Agile:Scrum or guerilla tactics?

When you start your own business, and you will, you’ll be flooded with books and LinkedIn posts about going Agile and how it’s the only way to survive.

Agile is a time boxed, iterative approach to software delivery that builds software incrementally from the start of the project, instead of trying to deliver it all at once near the end.

Agile works really well for conveyer-belt style companies, or those needing a beer after skiing, but if we look closely is it that great?

I’ve witnessed Agile first hand. Don’t get me wrong, I was on the bandwagon. I was also exhausted.

It takes a lot of energy, cost and often falls apart when you need it the most. Teams retreat when large projects interrupt protocol, procedure seems to rule the office and team members feel detached from their work.

If you’ve been working with Agile for a while and its working for you, great! This probably isn’t for you; but if you’re looking for an alternative, how about small guerilla style teams?

Let’s break this down;

The teams

Teams are 2-3 people. These can be switched up every month or so depending on the work. Sometimes a team needs to stay together for months. And thats OK.

This small ninja-like squad work closely with each other and switching gives them a chance to learn from others in the company.

Each member of the squad needs to have different skills so they are setup to complete goals wholly.

The business is now flattened. Everyone in each squad is even. Only one person should be in charge of the work coming in; lets call that person Worky McWork-Face.

The projects

No meetings. Stop. Stop them. They are slowly killing your business.

Instead, to start, Worky McWork-Face will gather up all the squads in one room and on a wall post all the projects and their due dates with heaps of space underneath.

From there, Worky McWork-Face will then post under each project the tasks needed to be done to complete each project.

Tasks might be from the client or brought up by the teams themselves.

If you have many projects this might take a whole wall, even the bathroom, but its worth it. Hold tight.

Worky McWork-Face’s job is done. They can sit back, for the time being, and be on-the-ball to answer any questions that might be blocking any squad.

Working in guerilla squads

It is the responsibility of each squad to walk up to the wall and pick the tasks under any project(s) they believe their squad can attack and complete.

Squads can communicate between each other on overlapping tasks however once a squad takes a task it is for them to complete. Choose wisely.

There are no two-week sprints. No meetings. The squads keep working and taking tasks from the wall as they go.

What does this encourage?

Each squad is empowered with their work and being small they can ensure quality along the way.

Micro-management has been removed. You can’t ask a single member about any one project, keeping moral high between each squad.

Each squad works harder than before. Being involved in planning and due-dates involves the team higher up and gives a sense of ownership.

Worky McWork-Face can easily track the projects and their progress simply by how many tasks have been removed from the wall.

Interruptions be can easily tolerated, working in smaller teams, each swarm to make adjustments.

This is how we work at Solid Pink and we’re happier for it.

Although we run outta wall space quickly.

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