Success story

Nihon Housing: Hou- Net, Integrated System Development the Agile way with GeneXus

Nihon Housing Co., LTD was founded in 1958 and currently develops business in 46 offices in Japan and 2 offices overseas. With over 10.000 employees, the company has its Headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

The objective of the Integrated System project was to integrate 6 subsystems used on Nihon Housing’s main business, to create a one-stop operations system. The project also planned to increase efficiency of Nihon Housing’s work and to reduce operational costs. In order to do this, the project team needed to improve the usage of applications which had limited accessing capabilities in those days, to accelerate the processing speed, reducing the frequency of overtime work; and to look over different segments that had evolved independently, and promote them to a standardized solution.
At first, the development team was going to go on with a waterfall development approach, but as the user requirements increased up to 22% from what was initially planned, it was quickly clear that there was a potential impact on the schedule and the costs of the project. In order to avoid the delay of the release, the members of the project team intensely searched for a solution until they concluded that they needed to change the original plan. The solution: The project team changed the development tool to GeneXus, changing to an Agile development framework and methodology to be able to tackle all the difficulties they had previously identified.

The effect of those changes were the following:
  1. The team was able to accept a greater number of changes to the original requirements.
  2. The team only discussed on the functions that were due on each project Iteration (those immediately needed).
  3. Since the developing process was automatic, the team could draw out requirements, quickly prototyping and testing trial functions, which worked just like the production version would.
  4. Since the team could easily see -through quick prototyping- what the functions were going be like, communications between users, members of the project team and developers improved. Everyone understood each other much better.
However, up to that point there was a problem that was not completely solved. While the team was developing the project, using four-weeks iterations cycles, it was confirmed that the user requirements were further increasing. Therefore, the team applied the following method to the project, to try to control the increasing number of requirements changes.
The Project Charter:
  1.  The Project team accepted the screen shown with the prototype.
  2.  The team settled problems in no more than three days.
  3.  At that point, the team refused any addition of functions.
Due to these actions, the Integrated System was released with a minimum delay, despite the fact that the User requirements increased from 9.000 Functional Points at first, up to 15.000FP at project’s end. Therefore, the team concluded that these facts alone proved that moving to GeneXus was the right decision to make. But the team also concluded that, however great engine GeneXus is, it is up to the Project team to hit the accelerator and steer the project’s wheel. Nothing would change by having the great engine alone, as the tool’s maximum value arose when the team learned and applied the best and most agile development practices.