The liberating Agile framework for mature software teams
Agile Squads is an open-source Agile framework for small to medium teams building software.
Target audience are companies walking the Agile path on top of well-established and proven frameworks, curious to explore more liberating and lightweight structures, in order to build a working enviroment were people are challenged more and measure customer outcome, over processes, team velocity and feature quantity.
The framework consists of a lightweight core, which can be extended through framework add-ons.
Doing plannings, daily standups and retrospective ceremonies does not make a company Agile. Agile is a mindshift and it's hard... many companies try to become Agile only to fail in the process and get no results.
Studying modern movements, such as Heart of Agile and Modern Agile, are cornerstones to getting the gist of what the Agile mindset represents.More about Heart of Agile More about Modern Agile
Product Managers/Owners are united together as a core team, versus being distributed on various teams (e.g. Scrum teams). Working closely together, they can focus on product strategy, company goals and outcomes, versus distributing work in fixed teams with limitations in engineering and people skills.
#strategy #direction #priorityMore about Outcome vs Output
Instead of using people resources to form specific fixed teams (e.g. Scrum teams), engineers are united under a common pool of engineering talent, cultivating equal opportunities, knowledge sharing and guest leadership.
#opportunity #learningMore about Guest Leadership
Product is working together as a coherent team and define a set of Missions that are aligned with company goals, focusing on desired scope and expected outcome.
They answer questions such as "what do we want to achieve as a company in the next couple of months", "what are the battles we should pick".
#value #customer #importanceWhat is a Mission?
Once Missions have been defined, they are pitched to the Engineering talent pool and ad-hoc teams are formed, the Hero Squads, with one sole purpose: fulfill the Missions by maintaining focus on work to be done. A Hero Squad is dismissed when the desired outcome has been achieved.
#focus #deliveryMore about Hero Squads
In the real world, engineering teams are fighting between delivery of new features, management of bugs, technical debt and customer support. The Guardian Squad is a rotating team formed by the Engineering talent pool with one holy duty: protect the Hero Squads from losing focus. They act as the shield against context switching, they are the protectors of the Missions.
#maintenance #supportMore about Guardian Squad
Agile Squads work in 1-6 week cycles. Each cycle starts with a Mission briefing event and ends with a Mission debriefing event.
At the end of every cycle, the Product Squad evaluates the progress and makes decisions on whether a Mission should continue to the next cycle, should be aborted or new Missions should be pitched to the Engineering talent pool.More about Mission Cycles
Converting a Mission to a successful outcome, versus a meaningless output, requires effort from other company departments as well, such as People Operations, Customer Success, Demand Generation and Sales.
The Product Squad is the beating heart coordinating these efforts gathering required input during the definition phase and triggering proper company-wide actions during Mission development to reach the expected outcome, serving customer needs.
Allocating and securing the required space to perform the above actions is one of the benefits offered by the Agile Squads framework.
People become united when they are fighting for a common goal. A sense of purpose is the driving factor for building awesome teams.
Working in a challenging environment keeps people motivated to grow and improve their skills. The sense of accomplishment and achievement is one of the key factors for mainting top talent.
Maintaining focus can make wonders when time is a risk factor. The goals of a company can move faster by concentrating forces on less things at a time than fighting on too many open fronts.
Phychological safety is key for building self-organizing and self-motivated teams. Mistakes will happen, bad decisions will be taken, projects might fail but this is part of the game and we are all in this together.
Good collaboration eliminates hats and roles from people working together on a common goal. What matters, is a good combination of skillset, a purpose and the will to make it happen.
Teams are thriving in learning organizations. Spreading the knowledge all around and giving equal opportunities to everyone, can establish a long running company.
Living in a world where popular Agile frameworks, such as Scrum, are becoming a commodity, how can we do better? Agile Squads is the outcome of a journey to break the well-known boundaries, find the essence of agility and distill the core values it represents. Hopefully it will act as an inspirational axis for other great ideas to emerge.