Our customers grow, pack and ship specialty fruits and vegetables, working hard each day to safely provide the fresh ingredients that go into that cherished family recipe. It’s no different here at Highland Ag Solutions. Our team follows a recipe to make sure we are providing the newest, and best features in Highland Hub that enable our customers to virtualize the business of agriculture.
The key to successful projects is found in gathering the required ingredients for success and following the recipe to turn ideas into products that can help our customers execute their businesses to its fullest potential. The two main ingredients in successful project execution are people and process. When the two ingredients are combined, time and direction allow for the successful delivery of value to our customer base.
Building the right team is the main ingredient for any project to find success. Finding the people with the right experience in building software products is the first step. The second step a background in agriculture, is for helpful Highland projects. Sometimes this second step is challenging due to the fact that agricultural software is fairly new and has been highly specialized to date. If this background is not found, the desire to learn is a greater contributing factor to an individual’s contribution to the team. At Highland we place great emphasis into “walking a mile in our customer’s shoes,” by working closely with our growing and packing partners to understand the needs and requirements for moving into the digital age. This empathy to take the extra time to fully understand the customer’s business helps the development team to build the best value in the software that is coded and turned into products for use in agricultural business. The final important step for a successful team is a management team that places itself in a servant role. The management team needs to allow the creativity of the team to flourish through guidance and removal of any roadblocks that arise during the team’s execution of a project.
Once the right team is established the proper amount of process is applied. There are many ways of managing projects that can be applied as needed for successful project execution. Software has a unique set of management guidelines laid out in the “Agile Manifesto” of 2001. The most important is that any process that is put in place needs to exist to ensure that the team is delivering value to the customer. This is found in the Agile Manifesto statements of valuing customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan. This agile way of creating software combined with tried-and-true methods of gathering and refining customer requirements ensure that we are building the correct software tools to maximize value to our growing and packing partners. The process is continually critiqued to ensure that there are no steps for the sake of steps and refined to ensure everything that is done is done with the customer in mind. This is also why building a great team is so important. The team needs to be empowered and confident to change a process that does not meet the criteria of exceptional value delivery.
Finally, the ingredients are combined and guided on a daily basis. For Agile management this involves a daily fifteen-minute Stand-up call which focuses on team execution and any blockers that are slowing or stopping the team from successful execution. The blocker is then taken up by management and the team to ensure that the impediment is removed, and the project can continue to progress. All of this is done keeping the customer first and foremost in the execution of projects, we want to deliver world-class software products. This will make our world-class customer base competitive in an ever-increasing global marketplace for produce.