Agile in Action – The R&D Experience

by | November 22, 2015

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Agile in Action – The R&D Experience

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.

At the speed of agility!

At the speed of agility!

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.


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