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Improving Product Delivery

Team processes
Building a Team
Cross-functional collaboration
Reorganization

16 January, 2020

Lubo Drobny, head of engineering at Slido, discusses how he was able to decrease production cycle time by 39% in just under a year’s time.

Problem

I was working with a team where an organizational structure was based on function (backend, frontend, testers, infrastructure, customer-facing roles). The problem with this came in the form of excessive amounts of waiting and delays in value delivery. We decided that this wasn’t the best structure for the delivery of our product and went about making the necessary changes. 

Actions taken

Instead of having teams be organized by module or function, we decided to switch into cross-functional and cross-module teams with a clear purpose from a product point of view. 

  • For each team, we dedicated a product manager and two or three developers. We had those developers focus on more than just one module, but rather all the code they would need to develop. This meant that some backend developers started to also code frontend and vice versa in order to remain flexible and avoid waiting. 
  • We then realized that it was necessary to hire more testers in order to have one dedicated to each product team. 
  • Quickly following that, we also hired more designers for the same reason. 
  • Later on, we added a user researcher to each team in order to better communicate with the customers. 

Lessons learned

  • In the beginning, we were unsure if we were taking the right course of action. Not all developers agree with this change and many companies collide in the functional model. It is therefore very important to have a buy-in from everyone at the beginning of the decision-making process to understand the pros and cons. 
  • It took a few months or more to really get the team functioning. However, by eliminating outside distractions, the team was able to become more focused on the value and its delivery.

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