26/4/2020

Start, Stop and Improve

Back when i was running Contactz I was in this weird delimina, there were tons of things to do but very little time and lack of ability to outsource anything. Needless to say I went about searching a way to control this madness, there were the usual suspects and agile seemed to be the answer. There was a lot of pushback from seemingly everyone involved and I ended up trying to implement Agile and failing. We ulitmately decided on a compromise from everyone’s end which was using Asana instead of Jira. Many more conversations and fights later we ultimately decided to use Trello. Things were going fine until they weren’t, so here we were again back to the drawing board.

What’s the Problem?

I wanted a simple, scalable & suitable meta process to keep track of everything that was going on so that we could ultimately control the chaos. A couple of systems were implemented and each came with its own set of pro’s and con’s. Our designer was probably the most irritated with this ordreal & ultimately told me everyone has different priorities and I need to respect their style of getting things done. This forced me to rethink the why of trying to control chaos: I was busy planning features, trying to get partnerships done and convince people to work with us.

This ultimately came with a compromise: I WAS NOT IN SYNC, not the team or anyone else! So a couple of days of conversations with everyone, reading up a few blogposts and talking to random people on the internet: I had a system that felt right.

Framing-the-working

Context switching can be hard which was a problem for me, not for anyone else involved. I had enough of trying & failing to micromanage which also made me hate everything and everyone involved. So ultimately I ended up making a hard fork to a much simpler way of working. I ended up listing all of the things that were going on and assigning velocity for them, but the velocity was in shape of: Yet to start, Need to stop, Need to improve. This was essentially how we ended up segreating our roadmap:

  • Start: Anything that needed to exist but wasn’t out there.
  • Stop: Anything that was not working out and/or did not make sense.
  • Improve: Things that were shaping up but needed effort to increase the impact.

After-math

Once we evolved to this style of roadmapping and delegation, there was some sense of harmony among everyone. For a while I was the most happiest, Throwing Ideas, Killing everything that did not make sense and Scoping Improvements felt natural & intutive to how I went about about building companies. But the biggest gains was by effectively ending my Drive-By Management charades. This also gave the team a better visiblity to plan their own initiatives, I would like to believe (on worse days) that the biggest gain would be the latter not the former.


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