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Onwards to Programmer Anarchy

Published about 1 month ago • 1 min read

After reading my last post, you might have thought “I’m working on a team of A-players that are free to do their best work, what do I pick instead of Scrum?”.

My first answer would be - do Scrum anyway. That seems contradictory, but I’m a big believer in “slow is fast” (“If you need to go fast, go slow. Because slow is smooth and smooth is fast”). It’s very easy to trip and fall on your face when you start running out of a sudden, while it’s much safer to pick up the speed gradually. So, if you don’t have any workflow system now and you feel like you should - start with the de facto standard. If indeed you’re a brilliant team of A-players, you’ll get a hang of it quickly and start nailing every sprint, meetings will become obvious and planning a breeze. Those would be signs to start slowly dismantling the training wheels that you don’t need.

Once you’ve picked up speed and are ready to go “beyond Scrum” you have plenty of options to try, here’s a few examples I like to get you started:

  • You can try what Fred George calls post-agile (and earlier called Programmer Anarchy, but I guess that name wasn’t enterprise-compatible). He’s cuts off the enterprise bloat surrounding agile practises and focuses on building pods of cross-function teams focused on building (planning and delivering) solutions iteratively. There’s quite a few of his conference talks on YT if you’re interested.
  • Shape Up from 37 Signals is a process where you define six-week cycles where a cross-functional (see the pattern?) team sits down to solve a problem and implements a bet (the best solution they can do on that timeline). Rinse and repeat.
  • No system. Nothing says you need a process, there are teams that just wing it - take a problem, solve it, take another one. If in the meantime something urgent comes up - solve that instead. Run a retrospective once in a while.

Why this recommendation to start with Scrum? I believe being on the common page how you’re working within the team is important and Scrum comes with clear workflow. You can easily adopt it as a starting point and then “make it yours”. Such an iterative process is often much easier than starting with a blank slate and trying to design the perfect workflow out of thin air.

Have a good one,

Wojciech

PS. I have lovingly crafted this email using only the best artisanal keystrokes. If you find come across any typos, feel free to fix them yourself and enjoy this new, unique, kintsugi version.

Hello, I'm Wojciech 👋

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