Raquel Alegre - 8th July 2022



Help Vel’Afrika, a South African company, realise their current mission:


Make African-made products available worldwide

in the next 3 years through their online platform.




Phase 1 of the project: Vel’Afrika is focusing on expanding to Europe. This will include the following changes to be delivered in 4 months:

  • Add a product reviews feature to their existent online platform

  • Integrating new payment methods (at least Bluesnap and 2CheckOut)

  • Integrate with a shipping partner that delivers to Europe

  • Test for performance, reliability and scalability

  • Assumptions


  • Delivery model:
    • Agile ways of working

    • Teams
      • Distributed teams structure
      • Roles and responsibilities

    • Epics & User stories

  • Time estimates

  • Project costing



  • High-level project plan
    • MVP
    • Priorities for Phase 1


  • ThoughtWorks internal governance and metrics
    • Progress tracking

    • Budget

    • Risk management


  • Vel’Afrika external governance
    • Reports

    • Communication

  • Customer support and returns are not part of this case study as they are not included in Phase I
  • Vel’Afrika not familiar with Agile methodologies

  • Need to be mindful of costs

  • Epics and User stories have been discussed, with some priorities indicated

General Assumptions

  • Working online platform already has existing functionality for:
    • Customers to create and manage accounts and buy products

    • Sellers to create and manage accounts and offer products

    • Customer have a shopping basket where products are saved

    • Customer can choose to checkout their shopping basket and use a basic payment functionality that doesn’t include Bluesnap or 2CheckOut 

  • Vel’Afrika has already chosen a shipping partner that covers Europe. This delivery partner has an API the online platform can query in order to submit orders and do delivery tracking.

  • Relevant parts of the codebase have been shared to analyse current platform’s performance and produce a more accurate estimate

Assumptions - Functional Requirements

  • Language supported: English only

  • ThoughtWorks will follow the current platform’s UX/UI style

  • Scalability:

    • Vel’Afrika has already estimated expected growth:

      • 4x Total number of customers: 2500 -> 1000

      • 2x Total number of sellers: 100 -> 200

      • 5x Total number of products: 1000->5000

  • Online platform runs on a cloud server and has some maintenance and monitoring tools in place. It has been reported to be slow, but has never been tested for performance, scalability or reliability


Assumptions - Non-Functional Requirements

  • Iterative incremental delivery in cycles


  • Mindset: 'be agile' instead of just 'do agile'
    • Close collaboration

    • Continuous improvement

    • Embrace change


  • Benefits:
    • Continuous delivery of value

    • Adaptability

    • Speed

    • Cost reduction


  • Agile frameworks:
    • Scrum

    • Kanban boards

    • SAFe

Agile Delivery Model


Review backlog and priorities


Implement using different techniques



Apply feedback and prepare for release


Decide what to work on during current cycle


Demo progress to Vel’Afrika for feedback/acceptance


Retrospective, Inspect&Adapt


Deploy to production









Agile Delivery Model - 2-week cycle


Gather user feedback to incorporate at next sprint

  • Closer to European market
  • Experience on e-commerce tools

  • Experience on integration with shipping providers

Team Barcelona

Team Johannesburg

  • Closer to Vel’Afrika
  • In-person meetings
  • Experience on platform reliability, performance and scalability

Distributed Teams at ThoughtWorks


Teams composition

  • Product owner: responsible for maintaining the backlog of tasks and representing Vel’Afrika on our day to day work, e.g. priorities
  • Agile teams: software developers with different specialities and levels of seniority that carry out the software development work led by a team lead
  • Quality Assurance: tests functionality and quality of deliverables
  • Project Manager: organises work, responsible for timely delivery, keeps track of progress and helps unblocking agile team








Team at Vel'Afrika


Vel’Afrika will provide a team with the following skills:

  • UX/UI designer: provides mockups for addition of new features in the application

  • DevOps: expertise with cloud computing and deployment of releases

  • Business Analysis

    • How the European market is different from the existent African one

  • Marketing

    • Advertise new releases to Europe-based market and gather feedback

    • Identified targeted groups of European customers to offer first access to the MVP and gather feedback

  • Tech Lead/Architect: guides the integration in the current online platform









  • 6-hour days, 5-day weeks, $100/hour (regardless of seniority or role)

  • Maintenance is not required

  • All activities required to develop software (e.g. implementation, testing, deployment, meetings, backlog refinement) are included in the time estimates







Project costing

ThoughtWorks internal Governance and metrics

Objective: ensure the alignment of Vel'Afrika project with ThoughtWorks overall goals

  • Progress tracking and reporting

    • Activities agreed for current sprint and % completed

    • Team members keep time sheets to better understand how we are utilising budget

    • Budget burndown/burnup charts - are we over/under spending?

ThoughtWorks internal Governance and metrics


  • Team members’ capacity report - Total/Assigned/Available capacity
  • Defining OKRs for each new feature, e.g.:

    • % increase on number of new user accounts created in Africa and Europe

    • % increase on number of products bought in Africa and Europe

    • % increase on new sellers and where they are based in Africa

    • % website availability during last cycle

  • Risk management

    • Likelihood, severity and mitigation strategy

Vel'Afrika external Governance and reporting

Objective: ensure the we are on track to deliver Vel’Afrika’s goals at any given point during the project

  • Reports

    • Activities agreed for current sprint and % completed

    • Weekly report on % of budget used and mitigation strategies if we are under/overspending

    • Agreed OKRs

    • Update on risk management

  • Communication

    • Available via email and chat

    • Always invited to sprint events, expected to participate at least during the demo and feedback review sessions

Thank You!



By Raquel Alegre


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