GivenGain recently joined PayProp in moving to Agile development processes. Wikipedia defines Agile as “adaptive [rather than fixed] planning, evolutionary [rather than wholesale] development, early [and predictable] delivery and continual improvement [rather than fixed outcomes]”. *
Agile at Humanstate started with Werner Bättenhaussen taking on the role of Product Owner (PO) – a key Agile position – in 2018. Soon after, PayProp started doing monthly Sprints, formalising development cycles into manageable chunks over shorter periods rather than entire projects over long, unspecified periods. In time, these were changed to two-weekly Sprints, further cutting development time.
“Having a PO creates a single funnel for all development requests,” Werner says. “And with Sprints we want to start a pattern of timely development requests and agreed-upon development parameters, so that we can almost ‘close ranks’ during that time and only work on requests included in the Sprint – while leaving some room for extra requests.”
With PayProp’s Sprint processes bedded down and delivering the right results – steady, guaranteed delivery of smaller standalone ‘portions’ of code, as well as more streamlined development processes – GivenGain recently followed the same path. Albert Cornelissen became GivenGain’s Product Owner, and like Werner, will personally receive and channel all development requests via the GivenGain Development Inbox, to better manage output and resources in line with capacity and business priorities. GivenGain also meets every second Friday for a half-day Sprint planning session.
Surprisingly, we can all learn from Agile. The Development teams have been helping other departments adapt their own processes, with the end goal to build cross-functional teams to overcome barriers and bottlenecks. The Copy team has implemented its own Inbox, where anyone requiring copy should leave their request and ask for a quick chat with the team about priority, capacity and resources as well as a reasonable delivery date.
Ultimately, Agile allows the task originator, delivering department and project teams to take co-ownership of outcomes, forcing them to communicate better and have data-driven expectations. As a result, all of us can look forward to more transparent, predictable and certain delivery by the Humanstate production engine!
* Insertions by this article’s author