TV TOKYO Communications Corporation

TV Tokyo Biz(Business on Demand) Agile Coaching Case Study.
TV TOKYO Communications Corporation

TV Tokyo Group's Teletext BIZ is a subscription service that provides unlimited access to TV Tokyo's news and economic programs and articles. The project, which involved several companies including TV Tokyo and TV Tokyo Communications, the product owner, found a new way of working with teams that departed from the waterfall approach through the Agile development and Scrum frameworks.

Agile development is inefficient! Starting from a Negative Image

"We knew the name of Agile and had tried to adopt it, but we were using it without anyone in the team knowing much about it. We just took out the parts that suited us and used them, or omitted steps. That's why we didn't know the difference between waterfall and agile. " Mr. Kiyota (Interlink Corporation), a member of the development team, recalls. Product owner Mr. Yamada (TV Tokyo Communications Inc.) also had an image that agile development was inefficient. "At first, I thought the process of looking back was a waste of time, and if there were improvements to be made, why not just reflect them in the product as soon as possible?" Such an impression of Agile development changed drastically through his experience with agile coaching at yamaneco.

Proactivity made the difference from Waterfall

yamaneco team provided Agile coaching and product development support in parallel. By understanding the significance of Agile development, especially Scrum events, while practicing it from scratch, each of the participants formed a sense of independence and willingness to take initiative. Designer Yamamoto (Fenrir Inc.), who was new to Agile development, also said that he learned a lot while practicing Agile development. He says, "At the beginning, I started from scratch and didn't know what I was doing. But once I got used to agile, I found I really liked the style of interacting with team members and building up the team as a whole." Product owner Kimura (TV Tokyo Inc.) realized the difference between agile and waterfall development. In waterfall development, the task assigned to you comes first. So when changes or modifications occur, it is sometimes difficult to accept them easily. With Agile, the purpose of the entire team comes first, and we take a value-centered, proactive view. Each of us understands the purpose, so we're more flexible in responding to minor modifications."
The members' objectives have shifted from individual tasks to "developing better services for the team as a whole" and "thinking proactively about what to do to achieve this. This mindset contributed to the discovery of new targets and an increase in the number of service users.

The barrier to waterfall is "you" and "us"! Improving the team atmosphere through retrospectives

During the development process, this multi-company team was faced with a communication barrier. Generally, it is not unusual for intercompany communication to take several steps just to get a few words across. In order to speed up communication, the team decided to break down the barriers between the companies and came up with "Operation Nickname". The idea was to call team members by their nicknames, regardless of their affiliation or position. It seemed simple enough, but even after two weeks, the team was unable to achieve their goal. The team retrospectively reflected on why they had failed and how they could succeed, and as a result, created an environment in which all team members could call each other by their nicknames. As the nicknames spread, the speed of communication visibly increased, and the team of coaches at yamaneco was surprised at the effect.
Yamamoto, a designer, commented, "Even though we are from completely different companies, we are now able to talk to each other casually. The whole team has a strong desire to share even the smallest details, and we can easily ask the designers what they think from the implementation point of view. I think it's different from other projects because we can easily ask the designers what they think from the implementation point of view. He also reflected on the changes in the team.
With the support of the coaches, the Tele-Telecom BIZ team developed their ability to think flexibly. In particular, the retrospective, in which sprint results were categorized into fun/done/learn, facilitated the generation of high-quality opinions and contributed greatly to action item decisions. In addition, the retrospective, which was conducted while moving around, allowed team members to physically feel the differences in their perceptions, leading to mutual understanding among team members.

New ideas came one after another! Improving products by putting users first

Until now, product development at Teletext BIZ has often prioritized internal requests, budgets, and schedules, and has not paid much attention to user feedback. While it was not uncommon to proceed without fully measuring which issues should be prioritized effectively, we shifted to a development style in which user needs are interviewed as an indicator, and improvements are determined while balancing costs and internal requests.

First, members discussed approaches to incorporate user feedback, and a form was established within the app for users to submit their requests, and a Slack channel was designed to allow user voices to reach all team members in real time. We also established a multifaceted listening system, including pop-ups to encourage store reviews and an invitation to use Google Forms, which is rare for apps, and held monthly sharing meetings to determine priorities and reflect them in product improvements. As a result, the app's reputation is on the rise, and product owner Mr. Kimura commented, "Because we utilize agile development and Scrum, we are able to achieve our product goal of "making the service valuable to businesspeople around the world, We are able to respond to user requests and feedback with a sense of speed. I would say we are about halfway there. He said confidently, "I think we are about halfway there.

Yamada, another product owner, also feels that his team has made great progress. By using sprint events to turn around projects in a short period of time, we have been able to drastically reduce the time it used to take to release an app from about six months to a year. As a result, we set a new goal of not only improving existing apps but also releasing new ones. At first glance, this may seem challenging, but my experience with agile development has given me the confidence that I can tackle it with this team."

Agile coaching experiences have a positive impact on team building as well as product improvement. In the case of the Tele-Telecom BIZ team, the improvement of the team's interactive skills created a virtuous cycle that led to even better product development.
If we rely on the skills of each individual, it can be difficult to solve problems due to member turnover, but even if that happens, there is a sense that the collective knowledge of the team can complement the skills of the team. Our team power has definitely improved." The strength of the team, as Mr. Kiyota, who is in charge of development, says, should make the team even stronger and more capable of leading to results.