The Laterooms Group
Find out how The LateRooms Group (TLRG) coordinates multiple product teams with Leankit, using Lean and Agile practices to deliver high-quality software.
A division of TUI Travel PLC, TLRG is an international online accommodation specialist, providing more than 2 million customers each year with over 65,000 properties worldwide.
Founded in 2000, TLRG is headquartered in Manchester, UK and employs 500 people
TLRG’s brands include LateRooms.com and MalaPronta.com
Awards include Best Hotel Booking Site, IT Employer of the Year, and Best Agile Team from UK Agile Awards
With an IT organization of more than 150, Gareth Law, Head of Delivery, Alastair Brown, Director of Delivery, and Simon Dutton, Product Owner sat down with us to explain how LeanKit keeps everyone aligned, providing visibility at the team and portfolio levels.
Tell us about the IT organization at TLRG.
The IT organization at TLRG comprises ten cross-functional product teams that are distributed across several locations including the UK, Brazil, as well as supplier locations in the UK, India and Eastern Europe. We operate in agile teams that consist of all the skills required to deliver products — Product Owners, Developers & Engineers, QA & Automation, Business Analysts, Project Managers and Business Stakeholders. A technology & engineering-led environment, we’re passionate about creating great experiences and products.
Describe your product development and delivery approach.
Lean and Agile practices are central to our software delivery approach. Balancing product-led innovation with complex program delivery requires organizational flexibility. Depending on the product we’re developing or the project we’re delivering, we use a range of approaches including Kanban and Scrum. Common to all teams is a collaborative approach that focuses on the delivery of value in an interactive and iterative way.
We needed to find a way to help remote teams collaborate more easily and coordinate work movement across different locations and time zones.
How were you managing your work prior to using LeanKit?
Our IT organization has been practicing Agile since 2005. Initially, all of the teams were co-located so we used physical boards and post-it notes to manage our projects. We also kept an electronic record of the information, duplicating it in another system. While it wasn’t the most efficient way to work, for the most part it met our needs.
However, as our organization grew this approach didn’t scale. We needed to find a way to help remote teams collaborate more easily and coordinate work movement across different locations and time zones.
Why did you select LeanKit?
In 2011, we decided to find a visual management tool that would enable us to replace our physical white boards. The use of LeanKit grew organically across TLRG. As more and more teams saw how it worked, they wanted to use it too. It was a very natural transition given that we were already visually managing our work and workflow on a white board.
By the end of 2012 we decided to consolidate our use of other tools. At this point, LeanKit became our standard tool for managing our work and workflow.
How is LeanKit being used at the team level?
We use LeanKit to track our daily work activities from planning through to delivery, providing each cross-functional team with a single, up-to-date view of what’s happening.
LeanKit has become our single source of truth.
It’s become central to our goal of enabling great interaction, collaboration, and ownership between stakeholders and product teams.
Displaying LeanKit on widescreen touch monitors promotes visibility and transparency. It also provides a focal point for our daily standup meetings.
Retrospectives are an important part of our working practices. We use LeanKit to support continuous improvement actions, such as setting Work in Process (WIP) limits.
How does the leadership team use LeanKit at the portfolio level?
Soon after adopting LeanKit at the team level, we decided to implement visual management at the portfolio level. Our leadership team wanted a more effective way to track initiatives that were in flight.
We have a lot of projects in progress at any given time – seeing them in LeanKit gives us the high-level oversight we need to monitor status. We have a daily portfolio stand-up meeting to keep us aligned and ensure that important information is being conveyed back to our teams. This enables us to focus on the most important business priorities and reduce the risk of projects getting off-track.
What are your future plans for LeanKit?
LeanKit has become our “single source of truth.” Looking ahead, we want to integrate the data from LeanKit with our enterprise reporting to create dashboards that give everyone in the organization a current snapshot of what’s happening.
In summary, why does TLRG like using LeanKit?
We’re big fans of visual management at TLRG – it provides a medium for communication that everyone in the business intuitively understands. LeanKit has improved visibility at every level of our organization and facilitates vital conversations that result in great software.
Thanks TLRG, for sharing your story with us!