• Client:  Carvana
  • Projects

Carvana's Agile U-Turn

Leading a digital project to completion can often feel like steering a ship through a storm. Unpredictable challenges, shifting deadlines, and wavering client expectations can all contribute to a project stalling. I recently found myself at the helm of a project for Carvana, an industry leader in online car sales, that was floundering despite its great potential. Here's the story of how we turned things around using Agile methodologies, transforming a stagnant initiative into a powerhouse of productivity.

The Starting Line: Challenges and Setbacks

When I took over the Carvana project, it had already been in the discovery phase for many months. Despite the time invested, very little progress had been made on the development side. Features just weren't being produced, leading to dissatisfaction on all fronts—developers, stakeholders, and project managers alike were concerned.

Realigning with Agile Principles

To break free from this rut, it became evident that we needed a systematic approach to drive progress. We leaned into Agile methodologies and implemented the following:

  1. Two-Week Sprints: A fixed two-week cycle to complete a set list of features helped the team focus and also added a sense of urgency.

  2. Daily Standups: A quick 15-minute meeting every day ensured everyone was on the same page, eliminating blockages and promoting transparency.

  3. Client Review at the End of Each Sprint: This helped us make sure we were aligned with client expectations and could make quick course corrections if needed.

  4. Focused Priorities: Instead of being overwhelmed by the entirety of what needed to be done, we carefully chose which features should be developed first, second, third, and so on.

The Turnaround: Metrics Speak Louder Than Words

The impact was immediate and remarkable. Our team started delivering 10-12 features per sprint, racking up nearly 200 features over the course of six months. This wasn't just a win for us as a project team, but also for Carvana, which was finally seeing their vision converted into a tangible, evolving product.

The Road Ahead

While I can't go into specifics about what the project entails (it hasn't yet been fully launched within Carvana), the methodological changes we implemented can serve as a blueprint for project management best practices in any setting. I'll certainly be following up with more articles diving into the 'what' and 'how' as the project evolves into its next stages.

Reviving a project that has lost momentum is no easy feat. It requires a strategic reset, informed by proven methodologies like Agile, to reinvigorate the team and realign with client expectations. Our experience with the Carvana project underscores the power of a disciplined, agile approach in bringing a stalled initiative back to life. Keep an eye out for future articles where we delve into the interesting 'whats' and 'hows' that made this project a true case study in effective project management.

Cheers to moving forward, one sprint at a time.

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