May 5, 2023
Great Teams Don’t Grow On Trees
May 17, 2022
We know how frustrating it can be when your company has a big project they want to build but don’t have the resources they need available. What exactly is it that you need? A developer, a designer, a QA, or a scrum master? If you’re looking to build your own Agile Software Development Team, you’ll need to:
Before building your team, you need to know what type of problem you need them to solve and how long you’ll need your team to work on solving the problem.
For instance, if you just need a prototype to confirm some assumptions or to help get buy-in from other executives on your team, or to raise investment capital, it might be best to work directly with a developer or two. This will allow you to quickly build something small, making many small changes in a very short timeframe.
However, a prototype is different from an application that manages future complexity in mind. Prototypes are unavoidably a mess of unkempt, hard to test, buggy code. They serve their purpose at a much lower cost but aren’t great for production.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have complex, maintainable, robust applications with intuitive user experiences. To build and maintain this application, you’ll need a comprehensive team of experts. Developers, Testers, Designers, Scrum Masters/Process Guardians, Engagement Managers, Architects, DevOps experts, and Product Owners.
Agile is not “one size fits all,” and your team needs to find the approach that works best for them but produces the results you need as an organization. The trick is implementing just enough processes to allow them to do their best work.
Some organizations may initially adopt the Scrum framework since it is fairly prescriptive and comes with some basic guidelines for how to implement it out of the box. The Scrum Guide provides a good foundation of roles, ceremonies, and artifacts to start with, and you can evolve your adoption over time as your team matures. This is good for teams who are new to Agile and need a bit stronger guidance as they start, and the work they are doing can be easily broken down into discrete chunks that can be completed in a time-boxed iteration.
Depending on the type of work you are doing, integrating practices from Kanban might be more appropriate. Kanban is a specific implementation of certain practices and principles of Lean and focused on visualizing hidden work and collaboratively improving the flow of that work. It is not as prescriptive as Scrum as it is not a framework in itself, but rather a continuous improvement you can fit on top of an existing process. Kanban’s focus on the flow of work and eliminating waste in your system can be good for work that is somewhat erratic in nature.
These two approaches are also not mutually exclusive and you can combine elements of both to find the right mix that maximizes the delivery of value and learning. Bringing in an experienced Agile coach can often help your organization find the right balance of practices and principles that align with your company values, support your team members, and help you reach your desired business goals.
Ideally, an Agile team should comprise all the necessary skills to deliver an idea from concept to cash, meaning it is in production and producing value. In smaller organizations, people may wear multiple hats and fill multiple roles, while larger organizations tend to be more siloed with entire departments dedicated to each skill set.
When building your Agile team, you need to find the right balance that works for your needs and work sustainably to create high-quality products at an appropriate speed to market. At Acklen Avenue, we’ve spent years finding just the right team structure that works for our clients, which includes:
Be thorough. It is best when a hiring process is in place. This will allow you to maintain a standard all applicants can be reviewed upon.
Take, for example, our hiring process for developers:
From values to ideals to practices. After hiring all these developers, you need to find a way to keep them doing things correctly. Whether it’s their work ethic, cultural values, the company policies, and the best practices, everyone has to be on the same page.
Take, for instance, our Onboarding Training process. We introduce new employees to our community, our core values, mission, and tools before other tasks are assigned.
With this training, we help our new employees feel more comfortable within their new roles, teams, and departments while also making them aware of company expectations and policies. During this process, they have the opportunity to ask questions or address any concerns. We intend to help them feel more comfortable as a new member of our family.
Our Onboarding training is divided into two sections:
Meeting with immediate supervisors and some task evaluators allows the new employees to know them directly and ask questions about their responsibilities.
Once the new employee has completed this training, they’re awarded the Boarding Pass Badges. These badges certify that the individual has completed the Onboarding training and has the green light to start their new journey in Acklen Avenue. In addition, they can begin their Career Path, a series of professional levels where they have the opportunity to show their abilities and skills and challenge themselves to level up.
If you are looking to assemble a team, don’t keep the guy without a team mentality who can’t work with others or has a fixed mindset. Even if he has insane skills, those can be taught and learned; personality cannot.
Go through your hiring process again and review applicants thoroughly. One piece of advice: check your previous hiring process and look for any flaws or areas of improvement. Doing this ensures that you’re not making the same mistakes and hiring the right people for the roles.
Remember that it is and will always be necessary for your new hires and even your current team members to know, understand, and practice your company’s values, ideals, and practices.
Be patient. It can take years to build a productive Agile software development team of experts. However, if you’d rather focus on your business model instead or just don’t have the time to do all that work, you can hire Acklen Avenue. We have complete agile teams ready to start on your project within weeks, not months or years.