Navigating the Complexity of Scaling Dev Teams | Forte Group

Navigating the Complexity of Scaling Dev Teams: A Deeper Dive into Quality, Strategy, and Culture

Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our recent webinar, “How to Maintain Quality While Scaling Agile Development Teams.” We’re thrilled with the engagement and thought-provoking questions that emerged from the discussion. Let’s dive into some of the insightful comments and queries raised during the session.

 


About the Authors

J.Miniati-Circle-No-BG John Miniati, the Director of Product Management at Forte Group, where he leads a team of over 25 highly-trained Forte Product Owners, Product Managers, and UX/UI Designers. He is a growth product manager with 15+ years of product management experience.  As an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Business, he co-created the popular Kellogg MBA course, “Product Management for Technology Companies”. He refined this material to create Forte’s Product Management and Design Toolkit, which is a set of practical methodologies to execute agile and Lean UX in an outsourced environment. 

 


1. Strategic Scaling and Quality: Beyond Agile Dogmas

Comment: “Too often the answer is ‘build cross-functional teams’ or ‘build good dev pipelines’.”

Response: Absolutely! Scaling is not a one-size-fits-all journey. We echo the sentiment that a clear view of the business’s current state, risks, and objectives is paramount. A strategic approach should align with business strategy, goals, and OKRs, recognizing that Agile and DevOps alone won’t magically fix underlying issues.

2. The Culture of Learning and PDPs

Comment: “PDPs have to become part of the culture that people want to learn and grow as the organization scales.”

Response: Spot on! Professional development plans should be ingrained in the culture, fostering a desire for learning rather than feeling forced. Leadership plays a crucial role in shaping this culture, emphasizing coaching and mentoring as part of the organization’s fabric.

3. Innovations and Experimentations: Business Context Matters

Comment: “Some teams see innovation and experimentation as free form, I think there is a spectrum between ‘no experimentation’ and ‘chaos’.”

Response: Agreed! Giving teams a clear business problem to solve contextualizes experimentation. This not only provides purpose but also alleviates concerns about time being wasted on unfocused tinkering.

4. Balancing Scaling and Quality: Critical Points

Question: “In your experience, what is the critical point where scaling gets hard vs keeping expected quality?”

Response: The critical point where scaling becomes hard while maintaining expected quality arises during periods of rapid growth, changes in architecture, or when addressing technical debt. Striking a balance between scaling efforts and maintaining software quality requires proactive planning, continuous monitoring (including performance testing), and modular/scalable design principles. These 2 areas (scalability and quality) have to be thought of from the outset and kept in the forefront throughout the software lifecycle.

5. Ownership in Cross-Functional Teams

Question: “How do you handle responsibility and ownership without assigning control to specific people?”

Response: Achieving a balance between autonomy and control is delicate. We emphasize the importance of maintaining ownership by emphasizing the self-managed nature of each team, even as new people and teams are added.  This is non-trivial.  To do well, we put mechanisms in place to align on a Shared Vision, while ensuring everyone understands their role in contributing to shared goals. This approach can mitigate the risk of potential chaos while maintaining ownership for each team.  Having clear success metrics and coordinating ‘backlog ownership’ across teams as two elements necessary for success.

6. Continuous Learning for Testers and Overcoming Resistance to Change

Questions: “How can we provide opportunities for continuous learning for testers? How do we overcome resistance to change?”

Response: Continuous learning for testers involves creating a culture that values professional growth. Overcoming resistance requires clear communication of the benefits of change, fostering a culture of experimentation, and showcasing successes.

7. Roles in Cross-Functional Teams: Clarity and Efficiency Metrics

Question: “How do you ensure clarity of roles in a cross-functional team, and what metrics indicate their efficiency?”

Response: Role clarity is crucial, and establishing metrics involves assessing team collaboration, delivery speed, and customer satisfaction. Regular retrospectives and feedback loops help fine-tune roles and processes for optimal efficiency.

In closing

We appreciate the engaging discussions during the webinar and look forward to continuing the dialogue. Stay tuned for more insights and discussions on scaling, quality, and the dynamic world of software consultancy.

Cheers to a future filled with innovation and collaboration!


Got questions left?

Let’s connect you with our Director of Product Management, to help you navigate through the complexity of delivering your next great product.

 

 

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