Saturday, July 15, 2017

Honey badger Team / The visual history II

Disclaimer: I am experimenting with different formats to create presentations, blog post, and other documents, mixing sketch noting and using index cards... I will appreciate your feedback.

In the previous post about the history of the Honey Badger Team, the focus was to define the context, explain how we evolve our practices, our culture and get our identity as a team. But in parallel, there is a history of tension and lot of work to make this change possible :)

As in any software product development effort, the path was not easy. Perhaps the first blog post doesn't reflect the amount of energy and discussions required to introduce quality and good practices in our team.

During this process (one year and a half), there was tension between different forces: time, scope, learning needs, maintainability, quality, short term value, long term value...

As usual, the main problem is that not all the company have the same experience about technology development so is very difficult to reach a complete alignment for a sustainable strategy...

This was my job or at least part of my job, and for sure, it wasn't easy and requires a lot of energy, patience, and continuous learning...  Learn about how to sell ideas, learn about how to get some margin, learn about how to generate trust...
I also tried to teach about agile concepts, lean, collaboration, etc.

During part of this journey we also had a CTO that helped us to defend the need for change, so even if the change process was already there, is true that he helped me to accelerate the process a little bit (for example he negotiated a percentage of time to improve our test network). He also helped me to translate technical concepts to the C level.

The main problem, as in any complex system that involves humans, was the communication. Seems that we use a completely different vocabulary and even language. I try to solve this miscommunication trying to learn about our business, gain trust and adapting our message to the actual understanding of the technology.

There was an inflection point in the process that could cause the collapse of the team. We started to work as a team, introduce the XP practices and improve day by day, but in parallel, there was some misalignments at the company level that was introducing a lot of structure, a lot of levels and an environment not very aligned with our spirit of collaboration...
This problem drained the motivation of the tech team, that feel very good improvements regarding our internal processes but feel the friction generated by this amount of structure and the misalignment.

This process ended with some deep changes at the company level, but during this period of time, we lost great engineers and great colleagues :(  Personally, this was a rough time for me.
Seems that we have overcome that problem and that we are in the right direction, adding new honey badgers to the team.

In summary, the first blog post explained the internal changes but this doesn't reflect the whole history... in parallel, there was a huge effort to improve the communication between each group in the company, deal with all the typical tensions, and a lot of small changes to introduce a more agile culture in times of huge uncertainty...

And I can assure that this path was not easy... required patience and energy...   and this are a scarce resource :)


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