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Continuous Reteaming - Aginext 2019

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Do engineering teams have to be static? Could you form them, disband them or adjust their composition on a regular cadence to adapt to business needs? Could you go as far as letting your engineers decide themselves what to work on while keeping everyone aligned?

Would it be a recipe for disaster? Or would it give you the flexibility to work on what has the highest business impact while increasing engagement and developing your future leaders?

In this talk, I'll describe how my team adopted self-selection and self-organisation and how we scaled those practices to 60 people. I'll share with you our recipe to:
- Successfully plan quarters when managers can't assign engineers to projects anymore,
- Engage with stakeholders,
- Set constraints to encourage positive behaviour,
- Create alignment and track progress through OKRs.

You will leave with a renewed understanding of what Agile means at its core!

http://2019.aginext.io/Session/flexible-working-agile/

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Continuous Reteaming - Aginext 2019

  1. 1. Continuous Reteaming Adopt self-selection and start moving people to the work! Aginext.io
  2. 2. Who am I? Julien Lavigne du Cadet Engineering Manager Data Engineering https://www.linkedin.com/in/julienlavigneducadet
  3. 3. Agenda
  4. 4. <2015: 1 dev = 1 part of the system
  5. 5. <2015: 1 dev = 1 part of the system
  6. 6. <2015: 1 dev = 1 part of the system Bus factor High WIP Long lead time / queuing
  7. 7. ~2015/16: Product teams End to end ownership! But…
  8. 8. ~2015/16: Product teams … What if priorities change?
  9. 9. ~2015/16: Product teams … Or the business wants all hands on deck?
  10. 10. ~2015/16: Product teams Low adaptability to changing demand Unequal work distribution
  11. 11. ~2016/17: Project teams
  12. 12. ~2016/17: Project teams Hard to compose teams Hard to stop projects and transition Massive overhead on the manager
  13. 13. Early 2018… In a galaxy not so far away…
  14. 14. More work… • 15 engineers, growing… • 10+ stakeholders • 30+ people years of project backlog…
  15. 15. Massive product scope 100+ pieces of software, full stack • Microservices in C#, Kotlin, … • UIs with Angular, Typescript, … • Spark code and Scala libraries, … • SQL, NoSql, … • Batch and RT processing… • Random infra like hosted jupyter notebook, …
  16. 16. Sadness… Why are people not taking ownership? How do we scale the team?
  17. 17. Optimise for…
  18. 18. Intrinsic motivation
  19. 19. Inspirations… https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/apps/valve/Valve_NewEmployeeHandbook.pdf https://blog.crisp.se/2016/12/30/henrikkniberg/agile-lego https://dannorth.net/2018/01/26/in-praise-of-swarming/
  20. 20. Planning day The theory
  21. 21. A simple process…
  22. 22. Planning cocktail Ingredients and recipe
  23. 23. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review 10:30 – Demand side pitch 12:30 – Lunch 13:30 – Constraints presentations 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission 17:00 – Drinks (optional)
  24. 24. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) => Build relationships 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review 10:30 – Demand side pitch 12:30 – Lunch 13:30 – Constraints presentations 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission 17:00 – Drinks (optional)
  25. 25. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review => Energise everyone and celebrate success! 10:30 – Demand side pitch 12:30 – Lunch 13:30 – Constraints presentations 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission 17:00 – Drinks (optional)
  26. 26. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review 10:30 – Demand side pitch => Provide visibility and build alignment 12:30 – Lunch 13:30 – Constraints presentations 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission 17:00 – Drinks (optional)
  27. 27. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review 10:30 – Demand side pitch 12:30 – Lunch => Build relationships 13:30 – Constraints presentations 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission 17:00 – Drinks (optional)
  28. 28. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review 10:30 – Demand side pitch 12:30 – Lunch 13:30 – Constraints presentations => Enable self-selection 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission 17:00 – Drinks (optional)
