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Agile Portugal 2016

Interview with Teresa Carreiro, Operations Director at Critical Manufacturing, Agile enthusiast and evangelist

(PresseBox) (Porto, ) Teresa Carreiro is Critical Manufacturing’s Operations Director. She is an Agile Enthusiast and Evangelist, both inside and outside the company and belongs to the steering committee of Agile Portugal.

The following is a quick interview where she speaks about Agile, Scrum and the Agile Portugal 2016 event taking place in Porto, sponsored by Critical Manufacturing for the third consecutive year.

Everyone speaks about Agile, but does it actually mean?

The most common usage of the term Agile is related with agile methodologies for project management as an alternative to the waterfall model. These agile methodologies (like Scrum) have short iteration cycles, with development phases occurring in parallel, while waterfall approaches are designed to have sequential phases (starting the next one after finishing the current one). Beyond project management we can also find Agile methodologies in software development in general with methodologies such as pair programming, TDD, eXtreme programming, among others.

Nowadays, Agile is a mindset that is used in our projects and in our daily work. The idea behind it is to use an iterative approach to software delivery, building the software incrementally since the beginning of the project. This is a collaborative approach that commits the team and the customer to deliver the most valuable functionalities as early as possible.

How important is Agile for your organization?

Agile is of extreme importance for us. It is actually one of our core values, beyond being Innovative and Committed: “We are Agile - Our people, processes and solutions anticipate and adapt quickly to the continuous evolving world of high-tech manufacturing”.

What are the most common Agile methodologies that you use at Critical Manufacturing?

Since 2009 that Critical Manufacturing uses Scrum as a project management agile methodology. We cannot live without it anymore.

And what does it mean?

Scrum focus on involving the customer as much and as early as possible in the project. The customer works closely with the development team which must have autonomy and should be able to build a self-organizing culture. The required functionalities are planned, developed, tested, documented and delivered in short iteration cycles (most common here is two weeks). After this period, the team delivers and demonstrates the results of the iteration to the customer, which can then validate the final result. After this, the team reflects about the last weeks and adapts the followed process, building a continuous improvement culture.

So this means your customers need to agree to work like this?

Yes, that’s what it means.

So how do you convince them?

Today, the advantages of Agile over classical methodologies like waterfall are quite known and spread. But when we started we had to face customers who did not understand it and thought these were only methods that allowed us not to have firm projects plans and deliverables. Occasionally, this still happens today.

So it required explaining them the advantages and making sure they understood two important aspects. First is that they remained in control, since at any time they’d be the ones defining what is to be done within each sprint, under the time, capacity and potential technical restrictions. And second that since the projects were long and they didn’t really have experience with the actual product or solution being built, many of the initial requirements would change over time.

But again, today, upon being able to show them the good results of this methodology, we work with almost all customers using the Scrum framework.

Critical Manufacturing sponsors Agile Portugal - what is this event all about?

Agile Portugal is the premier international conference in Portugal about agile software development and its practices, technologies, attitudes and experiences. Created with both experts and beginners in mind, Agile Portugal is the place where the Portuguese agile community comes together to exchange and share their experiences about agile development approaches.

And why are you sponsoring Agile Portugal?

Well first we want that whenever someone thinks about Agile projects in manufacturing, Critical Manufacturing comes immediately to their minds. We want to remain identified with Agile, meaning that we not only deliver outstanding solutions, but we do it in a fast and flexible way, maximizing the value for the customer.

And then we believe it is a great event. This year’s event will have awesome speakers and workshops. Emily Bache will have a coding dojo that will improve our ability to design and code good tests, Geoff Watts and Paul Goddard, will explore the human side of agile, Claudio Perrone will show us an innovative system of how to introduce fast change and make better decisions in the organizations and James Priest, Hugo Lopes and Liliana David will present Sociocracy 3.0 the evolutionary, principles based framework of patterns to improve flow of value and grow happy, successful organizations. The event’s program is also full with great talks from Portuguese and international speakers.

More information on Agile Portugal 2016 can be found here

Critical Manufacturing Deutschland GmbH

Critical Manufacturing provides manufacturers in highly-complex environments with a modular, scalable manufacturing execution and intelligence system that enables users to flexibly address market demands, increase efficiency, and bolster reliability across the supply chain while lowering TCO. The company is part of the Critical Group, a private group of companies founded in 1998 to provide solutions for mission- and business-critical information systems. For more information, please visit or contact us at