You can have incredibly talented developers working on your project, but if you don’t have the right approach to communication, your team won’t work as quickly or efficiently as it otherwise could. At SmartLogic we believe in daily stand-ups and weekly iteration meetings to keep everyone involved in-the-know, thereby ensuring we are building what the client wants.
This article is part 2 in a 5-part series explaining maximizing long-term throughput in the product development process. Previously we discussed why development should be optimized for long-term throughput.
Tactics vs. Tools
Below, we outline the tactics we use for communication along with some possible tools. Tactics are the pillars of the process. Tactics change on an infrequent basis (e.g. every several years).
The tools, on the other hand, are mutable. They can and should change as better or more convenient tools and software products become available.
Meetings and communication ensure consistently high throughput by:
Filling the development backlog
|Hold Epic Meetings when you need to fill up the development backlog and discuss the next several iterations worth of work||In-person meetings or virtual meetings via Skype/Google Hangout|
|On a regular and more micro basis, e.g. weekly, hold Iteration Meetings to ensure that all stakeholder priorities are aligned||In-person meetings or virtual meetings via Skype/Google Hangout|
|Standup Meetings are the most micro type of meeting you can have; we hold them every morning||In-person meetings or virtual meetings via Skype/Google Hangout|
|Constant Team Collaboration and Chat allow questions to be answered as quickly as feasible||Sitting in the same physical room, Slack, Campfire, Hipchat, Jabber|
|Tell us how you really feel; communicate effectively||Ask all stakeholders for their Project Temperature (see below)|
At the end of each iteration meeting we ask each person at the meeting to give a project temperature and explain their rationale. The project temperature is simply a rating of 1 to 10 of how well the individual thinks the project is going. 10 means everything in the world is just peachy whereas 1 means somebody should be fired immediately.
We do this because oftentimes you can go through an entire meeting without actually sharing your concerns or praises about a project. It’s important to know why someone is happy or unhappy. You’d be amazed at what can come to light when people need to assign a simple numeric value to their feelings on a project. Catching concerns early keeps the project from going in the wrong direction for too long. On the other hand, it’s important to know what the team is doing right.
We can also guide you through the process of writing code.