Across the board, we’ve seen a huge shift over the last few years that has brought about major changes in how all of us are working. Moving away from the idea of static, rigid and fixed projects, agile working is being adopted by a number of forward thinking businesses and individuals to help us all work more flexibly, collaboratively and efficiently.
People are the heart of any business, and it's in every business’ interest to give their people the tools to thrive. So last year, we decided to move towards an Agile working environment, encouraging our team to collaborate and improve throughout the development cycle.
With an already established team of hardworking developers, our technology and capability caught the attention of investors in the marketplace leading to an exclusive partnership with PayPal, the world’s leading online payment service. This new opportunity presented a chance for Cloud IQ to grow as a company, and in doing so grow both our developers and the services we offer.
We began by refocusing our approach to development and how we would deliver on a new set of business goals. Taking inspiration from the Spotify model of Squads, Guilds and Chapters, we decided to adopt a new Agile way of working. Its proven success in the development industry was evident and we wanted to model ourselves on some of the best development teams out there, so we could emulate that success.
Agile is all about getting work done with maximum flexibility and minimum constraints. It empowers individuals within a team to get the job done and builds in an understanding that things will change as projects evolve. Teams are organised into smaller squads, and each squad drives forward a project. Squadstackle small, manageable projects, so should their focus change, this can be quickly implemented.
Our teams work on short ‘sprints’ focused on a specific set of features for two weeks. We will then come together to review, reflect, and re-plan for the next sprint. This means our agile teams can quickly and easily respond to changes, while also pushing ahead with the long-term objective. The agile method accepts that all those within the team collectively know the best way to solve the problems they face and reach the best solution, rather than being a top-down approach.
At Cloud IQ, Agile was first adopted in the New Product Development team, known as the Rook Squad, and has since grown into multiple squads as the company has expanded. Over time, Agile methodologies were introduced and adopted throughout the company with the help of Scrum Masters. Towards the end of last year, we formed additional squads that would each focus on different deliverables for the business.
All of our squads are named after birds. Aside from the important fact that our CTO a keen birdwatcher(!), we thought it encapsulated the squad’s ability to glide through projects, flocking together towards a common goal. Each squad has a different area of focus:
Crow - User Interface
Raven - DevOps and Cloud Architecture
Rook - Microservices
Bluejay - Architecture
Treepie - Machine Learning and AI
Nutcracker - Onboarding
Jackdaw - Support Automation
Magpie - UX / UI design and testing
Standard scrum ceremonies have been adopted such as daily standups, Sprint planning meetings, retrospectives and demonstrations, which have opened up to wider ‘show and tell’ events, presented to the business so anyone can pop along and find out what each squad has been working on. We try not to be too prescriptive with a specific type of agile methodology, but we inspect and adapt to see what's required when necessary.
At Cloud IQ we are fueled by our amazing team, and we use agile working to allow our people to lead the way. We have a fantastic bunch of talented experts working together to deliver best-in-class technology. This means our products continue to offer an exceptional experience to our clients, as well as allowing us to nurture and develop strong and creative teams. It’s even led to innovation breakouts across squads; for example, one team incorporated a ‘Power Hour’ into their week where developers are inspired to work on their own projects and present them. Ideas are born through agile and have the scope to be developed into more fleshed out products and offerings.
We’re looking forward to enabling our developers to grow and seeing what else they can achieve working in this Agile Environment!