Lineas • Mobile Information Assistant (MIA)
— Web application to manage ground operators
Headquartered in Belgium, Lineas offers rail transport and logistics solutions. They operate block trains for conventional and intermodal loads and provide single wagon load transport throughout Europe, driving trains in open access between Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France. Lineas transports a wide range of goods from raw materials, chemicals and semi-finished products to industrial and consumer goods.
A brief introduction
Lineas came to the Collectiv team, because they were looking for a web application (MIA) to help both local coordinators in the shunting stations and operators.
The coordinators are responsible for the planning of their operators. They assign inspections, shuntings, immobilizations, brake tests, etc. with the help of a web application. The operators receive these assignments on their mobile devices. This way, they can easily execute their tasks and enter all necessary data on the device. Extra difficulty is the disconnectivity: the devices are not always online.
The challenge for Collectiv
The challenges of the Collectiv team for the MIA (Mobile Information Assistant) application were:
- Analyzing and building a web application for the local coordinators, based on the existing back-end and database.
- Analyzing the existing mobile app for the operators, so to improve it.
- Coaching all partners and the customer in our Agile way of working.
Working Agile with 4 partners
For this project, 4 partners are intensively working together on MIA:
- Collectiv develops the user interface of the web application.
- A small mobile company develops the user interface of the mobile app.
- An existing back-end partner (Ab-Ovo) stores all data and all business logic.
- Lineas is the customer of course, but also deploys the application (including ESB's and authentication).
Collectiv has introduced an Agile approach into the MIA project, based on Kanban. Both Lineas and Ab-Ovo were not used to working this way, so coaching was necessary. In order to avoid the common front-end / back-end integration problems, we also decided to work as one team. Although Ab-Ovo is situated in the Netherlands, the whole team physically sits together 2 days per week.
We are currently working on version 1.0 of the MIA application. In total, 2 to 3 Java Developers and 1 to 2 Proxies of the Collectiv team are part of the project.