University of Oulu

Addressing initial customer inquiries with a hybrid team using agile project management methodology

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Author: Ojala, Eetu1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : E. Ojala, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-01-11
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Mainela, Tuija
Reviewer: Mainela, Tuija
Laari-Salmela, Sari
The paper is a case study with Patria Land (the Company) as a client. The phenomenon behind the research is the complexity of choosing the “right” customers for doing business with. This is the case with virtually every company, not just the client of this paper. The research problem in this research is “How can the Company develop a rigorous and unambiguous internal process for addressing the initial inquiries from potential customers?” To provide an answer to the set problem, there are two additional research questions, which are “What happens within the Company when an initial inquiry comes in?” and “What does creating an unambiguous process for addressing the initial inquiries from potential customers require from the Company?” Because of the complexity of the subject as well as the problem being quite company-specific, there were not any ready-made solutions or theories to be applied. Therefore, providing a solution for the research problem required combining different theories with each other. For the empirical nature of the problem, action research was chosen to be used as a method of conducting this research. The theoretical approach included comparing traditional project management procedures with agile ones and what are the reasons why agile project management should be used in providing an answer for the research problem in this research. In addition to this comparison, the communication aspect was determined as being one of the challenges of the Company. Thus, the concept of business communication is covered in this paper. Bringing the business communication of the Company up-to-date was chosen to be done with the help of mobile applications and a company called AppGyver is used as an example of such provider in this paper. Lastly, the process that is created in the paper is based on using the concept of a hybrid team and therefore it is covered in detail. Because of the empirical nature of the research problem, interviewing certain key employees of the Company was deemed as being the best method of gathering the empirical data. The interviews were qualitative, semi-structured by nature and were conducted as ethnographic interviews. The conclusions of the paper are that the Company did not have an unambiguous process for addressing the initial inquiries from potential customers and it was highly dependent on the person getting the inquiry how it was addressed. As for what does it require to create an unambiguous process for addressing the initial inquiries, it was determined that the Company needs to have a hybrid quotation team that uses specific mobile applications to improve things such as communication and operates according to the agile project management methodology. The actual process created for addressing the initial inquiries is based on forming the said hybrid quotation team. The process has five different stages that are: 1. Initial inquiry comes in, 2. The inquiry is directed to the hybrid quotation team and is evaluated by the team, 3. Deciding on whether to start the quotation process, 4. Quotation process and 5. Decision from the customer.
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