities for improvement.

“So, as we’re analyzing our flow efficiency, I stumbled upon something pretty eye-opening.

It’s like this: while we’re really good at nailing down our priorities during development, there’s a bit of a blind spot when it comes to code review.

It’s like we’re putting all our energy into getting stuff done, but then we’re not giving the same level of attention to how we’re reviewing and refining our code.

So, I decided to dig a bit deeper into what’s causing this gap.”

As insights build upon each other, the entire narrative shifts significantly, revealing the root of the issue.

“I looked into things like how quickly we’re turning around reviews, whether we have enough reviewers available, and how effective our feedback loops are.

And you know what? It’s clear we need to shake things up a bit. I’m thinking clearer guidelines, smoother review processes, and maybe even bringing in some automated tools to help out.”

Setting Up the Business for Success in the Long Run

The main goal for Zoran is not only to be able to reveal the actionable insights behind their data and run change management initiatives but also to bring the business to a point where the teams will be able to identify these opportunities on their own and build a system that self-optimizes for predictable delivery results.

“I encourage teams to pay closer attention to the details hidden within their charts. These details might not seem significant at first, but they can actually offer valuable insights that can positively impact business outcomes.”

Cycle Time Breakdown Pie Chart by Nave

Use the Cycle Time Breakdown Chart to identify the process state that takes most of the time.

“By taking the time to analyze these charts more thoroughly, teams can uncover important patterns and trends that might have been overlooked. These insights can then be used to make informed decisions. “

Taking these steps is crucial in the midst of rapid growth to be able to sustain efficient operations at scale.

Here’s what he has to say to all agile coaches out there who are just getting started optimizing their workflows:

“Before jumping into flow management, you have to understand the problems your team encounters and set clear goals.

That way, you can ensure that your strategies are well-suited to address our specific challenges and objectives.”

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My friend, I hope you were inspired by the wealth of knowledge shared by Zoran, drawn from decades of experience. After our conversation, I realized there’s so much depth and insight in everything he said. We’re fortunate to have him in our community, and I’m so grateful for that!

Now, I’d like to hear from you. What are your top three takeaways from our discussion? Connect with me on LinkedIn, and drop me a note. I want to hear from each and every one of you.

With that, I wish you a productive day ahead! See you next week, same time and place for more managerial insights. Bye for now.

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