Caravel Labs

May 31, 2023

Developing and nourishing tech-talent in Brunei with @Gromida

Subham Kundu




Team Story:  


Project Name: Simpur 


Client name, location, country, industry: AITI subcontracted to Caravel Labs via Grominda, our partner in Brunei. This bootcamp was delivered as part of AITI’s Tech Immersion Program. 


Project duration: 5-week bootcamp (1 week Training + 4-week AOP) 


Each member and their role:  


Name Role 
James Liao Coach - Human-Centred User Driven Design
Adam StoffeCoach - Iterative and Incremental Development 
Ashu Chatterji Coach - Product Management as a Team Sport 
Subham Kundu Coach - High Performance Software Delivery and Business Intelligence



Problems to be solved: 


In this project, we partnered with Grominda, a start-up located in Brunei, having the vision of developing and nourishing tech-talent in Brunei. Grominda with the support of Authority of Info-Communication Technology (AITI) launched the Tech-Immersion program where developers were selected from different startups to form a cohort of 6 to solve an industry problem. The main objective of this programme was to build the human capital development and high-performance software delivery capacity among these startups. 


Apart from Grominda, we had a secondary stakeholder who was the industry sponsor for whom the cohort developed an Art of the possible software under the coaching of Caravel Labs and with the learning they received in the 1st week. 




1st week’s training was divided into two parts. During the morning session, we had learning sessions and in the second half, the team did a simulation of a sprint in the presence of our engineering coach. 


Each day we had the following sessions: 

  1. Human-Centred User Driven Design
  2. Iterative and Incremental Development 
  3. Product Management as a Team Sport 
  4. High Performance Software Delivery and Business Intelligence 
  5. Review Key Learnings and Takeaways 


For simulation, on Day 1, the team conducted the exploration workshop where a representative from our Industry sponsor – Printplus visited us.  


PrintPlus is a large-scale printing company and have been in operation for 35 years providing end-to-end printing services including design, pre-press, printing, finishing, and binding.  


The Product Owner explained the following challenges that they are facing in their present work: 

  1. The Production Control Manager manually needs to select all the machines and send these selections to the operators on paper. 
  2. The operators need to manually log time in a timesheet for every machine they have started operating. 
  3. At the end of each week, they need to submit such timesheets to the data-operator who would enter the data and generate charts and calculate machine efficiency and downtime. 


For simulation from Day 2 – Day 5, the participants gained hands on experience in creating backlog, writing a good user story, conducting season planning, sprint planning, backlog refinement, sprint planning and retrospective under the guidance of our coach. The simulation along with the morning sessions formed a foundation for the participants on how to manage a project as a team without a manager and the team eventually understood the value of this when they finished the software delivery to the customer after week 5. 


After finishing the exploration workshop and having a thorough understanding of the pain-points of the customer, we came up with a solution of having a web-app which can be easily installed in the surface tablets attached at the top of the machines and the operator could log the time there after receiving instructions from the PCM. Also, we decided to store the data in the cloud, so we eventually omitted the manual step of data-entry every week. 


With that said, the solution had a few technical challenges such as there was no scope of integrating the solution with the machines directly, as all the machines were analogue and building customized IOT solutions in a span of 4 weeks was not possible. Another challenge was the availability of the data for data analysis which we mitigated by generating synthetic data almost resembling the production data. 


Accomplishments (Survey + Deployments + Client Success) 


The measure of success differed for both our stakeholders. For Grominda and AITI, the main objective was to build the high-performance software delivery capacity in their ecosystem. 


There were very significant gains in the knowledge of our participants after week 1 as seen below.  




After our cohort went through the training in week 1, Caravel Labs acted as an advisor and allowed the team to self-organize the work themselves and when given the autonomy the cohort showed growth in the leadership and product management capabilities.  


The span for developing the software was only 4 weeks, so having time as a constraint there was very little scope of mismanagement of the task and features. As I said earlier, the individuals came from different startups, so they never worked together and didn’t know each other’s strength and weaknesses. The tech-stack was new for some of them and required a lot of learning at least in the first sprint. Communication was also an issue among the team-member in the initial week. With that said despite the challenges the team produced a working software every sprint. The team members effectively mastered the skill of just-in-time learning and applied it for developing the application. As an engineering coach, I was noticing the efforts team was putting to understand the technology which we were using for building the application. 





After grasping the tech-stack, the team started deploying very frequently compared to the first two weeks and the following chart in the daily deployment section shows that deployment frequency went up from weekly to nearly daily. 


For PrintPlus, our industry sponsor, the main requirement of the Product Owner was to have a start, pause and resume button that could be used by the operators in real time, but the product owner was able to think of end-to-end problem what he was facing. The exploration workshop conducted under the guidance of our UX coach James Liao helped the product owner to fully understand the problem and that clarified the features to develop. The impact of this intuitive workshop was clearly seen at the end of the project when the product owner with a smile on his face said, “The team have achieved much more than what I’d expected”. 


The following is a screenshot of our development and UI team after the successful delivery of the project: 



Having fun: Having fun is an essential part of their software development journey, fuelling the team’s passion and driving their collaborative effort forward. The following pictures show some of the fun moments during our 5-week program in Brunei: 


Picture: Exploration workshop with the team 




 Picture: At the PrintPlus factory  Shape










Caravel Labs - Envisioning board illustration
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