Discover Performance

HP Software's community for IT leaders // September 2014
Subscribe

How Elance-oDesk uses Agile to quickly meet user needs

Virtual teams rely on two-week sprints, daily scrum sessions.

In our September exec section, we interviewed Elance-oDesk exec Jonathan Diller about the challenges of delivering services that are entirely mediated by software developed in-house. He said a key to success is defining a strong, customer-centric vision—then giving Agile development teams the autonomy to quickly pursue those goals. As a follow-up, we asked him for more details about the company’s approach to Agile.  

Between the Elance and oDesk halves of the recently merged company, more than 8 million freelancers worldwide find and deliver work for more than 2.5 million businesses, from mom-and-pop outfits to huge global brands. Behind it all are 15 “vertical teams” and also a few “horizontal teams,” globally distributed and working with Agile methodologies.

Each team is focused on a vertical, such as “private talent cloud for large enterprises” or “client matching via data science.” There are daily scrum meetings for the teams, who work in two-week Agile sprints, centered on clearly defined user requirements.


Jonathan Diller
"By following Agile methodology, we can quickly release updates and monitor their success,” says Diller, the company’s vice president of Enterprise Solutions. “We deploy new software every day, and A/B testing is core to eliminating guesswork.”

Agile seems to fit Elance-oDesk’s overall development strategy well, enabling the combined development team to respond to changing priorities and react to test results. The daily scrums help synchronize the efforts of the Agile teams, giving them a forum to regularly discuss progress and make adjustments to planned tasks.

“We’re a virtual team of more than 200 developers, and we rely heavily on collaboration tools,” Diller says. “But we also bring everyone together face-to-face whenever possible.”

The company’s Agile teams take features from idea to code to tested functionality. “A modular code base really helps us drill down to focus on specific user requirements,” he says.

Elance-oDesk is using analytics to help improve job performance and refine the user experience. “We’ve always had a lot of data to work with. A few years back we developed an entire performance management system that evaluated 25 different data points around performance to motivate behavior and engineer good outcomes,” Diller says. “But now we’re getting a lot smarter about how to use the data we have. … We have data scientists, for example, now dedicated to looking at potential success metrics by evaluating the talent, capacity, and availability of individual freelancers.”

Going forward, he says, data science will play a key role in driving the smartest results while maintaining a fast pace of development.

To learn more about how Elance-oDesk is changing the future of work, visit http://www.elance-odesk.com.

For more insight into Agile success, read the Forrester white paper, “Better Outcomes, Faster Results: Continuous Delivery And The Race For Better Business Performance,” (reg. req'd). 


x

IT leader assessment

This tool evaluates the correlation between IT attributes and business success and, based on how your answers compare with average scores, will advise you where to invest in IT.

It is based on data HP collected from 650 global companies about a range of IT characteristics (server capacities, approach to information management, security, BYOD, etc.) and how they correlate to revenue gain. This assessment will compare your answers to the average scores in that study.

There are 12 questions that will require an estimated 10 minutes of your time. You'll receive a summary of your rating upon completion.



Let's get started
x

Please select an answer.
x

Analysis:

Your answer:
Your score:
Average score:
Revenue leaders' score:


x

Please select an answer.


x

Results

Your score:
Average score:
Revenue leaders' score:


Get detailed results:

Subscribe

Popular tags

Events

Discover Performance Weekly

HP Software’s Paul Muller hosts a weekly video digging into the hottest IT issues. Check out the latest episodes.


Faster dev, better apps

The authors of the Capgemini-Sogeti World Quality Report discuss emerging trends in testing, including shifting roles and techniques.


Enterprise 20/20

Dev Center 20/20

How will we organize development centers for the apps that will power our enterprises?

Introduction to Enterprise 20/20

What will a successful enterprise look like in the future?

CIO 20/20

Challenges and opportunities for the CIO of the future.

Marketing 20/20

Welcome to a new reality of split-second decisions and marketing by the numbers.

IT Operations 20/20

How can you achieve the data center of the future?

Employee 20/20

What the workforce of 2020 can expect from IT, and what IT can expect from the workforce.

Security 20/20

Preparing today for tomorrow’s threats.

Mobility 20/20

Looking toward the era when everyone — and everything — is connected.

Data Center 20/20

The innovation and revenue engine of the enterprise.

Read more

HP Software related

Most read articles

Discover Performance

Archive

Tweets @ HPITperformance