  29. 29. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review 10:30 – Demand side pitch 12:30 – Lunch 13:30 – Constraints presentations 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams => Engage all relevant parties and build the quarterly plan 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission 17:00 – Drinks (optional)
  30. 30. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review 10:30 – Demand side pitch 12:30 – Lunch 13:30 – Constraints presentations 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission => Communicate and test the plan 17:00 – Drinks (optional)
  31. 31. Recipe for the day 8:30 – Breakfast (optional) 9:30 – Last quarter achievements review 10:30 – Demand side pitch 12:30 – Lunch 13:30 – Constraints presentations 13:45 – Iterate on the clustering and form teams 16:30 – Present each newly created team / mission 17:00 – Drinks (optional) => Celebrate and build relationships
  32. 32. Ingredients
  33. 33. Preplanning Top N projects
  34. 34. Who?
  35. 35. Where? • Big enough room • Lot of walls white boards • Far from the office* *otherwise people will come and go…
  36. 36. Constraints E.G. rules of the game! => Makes sure we don’t end up with an unacceptable solution
  37. 37. Constraints - examples • All work gets picked or deprioritised • Team size between 3 and 6 • If a team is a continuation from last quarter: • The new team must not be a subset of the previous team • At least one person must stay
  38. 38. Constraints - examples • 20% of kaizen / tech debt reduction work
  39. 39. Detailed instructions
  40. 40. Previous quarter achievements Teams present what was done last quarter. ~5mins per team • Focus on impact. How did you move the needle? • What is still in progress or left to do? • Make it fun • Applause & celebrate!
  41. 41. Demand side pitch Stakeholders present what are this quarter priorities. ~15mins / topic • What’s the context? • Why does it matter? • What is the expected business impact? • What would a great quarter look like? • Q&A with the room A volunteer creates post-it notes with the main ideas / work items
  42. 42. Self-selection / self-organisation People will cluster work as they see fit and form SLAM teams around those. We will iterate until the constraints are satisfied
  43. 43. SLAM Teams Self-managed, Lean, Audacious, Multidisciplinary
  44. 44. Expected outcomes • Team name • Team composition • Mission • Stakeholders • Capacity and SWAGs* • Risk and dependencies • Draft OKRs *https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_wild-ass_guess
  45. 45. OKRs Objectives and Key Results • Moon shots! • Measurables • Score from 0 to 1
  46. 46. Iterations Start iterating! People will: • Engage with each other to discuss the work • Put their name where they want to work • Fill the expected outcomes template
  47. 47. Iterations Are the constraints met? Is there too much work somewhere? Have we addressed stakeholders’ concerns? Iterate Yes No Yes Yes Drop or move work around Adapt teams No No
  48. 48. What have we NOT achieved? • A static plan – things will change • Option: buffer with “BAU” team • Chosen a delivery lead for the team • Finalised OKRs
  49. 49. Stuff we learned the hard way… • How you introduce the planning day matters • 1 day offsite ?!? • We already have a 5 years roadmap! • Stakeholders need to show up
  50. 50. Stuff we learned the hard way… • Too much work • Preformed teams
  51. 51. Success? “I want to keep the quarterly planning and self selection process in place”
  52. 52. Success? “I want to keep the quarterly planning and self selection process in place” Little long term product ownership Only works with software that fits in your head? Leap of faith
  53. 53. Forming the teams
  54. 54. Delivery lead • Keeps the team focussed • Communicates with stakeholders • Is *NOT* a tech lead
  55. 55. Delivery lead selection process • By the team itself Interesting findings • Nobody wants to be a project/program manager… Everybody wants to be a delivery lead!! • People tend to elect the person that wants to do it more
  56. 56. Weekly status update • OKR Update • Team health and discussions
  57. 57. Weekly status update • What did you achieve last week? Current KR score? • What are you focussing on this week? • How confident are we that we can score a 1.0 on this KR by the end of the quarter? • Do we need to change anything / move work around?
  58. 58. Agile? Scream team A Scream team B XP team
  59. 59. Agile? Or not… Scream team A Scream team B XP team
  60. 60. Intrinsic motivation
  61. 61. Continuous reteaming
  62. 62. Continuous reteaming Thank you! Questions?

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