Agile

Tech Culture: Teams, Tribes and Pirates

March 8, 2019

March 8, 2019 by Juan Manuel Pérez

Tech Culture: Teams, Tribes and Pirates

Welcome to this biology post, because in a high-level, I’m going to share part of our Agile DNA. We will cover 3 ways we interact with other Tech colleagues:

  • Teams
  • Tribes
  • Pirates

Teams

Our Scrum Master are going to explain this information in other post but Teams at Ebury are responsible of few microservices (API, Faster Payment, SEPA, Website …) or a larger application (Back Office System, Salesforce, Ebury Online…). These cross-functional groups from 4 to 8 people are aligned with the business roadmap and goals for the next few months.

Every week, Teams celebrate the Scrum of Scrums meeting, to discuss in 10 or 15 minutes what is happening in their current projects in order to identify possible frictions between teams (if any detected, it should be discussed later, with the affected teams). Of course, there are other activities and procedures, but they will be covered in other posts.

Tribes

Given their technical attitudes, Tech members can belong to the following tribes:

  • Quality
  • Security
  • DevOps
  • Front-End
  • Back-End
  • Scrum Master
  • User Experience

In most cases a tribe member belongs to a team, in fact, 90% of their daily work will be related to the Team, but being involved in a Tribe has the purpose of maximizing their contribution and also brings many personal benefits:

  • Meetings Flexibility: the Tribe has the autonomy to decide how to deal with a specific problem or how to build their own methodologies. For example, QA & DevOps Tribes schedule a 1h meeting, weekly to discuss main quality problems,  highlight specific topics, or discuss specific problems.
  • Learning: tribe members schedule knowledge sharing workshops or training sessions on demand. For example, our DevOps prepared a session to explain how to deal with Docker Containers locally, or UX Tribe hosted a “Show & Tell” session about Marketing & Design Workflows, also our QA Tribe explained how to verify if a new quality gate is working as expected.
  • Mentoring for new members: This task is normally managed by the Tribe Lead, an includes an introduction to the company, main concepts and of course, how to do  our daily tasks.
  • Preparing meetups for sharing knowledge with all the community and sponsoring conference attendance, including Call For Papers, to help with personal development. The HR Department and the Tribe we will help to any trip logistics, slide preparation and a chance to practice delivering the talk internally or at an Ebury meetup.

Example of Meetup in Ebury Malaga Office

 

  • Tribe Roadmap tasks are sorted by impact and effort. They could be included in a Team backlog, developed by the Tribe Lead or treated as a punctual task for a tribe member (sometimes used for releasing tensions too). It is a mix of:
  1. A wish list from tribe members
  2. A list of high impact needs coming from stakeholders

Example of a Roadmap definition:

Tribes doing the whole hog

Aimed at improving communications between different Tribes and probably having in mind the benefits of a Scrum of Scrum session, we have created a meeting one time per month called Cross Tribe Meeting. We normally discuss about friction topics and mainly we discuss about Roadmap tasks, sharing the status of them and requesting help to other Tribes if it is necessary

Example of the summary of a Cross Tribe Meeting:

Pirates

Marvelous and wandering folks that they normally work alone, dealing with horizontal tasks but having a huge impact in teams, tribes and in all the company. Few examples: 1 engineer dealing with Continuous Integration workflows, other one developing crazy solutions for painful developments like flaky tests, another one developing security improvements…

Summary

This philosophy has the following benefits:

  • Sharing and receiving business and technical knowledge
  • Avoiding working as a factory
  • Improving visibility of what is happening in Ebury
  • Improving the cross-functional pov
  • Improving Tech members implication because they can contribute !!

 

Share on Share on FacebookGoogle+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *