Being agile isn’t just for Christmas

Over the years, since 2007 to be precise, we've always prided ourselves on being an agile company. Since adopting agile methodologies this has enhanced the working environment and business as a whole.

It was only when someone entered the company externally and challenged our assumptions that we found some of the things that we had put in place were no longer working. Agile is all about continuous learning and improvement and we discovered that the main reason for some of our processes getting lost wasn’t down to anyone’s attention to detail or how hard streams were working but mainly down to how rapidly the team have grown over the last 18 months. We have gone from 28 employees at Codeweavers to 43!

One symptom we observed was that our retrospectives were increasingly ineffective. This was in part due to the number of people involved. It is not easy to inspect and adapt your processes when you have 20+ people in the room who have worked on lots of different projects with different clients.

Additionally because of the size of the team and because the workload keeps increasing we found that if we were kept on hold within a project for whatever reason whether this be internally or externally it would not only impact the developers within the project but all act as a bottleneck for other projects as they were not able to deploy to the live system or get their part of a project done as the project that was on hold affected their project.

The team decided to do something about the undesirable effects we were noticing and some significant changes to the company. The changes made have only been live for a few weeks but already we have seen great improvements to the way we are working. The biggest change we have made is splitting the development team into two. This has meant that the two teams set their own goals, manage their own workload and generally take direct ownership of their projects, software and customers. It means that as developers we have more control of our own work and bottlenecks can be quickly eradicated. The team have really got in the spirit of this and the two teams have now labelled themselves ‘Silkworm’ and ‘The A Team’. The two teams now have their own retros and stands ups and as the teams are half the size, they are much easier to manage and any points raised are more likely to be followed up.

This is only the start, we will let you know the other changes we implement and how we are getting on in the next few weeks!


Tech

By: Codeweavers - 29/05/15

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