Speed, Efficiency and Creativity: Lessons From Extreme Programmers

Speaker: Angus Frame, VP Strategy – TribalScale

Description:

Ever seen extreme programmers at work? It’s extreme. Two of them sit at a desk with one monitor, both with keyboards and mice to control the same computer. When one gets stumped, the other takes over immediately. This creates an approach to problem solving that is extremely efficient, creative, and fast.

In this session, Angus will extract some of the lessons around collaboration and teamwork from the world of extreme programming, and draw parallels to the worlds of marketing and retail. You’ll learn ways in which to help your team collaborate more effectively, more creatively, and much faster.

Session Takeaways:

Angus talks about the unique culture at TribalScale and how they take the agile approach in extreme programming to the next level. Below you’ll learn the rituals that make this company adept at solving problems in a creative and efficient manner.

Release Plan

It’s the bigger picture of the project. Having an end goal or a vision, helps you to figure out which aspects the team should focus on. These projects should contribute to the overall direction of the company. Both the technical and business employees work together to make this plan work. They make their own decisions and create a schedule that everyone can commit to.

Iteration Planning

Teams should always have iteration planning, also known as sprints, to plan out what to do for the week. This ensures that projects aren’t backlogged and forgotten about, since they’re always revisiting the ‘drawing board’.

Standup Meeting

At the start of everyday, the team stands up for 15 minutes and huddles together. Employees take this time to talk about what they did yesterday, what they’re planning to do today, and if there’s anything in particular that’s holding them back from getting their job done.

It’s very useful because this promotes the idea of learning from each other’s mistakes. This keeps everyone on the same page so they can move forward together.

Pair Programming

Pair Programming requires for two people to work on one particular task. Now the idea might seem counterproductive at first, but putting people together creates an atmosphere of focus and allows them to produce quality work that’s scalable. Employees won’t be distracted and check their emails or surf the web. Instead, they’ll be focusing on the task at hand, while learning from their peer.

Another reason why this works is because of the phenomenon known as ‘The Power of Two’:

‘The Power of Two’ is when you take someone who’s a junior and pair them with someone who is intermediate/senior. Studies prove this technique raises the company morale and also the quality of work.

“In fact, 90%-95% who work in pairs are happier, more engaged, and prefer not to work any other way”

Demo

Every Friday, employees demo what they’ve been working on for that week. It’s meant to engage other employees by allowing them to give comments, positive feedback, or even constructive criticism. By allowing employees to show their work, it also allows for clarity of thought. That’s because when they present, they have to be articulate about the work they’re showing. It could even help shy people become more confident in themselves and more comfortable with the idea of public speaking.

Acceptance

Now, this step usually requires the most business owner engagement. This is usually where the ‘stamp of approval’ is given for the project you’re working on. This stage is key because it keeps everything transparent and the owner is constantly updated on the progress of the job. That way it’s never too late to correct anything if something goes wrong.

Retro

Everyone on the team who was on the project sits down and reflects on the work they’ve done. This is where they discuss what went well, what they need to improve, and if there was anything specific to make note of for the future. Retrospectives are more about learning either from the mistakes or successes of the project.

These are the rituals that make TribalScale adept at problem solving. Hope these gives you some ideas on how you can help your team do the same!

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About Anne Servidad

After working for a business incubator, she discovered her love for two things-- marketing and tech startups. While on her entrepreneurial journey to learn more about the two, she often gets sidetracked and binge watches shows on Netflix.

» View all posts by Anne Servidad

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