Playbook covers our best practices and gives you the best insight how we deliver successfull long-term software projects.
One of the most interesting things about our company is that we have no managers. Instead, we have such a transparent and automated management process in place that there is simply no need for managers. We have employed a set of practices that enables us to manage large long-term projects without managers.
We have a short Standup Meeting every day at 11 AM. Every team member briefly presents what she/he has achieved between the last Standup and now, and what she/he is going to achieve between now and the next Standup and what obstacles, if any, there are in the way. The Standup usually takes 5-10 minutes for the entire company. The point to each presentation is that they need to be as focused, dynamic and brief as possible. This helps to concentrate the other team member’s attention and by doing so optimize the effectiveness of each presentation. Daily Standups work as a quick way to synchronize who works on what parts of the system and who can help to complete more complex Stories.
We have two types of retrospectives. The first is a quick internal retrospective every Thursday after the standup meetup. The second is a little longer with each Product Owner (usually a client).
During our internal retrospective, we provide a quick overview and highlight the most important aspects and progress in every project. Also, we discuss what new improvements we should introduce. This retrospective works as a weekly status refresh at the company level. This retrospective takes 5-10 minutes.
Retrospectives with a Product Owner are usually done via Video call, or a face to face meeting when possible. Every team member provides an overview of what she/he has achieved during the last Sprint. We also discuss the next Sprint plan. All other important aspects such as newly signed contracts, raised funding rounds, or usage increase is highlighted too. This retrospective takes 5-20 mins once a week depending on the team size. This retrospective works as a weekly status synchronization at the project level.
We don’t need a manager to track team and developer performance. We do this automatically by tracking Velocity. Velocity is the most important metric for individual and team performance. Velocity is simply the sum of completed Story Points per Sprint. We track both team and individual Velocity.
Team Velocity works as a great indicator of how the entire team is performing. We discuss reasons for Velocity change during Retrospective Meeting if there is significant Velocity change. Team Velocity also provides a strong and consistent base for prediction for future deliveries, because it tends to be stable in the long term.
Individual Velocity works as a great way to figure out personal performance for every developer in the team. This both helps us to identify individual performance changes early and motivates developers to complete planned Stories in the Sprint.
Our team speaks fluent English and communicates directly with clients via text chats, video calls, emails, project management tools and other channels. We eliminated managers between developers and client. This decreases possible miscommunication and quickly builds trust between client and the team.
Open Space encourages communication between team members, so there is no need for a manager whose role is to eliminate gaps and join loose ends. The team naturally solves such cases. Open Space also naturally encourages open discussions involving other team members, especially those who have more experience with the subject. Working together in a common space also provides numerous other benefits, such as a feeling of equality between the team.