Eight+ months ago I decided to bring a change to my life. I decided to resign to my Account Director position at Studiocom. I was sure that even when Studiocom was named as one of the best place to work here in Colombia, there was no opportunity for me to grow personal or professional. I was working hard more than a year on amazing projects, getting results for the company, and the client, but with no professional opportunities, or any recognition or reward, feeling frustration and of course, leading me to a no-return situation.
Then, I took a chance with a well-known entrepreneur at Torrenegra Labs – thanks to Leo Suarez and Alex Torrenegra. It was not a smooth transition. At the beginning I was supposed to work on a project (shh! It is a secret one), however after our first formal review on the scope and budget, we decided to keep this initiative on hold. It was back on December! OMG! What am I going to do?
Fortunately for me, Alex invited me to join the LetMeGo Team as the owner of the Referral Program (during my first three months here at Torrenegra Labs I offered my help on LetMeGo project giving a hand to launch the Beta on time). I joined the team last January. So, “What? Referral what?” I was confused and I was feeling ignorant, what is a referral program? and how am I suppose build a successful referral program?
I started working as Architect of the LetMeGo Subsystem on charge of the Referral Program, and then of course, as any good Architect, I started coding, but not coding like I was used to. That is when RRapido Methodology and I formally met. Even when it is a mix of Agile, Traditional Development and Test Driven development, I have to say that the most valuable asset that we have is our methodology. I’m not saying it is perfect or a “One-Size-Fits-All”, however I will give my impressions on it:
- Applied Test Driven Development reduces the chances of getting errors on late development phases or iterations (I will not discuss here if they are the same or not).
- Extremely well document UC, TC and UI – LMG is the first project I had participated on were tech docs are almost perfect and detailed good enough to allow clear trace between code, tests and UC – it is a little bit confusing because Agile Manifesto includes a line “Working software over comprehensive documentation” – what does it means anyway? Even on traditional approach you are always looking for “working software”.
- Noisy communications – RRapido fails on how things are communicated. We had what we call here in Colombia “meetin-gitis”, but through Skype. Most of the times we over communicate everything to everybogy. With time you get used to it, but it is like be in a party with everybody talking each other and with loud music.
- Microblogging looks like useless. We use Yammer, I microblogging tool for private(?) teams. We used it to promote our tasks every day -I’ve to admit that I’m not most dedicated team member to that.
- Small group with one “I-know-everything-about-the-system” manager. RRapido, and the most significant and valuable addition to our team is what Scrum calls the Product Owner. Alex is our product owner, he is a technical person that has developed a great “business” sense. With his experience and dedication RRapido and the whole project is kept on track. There is no doubt about it. One day without Alex is a day when things slow down (a little bit)
So it is time to talk about Mr. Alex or Don Alex. I disagree about few practices on Alex management style however, and based on the facts and the results I say: He is on care of EVERY detail of the system, leading the team to a successful product and “working software”. He is the dream of every development team, a dedicated and objective Product Owner that understands technical challenges and risks of every decision. Alex does not ask for outstanding deliverables all the time, but when he does that, he also provides the tools and time to succeed.
RRapido Methodology depends 100% on the Product Owner -what we call Product Developer. He/she is the key of the RRapido Methodology, as the keeper of the process. It is so difficult to know about the system, the business, the market, the customer drivers, to have relevant technical background on the development, to have passion about the business, and also to be the process owner, that RRapido becomes a process for few -maybe a process that can be adapted for those who had worked with Alex.
As my dad always says, if your are complaining about something that you can change, why you do not change it. I decided then to write this post, sure that Torrenegra Team will read it and probably -if I succeed- will include few process to the methodology.
- Methodology is a set of steps, it is not a ToDo list. RRapido feels like a set of things to do, but I would prefer if we can set them as a procedure.
- Communications are noisy, One-on-One meetings are great, Publishing Notification Board is ok, all other are noisy. I would prefer a message board or workspace site.
- Microblogging is useless when weekly tasks have been set. Remove it or use it to assign tasks, not to report them.
- Documentation. I’m in love with documentation, it is not perfect, but it supplies all developers need to code, test and validate the required functionality, however, navigation between UC, UT and UI is painfull. I would look for another way to link UC and UI (maybe a two column page or something similar).
- By formalizing RRapido steps, dependency on the Product Developer role will be reduced.
- Test Driven Development Rocks!