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More impact with flexible teams

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How to create more business impact with flexible teams - Jan Hegewald, Zalando & Rebekka Beels, Zalando

Usually, Software Engineering teams are organized around a fixed set of components which they develop further and maintain. Such component teams gain a high level of expert knowledge about their services. However, with agile product development, it often is difficult to implement the most important initiatives with such teams. This leads to a situation where the teams do not work on the most relevant business topics but on those for the respective team. At Zalando, we introduced a new model where we shape teams flexibly around business goals to create the highest impact. How we organize these teams and which challenges especially for the software quality need to be addressed, will be explored in this talk.

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More impact with flexible teams

  1. 1. how to create more business impact with flexible teams zalando
  2. 2. Young. Founded in 2008. Techie. 2,000 colleagues working in 200 tech delivery teams across Germany, Dublin, Helsinki. Successful. 2019 Revenue: >6.5Bn € revenue. Growing steadily. Q2 2020:+ 33% GMV. Popular. More than 34 Mn active customers. Convenient. Operating in 17 countries. Conscious. Dedicated to sustainability. Already carbon neutral. zalando is
  3. 3. stable teams? Why do we want
  4. 4. in that setup We worked
  6. 6. that comes with downsides But
  7. 7. TEAM 1 TEAM 2 TEAM 3 TeamBacklogs There is lots of work in parallel
  8. 8. Cost of Delay can be high TEAM 1 TEAM 2 TEAM 3 TeamBacklogs
  9. 9. Teams are utilised very differently TEAM 1 TEAM 2 TEAM 3 TeamBacklogs
  10. 10. Flexible mission teams We started
  11. 11. a mission is
  12. 12. a mission is
  13. 13. a mission is
  14. 14. Missions need to be prepared PRODUCT MANAGEMENTTEAM
  15. 15. the mission model work How does
  16. 16. Explaining and advertising the mission to the department the mission pitch 1.
  17. 17. Colleagues express their preferences for what they would like to work on signing up 2.
  18. 18. Engineering managers take decisions on the final assignments of colleagues to missions assignment to missions 3.
  19. 19. Colleagues form the mission team and work until the goal is achieved mission starts 4.
  20. 20. Colleagues can join ongoing missions or newly starting ones mission team dissolves 5.
  21. 21. The process is a continuous cycle Pitch Sign-up Assignment Start Dissolving
  22. 22. This is our recent mission history
  23. 23. there are challenges However
  24. 24. No longer being specialised requires much broader knowledge Knowledge transfer
  25. 25. Lacking ownership can be a problem Software quality
  26. 26. Unfortunately, there is more than just plain mission work Disruptions
  27. 27. TYPES OF WORK Maintenance Mainly technical tasks with varying urgency and impact. Post-Mission Integration/Change Mission-related work that comes up after the mission finished and dissolved. Design + Deliver for Business Goal Mission to accomplish a business goal. Operational Tasks Unplanned work on short notice, mainly based on stakeholder requests. Delivery Mission Innersourced Delivery Mission Mixed Delivery Mission Maintainer Group Bob DELIVERYMODEL Exploratory Mission Incident Handling Work to resolve incidents, but also to mitigate impact and prevent further occurrences. Everyone with highest priority Small Work Package Tasks that seem too big for maintenance, but too small for a Delivery Mission. Solution Design Work to define the technical solution design for a major change. TYPEOFWORK Solution Design Mission TYPEOFWORK (Discover &) Define for Business Goal Work to identify and understand a customer problem. Additional Responsibility Full Time
  28. 28. the biggest effect? What is
  29. 29. Purpose, Autonomy, Mastery Ownership & engagement
  30. 30. How to create more business impact with flexible teams Stable teams ⊕ Output ⊕ Knowledge ⊖ No focus on biggest impact ⊖ A lot of WIP ⊖ Uneven load on teams ● Quality ● Knowledge ● Leadership ● Culture jan.hegewald@zalando.de www.agil-gefuehrt.de rebekka.beels@zalando.de ● Defined goal & clear impact ● End-2-end responsibility for goal and affected components (in given context) ● Duration: 2 weeks - 4 months ● Freedom of choice Flexible mission teams Process Effects @janhegewald Watch out Mindset ⊕ Responsibility ⊕ Purpose, Mastery, Autonomy Results ⊕ Output → Outcome ⊕ Standardisation & Quality Flexibility ⊕ Agile Prioritisation & Delivery 1. Discover & Define 2. Prioritisation 3. Pitching 4. Signing up 5. Assignment 6. Start 7. Clean-up 8. Switch to next mission
  31. 31. Thank you! Questions?
  32. 32. Image sources ● https://unsplash.com/photos/1k3vsv7iIIc ● https://unsplash.com/photos/Ptd-iTdrCJM ● https://unsplash.com/photos/R6xx6fnvPT8 ● https://unsplash.com/photos/PXB7yEM5LVs ● https://www.pexels.com/photo/aerospace-engineering-exploration-launch-34521/ ● https://unsplash.com/photos/-fGqsewtsJY ● https://unsplash.com/photos/Q1RjF4PKq5g ● https://unsplash.com/photos/tEVGmMaPFXk ● https://unsplash.com/photos/O_CLjxjzN3M ● https://unsplash.com/photos/bJhT_8nbUA0 ● https://unsplash.com/photos/fCmBU052M1I ● https://unsplash.com/photos/6vtmH3Ts8iQ ● Hand drawings by Jan Hegewald ● All other images are © Zalando SE
  33. 33. Disclaimer The information in this presentation has not been independently verified. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the presentation and the information contained herein and no reliance should be placed on such information. No responsibility is accepted for any liability for any loss howsoever arising, directly or indirectly, from this presentation or its contents.