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Managing agile teams in chaotic environments

abstract acrylic painting

One of the biggest challenges we have as a software services company, is how to manage teams and priorities in a constantly shifting environment.

The balance between being customer responsive, and sticking to a quality centric workflow is a tough one to crack and a problem that we hit nearly every day.

Our solution has been a mix of cloud based tools, along with implementing some constraints in our workflow to try and tame the suck.

We funnel all support, maintenance and improvement requests through Zendesk where our project managers triage everything.

From within the Zendesk interface we then create Jira tickets that are escalated to our development teams but can be watched from within Zendesk.

We use the priority flag to indicate what needs to be worked on first, but you can probably guess what happens there on a fairly regular basis.

And that's where our asynchronous standup using Slack helps out. Each team member responds to the Slack-bot each morning detailing yesterday's wins/losses, what's up for the day, and if they have any obstacles in the way. PMs can then jump in if they need to adjust priorities for the day.

We also use Float to book resource out one to two weeks to give us a longer term view on our resourcing plan, but only to a maximum of 60% capacity which leaves room for unscheduled work as it comes through.

And if none of that works, we flog the development team to work at 150% capacity to keep up :)

How about you, how does your team handle the chaos?

By Rowan Schaaf
Rowan Schaaf

About the author

Rowan Schaaf

Rowan is the co-founder and CEO of Pattern. He has been involved in a number of technology start-ups, and has also held senior executive roles in both the technology, and technology marketing sectors.