An Agile Project to Enable Social Distancing: a Case Study "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs April 04 2020 True Agile Development, COVID-19, product management, Product Management Skills, rapid development, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 749 Product Management 2.996

An Agile Project to Enable Social Distancing: a Case Study

BY ON

COVID-19 has brought a crisis to many industries and many companies. Transport, especially home delivery providers, faces big challenges. How can they ensure social distancing and thorough hygiene practices in everyday deliveries? Here’s how one transport company solved this challenge.

While food and smaller packages can be left at the door without any personal contact, what do they do with larger deliveries like furniture? There are standard procedures which require users to sign acceptance documents. Even if the customer signature is electronically obtained, contact is still required as the customer needs to touch the courier’s smartphone or tablet. So how can it be made contactless?

This problem isn’t new. Until now there simply hasn’t been an urgent need to address it. But necessity is the mother of invention.

Delivery drivers have standard procedures which require users to sign acceptance documents (Image: Shutterstock)

A One-weekend Project

Our team at Teina was already working on developing software for Gdansk-based transportation company Expert Transport when the pandemic started. After strict rules and restrictions were announced in response to COVID-19 the transport company saw a big drop in orders. Expert Transport’s CEO Martyn Szczepankowski and his coworkers started to look for solutions.

Says Martyn: “When the company faced a decline in orders, we gathered in a team to prepare an action plan based on various scenarios. Nobody knew what would happen in the coming weeks, but we were sure that we would have to make radical changes in our organization. The meeting was very productive, and we prepared a 50-point action plan. It was Thursday. On Friday, we implemented the essential elements of the plan. But I felt that the whole situation was still difficult for the entire team. Then on Sunday, during one of our teleconferences, we came up with the idea of new voice-enabled functionality for touchless home delivery to protect our customers and employees.”

At midday, on Sunday we received a phone call from Martyn asking us to develop this additional feature.

We agreed that we had to act fast. So we reorganized our tasks in Basecamp and prepared a very rapid development cycle. We then worked for five hours to develop the solution. We tested the code very, very quickly – and if I’m honest I would have liked to have spent longer on testing. However, on Sunday evening, we were able to deliver the feature to our client and everything was ready to roll out on Monday morning.

The Results

Over the course of the weekend, working directly with our client’s team, we were able to introduce a solution to the problem of touchless home delivery by adding a feature to the delivery drivers’ app. With one click within the app, customers are able to agree to sign the documents electronically, just by using their voice. The customer has to recite agreed words, and their spoken confirmation is recorded and stored as a safe voice signature.

A voice-signing app that allows recipients to acknowledge their deliveries verbally is truly touchless. The solution ensures that the user has received the package, and if there is any problem with the delivery, the customer can make a complaint also using only their voice. There is no need to fill any paper documents – personal contact, touching any surfaces, and so on, all are avoided.

We called this service Voice Sign, and news of it spread quickly within the industry. For the sake of everyone’s safety, we hope that other companies will start to introduce this solution as quickly as possible.

A voice-signing app that allows recipients to acknowledge their deliveries verbally is truly touchless

Conclusion

I can’t pretend that we produced this feature by-the-book. But during this crisis, agility is key, and a motivated team is crucial. We all worked together: our client’s team was very engaged, and within the Teina organization we were very motivated. We worked very hard during the weekend because we knew that we were doing something right and useful. We believed that this small thing we were doing could be helpful during this difficult time.

We’re very proud that we achieved this solution so quickly. We’re also happy that customers now can rely on Expert Transport’s deliveries – and that it is safe. It is a difficult time for everyone now, so any element that lowers risks is priceless. It gives us the conviction that we will overcome the crisis.