Things Are Broken: A Case Study In Moving Tooooooooo Fast

“Move fast and break things.” — Mark Zuckerberg

Mobile is no longer a hobby for companies. In that world, speed is the key. My company embraced the principle of “welcoming changing requirements, even late in development.” It’s allowed us to grow, and we have accomplished some amazing things.

It’s also caused some challenges for teams. They felt the pain of this pace, and our clients were frustrated by delayed releases.

This presentation describes a 3-month case study I ran to measure things like team communication, productivity, and quality while implementing Scrum for the first time. The results were convincing, and allowed us to learn what happens when you value speed more than anything else.

I hope you’ll join me in seeing how we learned to work smarter instead of harder.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • Intro/About Me -- 5 min.
  • Why Speed Is Important In Mobile -- 5 min.
  • The Challenge For My Case Study -- 5 min.
  • Study Results -- 5 min.
  • The Pivot -- 5 min.
  • Survey Results Part 2 -- 5 min.
  • What I Learned -- 5 min.
  • Wrap Up/Questions -- 10 min.

What’s interesting about this case study is I ran some metrics during retrospectives that support my theories and outcomes. My company’s leadership team found this super helpful as we move forward into 2016.

The main metrics I gathered for this case study were derived from a 3-month retrospective study with teams. I used a value-stream mapping survey that rated five topics on a scale of 1-10 with follow up questions. The five subjects relate to team happiness, team productivity, individual productivity, quality of work, and team communication.

When I reviewed the results, the lowest metric related to quality of work. Reasons why varied, but many touched upon the speed at which we work and how much of struggle it would be. Dependencies were not properly identified before work was pulled into the sprint, and reduced testing time were causing us to ship work that we were not completely satisfied with.

From a dependencies standpoint, what I uncovered from follow up interviews with teams related to definition of ready. When teams work at an accelerated pace, teams were rushed to start on work before DoR has been met. This affects productivity and velocity by working on items that are not necessarily ready. In all actuality, team leaders were not completely clear on how to properly identify these items because of the speed at which they were operating.

This plays into the notion of a “fire-fighting” culture that many organizations have, which is why I feel this is an interesting topic.

Learning Outcome

• Chiefly, learn that you can, indeed, move too fast as a team.
• Learn the many ways that speed can impact the quality of work.
• See that team happiness may not necessarily be the best indicator of work product quality.
• Learn that speeding up actually slows down communication.
• Finally, I can show you the best way to communicate this to key stakeholders is with measurable data.

Target Audience

Anyone with a desire to increase the speed at with their teams move.

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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