Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Honey badger Team

One of the most impressive things about this last year is the great tech team generated at TheMotion. Another impressive thing is the platform, but it deserve another blog post...

When I arrived to TheMotion, I couldn’t say that the tech team had bad members, but the practices were not the best for the level of change and the scale required.

For example, some silos started to appear (front end, back end, video, etc), there was a tendency to generate feature branches that lived forever and the deployment and infrastructure was semi manual and without a good cadence for putting increments in production. For example, there were two environments, staging and production, and sometimes a feature could live in staging for more than a week before going to production.

Another “weird” practice was that the code was owned by only one developer, so there was some kind of “pipeline” for development for each feature that generate tons of integration work and coordination problems.

This was the starting line, but with some work, mentoring and sometimes being a little bit “radical” with the approach about agility, all of these practices and tech culture changed for the better.

From the beginning, the eagerness to learn and to make continuous improvements allows us to change our behaviour very deeply. You can have the fortune to work with very talented people, but if each one work individually and they are not aligned, the result can be worse than working with no so talented people that work as a team. So it was clear to me that the most important thing was to align all this talent to share a vision, practices and culture.

I think that having enough “mentoring power” for the size of the team is key. For example, I can myself teach some of the XP practices, but this is not enough when the team have ten members. To improve this, the collaboration of Modesto San Juan and Alfredo Casado from Carlos Ble y Asociados (now codesai) was key, because the message was clear and the impact of three persons focused on transmitting the practices was powerful enough to generate the change… It's always important to have critical mass and generate early adopters that helps to spread the change :-)

In parallel to introducing modern agile practices, there was another change going on… the generation of a high performance team. A team of people that trust each other, that want to learn together and that have no problems to have conflicts or propose different technical solutions… I can’t explain how we made this change, from a group to a team… I can only say that if you treat people as adults, try to help anyone and learn from others, the magic can happen. It is like being a gardener, you can plant flowers and take care of the environment (protecting the team, being an example of the change that you want, making the culture explicit, etc), nothing more, only water the garden.

In this case, the magic happened and the group growth to become a teama great development team, the Honey Badger team :-)

Right now, our practices include, continuous delivery (several times a day), TDD, simple design, immutable infrastructure, infrastructure as code, collective ownership and we work as a high performance team with our own identity and a high level of trust…. And this change only in 15 months…

Some of the actual Honey Badger team at https://www.themotion.com/about/

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Review. The five dysfunctions of a team

The Five dysfunctions of a Team

by Patrick Lencioni

This book helps to identify and solve the most common and important dysfunctions of a team. It helps to convert a group of related people working in an organization into a high performance team that works as a cohesive unit that can achieve much more than the individuals by themselves, or working as a group.

As an example, it uses one of the most important teams in any organization, C-level management. It examines the problems, possible solutions, as well as the process to make this change possible. The truth is that the tips, method and processes can be applied to any group of people who want to become a real team.

The first part of the book is written like a novel, very much like The Goal or The Phoenix project. The second part gives tools and describes the framework to create good teams.

Very instructive and easy to read book. Good for anyone interested in working or forming teams.

Discovered the illustrated version via Luis Artola :-)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Charlas interesantes sobre agilidad

Estas son algunas charlas relacionadas con la agilidad que he visto últimamente:
  • Aprender a distinguir el problema de las soluciones Carlos Blé. Completamente alineado con esta charla... interesantes pistas para pensar en el dominio del problema de forma que se mantengan abiertas gran cantidad de opciones para las soluciones. Complementaria a mi charla El arte del patadón pa'lante
  • Una historia sobre Clean Architecture con Ruby Dani Latorre Interesante charla siguiendo los principios de DDD y de Interaction Driven Design. Ejemplo de arquitectura limpia y sencilla de gran flexibilidad y que permite generar código muy sencillo de testear y evolucionar.
  • Priorizando productos con el modelo Kano Fernando Palomo. Ya conocia el modelo Kano, pero no he visto experiencias de aplicación y la verdad es que esta charla lo explica muy bien y da un ejemplo de como usarlo de forma muy sencilla y directa.
  • Alineando valores con prácticas técnicas Rubén Eguiluz, Alberto Pérez e Isidro López. Ejemplo práctico de como se puede unificar una cultura ágil fuerte con una búsqueda de la excelencia técnica mediate el uso de los principios y prácticas de XP. Como exmiembro de este equipo, esta charla me llena de orgullo y puedo confirmar que todo lo que se comenta es rigurosamente cierto :-)
  • Generando tests Rafael de Castro. Interesante charla que explica de forma muy sencilla la técnica de property based testing. Muy instructiva.
  • Comunidades de necesidad vs comunidades de soluciones Antonio de la Torre. Interesante charla sobre cultura agile en la que se superponen la curva de adopción, las comunidades de práctica y de soluciones e incluso el modelo Cynefin. Muy interesante. Basada en muchas de las ideas de Chris Matts

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Review: Drive (Daniel H. Pink)


The Surpising truth about what motivate us

I think that this book is fundamental to understanding how “work” is changing and what motivates us in a knowledge-work environment.

The jobs from the industrial age are disappearing and each day the number of jobs that require a lot of knowledge and creativity are increasing. So the tools and structures created for the previous era have no sense anymore. In fact I think that some of these tools and ideas are counterproductive.

This book explains human motivation very well and how science is discovering and validating these ideas. It also explains the differences between these ideas and the ideas that are the basis for the actual management techniques used by the vast majority of the companies. It also describes some examples of successful companies that use a more modern approach based on these verified ideas.

An indispensable book to understand the human motivations discovered through science: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

It also describes some companies that have been successfully adapted and that use this knowledge about motivation to be more successful.

Indispensable for anyone interested in human relations, world environment and in how to improve our organizations.

I am very pleased to see that a lot of companies in my environment (software development, IT, etc) understand these principles and use this knowledge to generate a more “rich” environment.

Book highly recommended

In case anyone prefers a very quick summary you may also find interesting the following TED talk of its author:


Saturday, January 07, 2017

Interesting talks I saw these days (work organization, complexity, leadership, product, trust, collaboration)

These are the most interesting talks I saw these last days: