Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Remaining Agile in a fast growing start-up by Alexander Bosma and Muhammad Noor ul haque

44 views

Published on

Alef Education is a fast growing start-up established only in 2017? and we are now delivering our blended learning platform to over 55K students in over 150 schools in the UAE and a few in the USA.

Starting small, with a handful of developers, working Agile was easy peasy. Nowadays, with over 70 developers in 13 teams things got a lot more complex and retaining agility a constant challenge. In this presentation, we will cover a few of the issues that we faced and how we dealt with it. We will cover the introduction of DevOps, applying scaling techniques, dynamic re-teaming, organize around microservices and the introduction of CoP's.

Don't expect a huge success story, however... we are still learning and experimenting and we certainly don't have all the answers yet (or ever will). But we know that what we have experienced is of value for many companies and we are not afraid to share our mistakes as well for the sake of learning.

Published in: Technology
  • Be the first to comment

Remaining Agile in a fast growing start-up by Alexander Bosma and Muhammad Noor ul haque

  1. 1. March 11, 2020 - Dubai, UAE Remaining Agile in a fast growing start-up Muhammed Noor ul haq & Alexander Bosma
  2. 2. SUPPORTERS MEDIA PARTNER PLATINUM PARTNERS GOLD PARTNER BRONZE PARTNERS
  3. 3. 3 Introduction Muhammad Noor ul haq Head of Engineering @ Alef Education /noorulhaq Alexander Bosma Scrum Master/Agile Coach -Self employed- /bosmasan
  4. 4. 4 Agenda What problem Alef is trying to solve? Alef Growth Story Challenges Lessons Learned
  5. 5. What problem Alef is trying to solve?
  6. 6. 6 The Traditional Classroom
  7. 7. 7 How Alef is Solving Issues in Education? Detect Knowledge Gaps Provide Adaptive Content Continuous Assessment Identify Struggling Students Improve Quality of Content and Questions Gain Complex Insights Consistent Feedback
  8. 8. 8 ❏ 1 feature team ❏ Monolith Architecture ❏ 1 Pilot School Jan2017 Mid 2018 2018 End 2019 2020 ❏ 3 teams ❏ Monolith to Microservice ❏ 11 Schools Alef Education Growth Story ❏ 4 teams ❏ 15 Microservices (+) Monolith ❏ Bigdata Team ❏ 31 Schools ❏ 9 teams ❏ 30+ Microservices (-) Monolith ❏ Data Science Team ❏ Business Intelligence Team ❏ 150+ Schools ❏ 350+ Schools
  9. 9. 9 150+ Schools in UAE & US 4,000+ Teachers 50,000+ Students 1,000,000 Questions Answered a day 50,000,000+ Data Points are collected every day Alef Education Facts
  10. 10. Challenges
  11. 11. Engineers as Scrum Masters What happened? Due to company growth the role of Scrum Master got more complicated and requires new skill sets. Solution: Hire a bunch of experienced Scrum Masters for the teams Starting point: Ambitious team members, experienced with scrum, wanting to learn and take responsibility, taking turns in scrum master role. Implemented solution: Scrum Master Community of Practise (CoP) ● All SM’s get together regularly to discuss subjects like estimating, retrospectives and experiments ● Benefits are improved skills, cross-team bonding and knowledge sharing ● Follow-up: More CoP’s for PM, TA’s and test-automation
  12. 12. Team Silos and Stagnation What happened? Productivity and learning stagnated and teams were becoming more self-oriented. The status quo was not motivating to try new things. Starting point: Fixed teams with ambitious members, top of class, want to be challenged. Implemented solution: Dynamic re-teaming ● Individual attention from leadership and coaches will signal wishes from team members ● Make a switch when an opportunity pops up. Accept lower productivity at first ● Benefits: People (and knowledge) stay in the company, team members know more about the whole system and manage dependencies better, inter-team communication and less effort/costs for hiring new team members
  13. 13. Lack of Communication What happened? It’s hard to keep up with what other teams and departments are doing and inform them about what you are doing. Solution: Scale down. Starting point: Due to growth teams focus on their own operational excellence but missing the overall vision and goals. Implemented solution: Radical Transparency CoP’s to share knowledge and experiences Invite business people to sprint demo’s Demo day every month School visits by tech teams Weekly Scrum of Scrums Sharing failures (Postmortem) Company wide retro after start of school year Team pages on Confluence
  14. 14. Continuous Delivery What happened? The number of teams kept on growing, integration and releasing taking more time, piling up code. Solution: Extend the DoD for all teams to include everything including releasing. Starting point: Done is not DONE, teams deliver their stuff to a system team who do integration, testing and releasing. Implemented solutions: ● Automate integration tests ● Invest heavily in building CI/CD pipeline, automate everything ● Focus on test automation in all teams ● Push back activities from System team to development teams (shift left) Develop Integrate Deliver
  15. 15. Long Term Planning What happened? Expectations from the business are not met and priorities changed faster than the long term plan. Solution: Be more precise and invest more time in planning to ensure things don’t change quite often. Starting point: Plans are made for a complete (school) year and need adjusting after every release. Implemented solution: Short Term Roadmap Planning ● Use 3-4 months planning horizons. Current increment has fixed scope, next increments are described in high level objectives. ● Measure the impact of features to base next steps upon (feedback on your hypothesis) ● Visualize the roadmap on a central wall for everybody to have complete visibility ● Communicate during town-hall meetings, not just the plans but also the outcomes
  16. 16. “You build it, you run it.” —Werner Voegls, Amazon CTO (2006)
  17. 17. Team Topology - Multiple Teams with Microservice
  18. 18. Inverse Conway Maneuver "Conway's Law asserts that organizations are constrained to produce application designs which are copies of their communication structures. This often leads to unintended friction points. The 'Inverse Conway Maneuver' recommends evolving your team and organizational structure to promote your desired architecture. Ideally your technology architecture will display isomorphism with your business architecture."
  19. 19. Aligning Team Boundaries Maximizes Continuous Delivery
  20. 20. ● A ‘team-first’ approach to software boundaries. ● Limit the size of software services/products to the cognitive load that the team can handle.
  21. 21. Alef Teams Topology Maximize team autonomy and optimize flow of change
  22. 22. Dependencies are Inevitable Team collaboration is important to deliver rich user experiences using the cohesive capabilities delivered by multiples teams. The challenge is to strike the right balance. Ideally, 80% of the work should be within a team boundary.
  23. 23. Align business, teams, and software architecture for fast flow
  24. 24. Observe before you act Do less, more often Stimulate Learning Communicate early and often Principles over Processes Focus on Team Topology Give it Time Break the Silos
  25. 25. “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence” —Vince Lombardi
  26. 26. Thank You

×