It takes an agile R&D team to build a fast paced super product. I’m a developer & Tech-Lead @ Panaya and finally found the time to blurb some words and not code.
Pushing Features at the Speed of Light
So… On the average day, I context-switch between developing a bunch of different projects, pushing our arch to the brink or sitting with developers on their issues. Knowledge and synchronization should happen fast, both in R&D and with PMs (product managers). Structured hierarchy? Sure – but we can’t have it slowing us down – we all have direct contact with PMs. We need to be able to pass ideas and information up, down and sideways without looking at a rulebook.
Have Any Thoughts? Let’s Sit Over Coffee!
You know that itching feeling you get when you have a killer idea in your mind – we’re NOT all about the “Road Map” – let’s huddle, a 5 person team scrum, a 20 people group scrum – OR just over coffee – and kick-start ideas. We’re Agile – we’ll find the interval to fit it in. We’ve got a track record – quite a few wacky ideas we’ve matured into full-blown features & products.
Agile is Team!
Our R&D is about “rolling up your sleeves” and getting hands-on, together. Challenges? We do have quite a few – they vary – mine might be improving the customer experience – how do you build the seamless UX – technologically? And I know I have my team to back me up on these.
Double Alignment – with Agility
One of the biggest challenges we face is working in a B2B environment. I can’t just tell a customer what to do – “Install a new browser” is easy to tell my friends, but at a large cap, moving from Explorer to Chrome takes months. We have to play by their rules, and we adapt – rolling out fast, beta-ing features, solving issues even faster. We have to be “double aligned” – aligned with our customers limitations and with the “fantasies” that our product managers come up with.
The R&D Thrill
I’ve already mentioned we are a team – we have weekly team meetings, a few scrum meetings with 10 to 20 of us – sure – it’s a lot of talking – but it does work! On the tech side, we’re riding the wave of frontend technology creating on a huge SPA (Single Page Application) from scratch.
So agile really works for us, and has been for the past 2 years – looking at it now, after attending many conference & meetups, there’s no one true formula for everything, especially being “Agile” – but if you don’t try… Anyway – it got us straight to where we wanted to be, and to where I imagined we can and should be.