How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
Most people would say that getting a group of really smart, motivated, and organized people together to accomplish a goal is virtually foolproof. This is true most of the time, but general competence has an Achilles heel that is seldom considered; here’s how it plays out.
When a talented group of energized people gets together to accomplish a goal, chances are, they are going to just figure out how to get it done, right? Well, yes, but the problems start to creep in when you try to scale that approach with the “just get it done” mentality. But “just get it done” is not an actual process – it’s an attitude. Large teams that try to operate without a real process, inevitably, fall into chaos and frustration. Before long, there are so many ways to “just get it done” that team members on multiple projects struggle to feel oriented, and efficiency and quality begin to suffer. This then ripples out to other areas of an organization such as bookkeeping, sales, and even Human Resources. Ultimately, opportunities, profits, and (worst of all) good people are lost.
When a development shop scales up, it’s time to get serious about creating a solid, repeatable process when executing projects. This is the solution to the scenario described above. It’s important that there’s a solid playbook for their work, they can focus on delivering great work and not on making up another one-off way to get that work done.
At CQL, we’ve developed a clear, repeatable processes for the work we do. This process is comprised of a combination of Project Management Office (PMO) business rules and hard processes built into our main tool for organizing production: JIRA. Here’s a short breakdown:
- The PMO is comprised of a playbook that project managers use to get a project off the ground in a systematic and thorough way.
- Then we use JIRA, a project tracking application, to execute an agile scrum process we’ve developed over many years of trial and error. This sprinted production process focuses on up-front communication, planning, and client involvement, yielding a more efficient and accurate execution of a client’s vision.
- As production is wrapping up with a client-focused QA phase, we shift back into PMO playbook mode to facilitate hand-off. During this phase, we focus on clarity and planning with our clients to make sure their investments are protected for the long term.
- Finally, we look back and collect data we use to improve our process internally and help our clients understand and analyze the actual changes their newly acquired strategy, design, or software has created in their business.
Ultimately, this process enables team members to go from project to project fluidly, recognizing the spaces and tools used as they shift. It also enables us to have a firm working vocabulary as a group that we use to communicate with much less ambiguity. For clients, as they cycle through multiple projects with us and work with different project managers, they see the same tools, reports, and data. This enables our clients to stay focused on what matters and keep a solid understanding of how their project is progressing and how the work we accomplish collaboratively has affected their business goals.
As with anything that matters – excellence comes with repetition. Give a super-smart team the chance to go through a sound development process over and over again, they are going to get really, really, REALLY good at it. As the old saying goes: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
If you’d like to learn more about CQL’s experience with designing, developing, and optimizing websites, ecommerce sites, and custom software applications (coupled with our outstanding project management processes, of course) then contact us today.