Working in the project development team is more than just being reassuringly geeky. Our scrum teams take grit, determination and passion
OK so the LAGERS bit is truer that you might think, but I’ll come to that later. Sometimes project development jobs can involve working as a team to go through changes in-house. A little over 12 months ago we made the move to “scrum” teams which has proved a success on many fronts.
Taking on the challenge
Let’s roll back the clock a little to highlight some of the reasons for change. Traditionally we treated all of our resources as a single pot that we would dip in to when work needed to be planned.
Whoever was available in that pot, fitted the picture, or if we had specific employees suited to a project, we would pull them from their current workload and re-assign. This is how it worked and in large worked well for us for many years.
However, as we expanded, the challenges grew. More people in the pot, more juggling, more context switching and more people dipping their hand in to a project. Knowledge spread out across the team and not in a positive way. People were asking, ‘where does the ownership lie?’.
As I say, these challenges grew because we grew so they were good challenges to overcome. And we did, because that is what it’s like to have a project development job at Kagool – the team works hard as one until you achieve your goals.
Tacking the transition together
As a team we had many discussions around the transition to scrum teams, focusing on the challenges we were up against with the growth of the business. A snippet of the topics that came to light were:
- Employees are constantly context switching between projects
- The lack of ownership that was felt against pieces of work because of the context switching
- The customer doesn’t have a consistent experience due to the context switching
Let’s not forget what needed to be considered with moving to scrum teams:
- What size should a scrum team be?
- Can scrum teams be scaled up when required?
- What disciplines are necessary?
- What is the workload capacity of a scrum team?
- Where do new starters go, how do we plan those in?
- What happens when all scrum teams are at maximum capacity and we win new work?
As you can see from the above, it was a decision not taken lightly and it needed to have the whole team driving it for it to work.
So, what is it really like to work in a project team at Kagool? Simply put – project development jobs are like “rock ‘n’ roll”…well at least some of our music playlists in the office are!
They are multi-disciplined teams (which we’re currently looking to grow) consisting of the following roles:
- Project manager
- Back end developers
- Front end developers
- Test analysts
- Technical architect
- Product owners
The above roles work together on everything. This includes the requirements gathering through to the implementation and support (in parallel with the support team) of the application post go live. This setup ensures that the entire team is joined up in their approach and understanding of the work at hand.
We run daily scrums, usually first thing in the morning so that everyone is clear on the objectives for the day and we can iron out any blockers. We try and keep them short and snappy with a quick round the table that focuses on the previous day, followed by plans for the current day.
Usually after 10-15 minutes we’re done and any other conversations that need to happen with specific members, around specific topics or challenges are taken outside of the scrum.
There is a level of camaraderie that comes with each team, they genuinely all seem to get along, that’s not to say the tough conversations don’t happen, they most certainly do. It is work after all, and challenging each other is something we are proud of and not afraid to do.
Once the conversations are finished the camaraderie continues, the tea is made, the biscuits eaten and every now and again a beer after work, for those who fancy it. After all, we pride ourselves on LAGERS:
- Legend: We strive to be great and take pride in our work to stand out from the crowd. To be positively recognised by customers and our colleagues.
- Astute: Basically, we like to be smart in how we think and go about things. Being perceptive, savvy, curious and creative is important.
- Getting things done: We like to be organised and prioritise and plan work carefully. And should anything fall short of the plan, communicate it effectively.
- Esprit de corps: We may not be a French business, but this phrase is all about the spirit and morale of the group. We like working together and looking out for one another.
- Responsible: We’re happy to be held accountable. Mistakes happen sometimes, that’s ok, but we just try not to repeat them. Be bold and empowered.
- Sparkle: Good attitudes are infectious, after all nobody wants to work in a miserable environment. So, we share our enthusiasm and interest by showing it.
Sound like something you could do?
If the answer is yes, then we want to hear from you. Kagool is a growing digital marketing agency with Sitecore Platinum Partner status. If you’d like to join us, browse our current vacancies to start something great today.