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Creating your development process

A development process is essentially a framework for how to work together in an engineering team and the way the team works together has great impact on how well it supports the product and the organisation. Ideally, the way that the process is outlined should be aligned with the business strategy. For example, if innovation is important for your business, you need a process that supports innovation. If timely deliveries is more important, you need to adapt your process to that requirement. In this talk Bjorn will explain what the Loop54 development process looks like and give concrete examples of what effects it was designed to create and how that is manifested in the process.

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Creating your development process

  1. 1. Creating a development process that fits your organisation How we created ours at Loop54
  2. 2. Björn Sundman - VP Engineering at Loop54 - Computer science and backend developer - 12 yrs technical management - Had roles as Product Manager, CTO, Tech Director and VP Engineering - Certified Scrum PO & Scrum Master
  3. 3. How do you work with your engineering team? - Problems we experienced with Scrum - What we did instead - Maybe get you to challenge how you work with your engineering team
  4. 4. Starting point
  5. 5. Loop54 & the Team - Complex AI search engine for e-commerce - With a complex product, much of the product development is technology driven - Team has wide area of responsibility such as hosting, infrastructure, ML/AI algorithms, frontend, backend, data processing etc - Team members have different skills
  6. 6. Our challenges (using Scrum) - A lot of smaller urgent tasks filled our sprints - At least 3 major bodies of work - Shoehorn in the long term work! - Long discussions not concerning everyone - Difficult to plan for different competencies
  7. 7. Consequences - Frustration! - Low progress on long term important things - Low control - People had a feeling of not moving forward
  8. 8. Creating our own process
  9. 9. Insight #1 Fully understanding all aspects of a complex enough problem takes time, requires focus and it is a continuous learning process
  10. 10. Insight #2 Fully understanding a complex problem is a requirement to come up with a genuinely good long term solution
  11. 11. Insight #3 You can only work on very few things at a time and still do it well
  12. 12. Insight #4 Goals are not always obvious to everyone
  13. 13. Insight #5 Developers like to design and build good solutions
  14. 14. Insight #6 Working together results in better solutions
  15. 15. Insight #7 There’s usually no way around problems other than fixing them
  16. 16. Insight #8 Estimates are unreliable
  17. 17. Insight #9 If it’s important, you should do it
  18. 18. Insight #10 Time plans are a good tool for creating the right discussion
  19. 19. Trails Trails are a focused development effort with a specific goal. They are a way for a smaller group of developers to work in a dedicated way towards achieving a result with high degrees of freedom and responsibility.
  20. 20. Trails - Have a clear goal - 2-3 developers - No developer is on more than 2 trails - Have a lightweight steering document including a time plan, deliveries & delimitations - Owned by the developers - Weekly meeting with PO & Eng. manager
  21. 21. What else? - “No trail” work with a fast lane for PO - Fix minor issues using your best judgement - Fix all issues causing incidents immediately - Weekly review of roadmap as a team - 20% of time on technical debt / innovation - Current state on a kanban board
  22. 22. What it looks like Trail 1 Trail 2 Trail 3 No trail Dev A & B Dev A & C Dev A, B & C Continuous non-trail “stuff” Timescale: months
  23. 23. In practice - Based on kanban
  24. 24. Results
  25. 25. Results - Happy team - A strong feeling of making progress - We have delivered 5 important trails in a year! Timely and with high quality - Drastic reduction in firefighting - We now get much better focus on important work!
  26. 26. I encourage you to challenge the way you work with your engineering team!