Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Where is your SWAT Team?

2001-02 While working with the organization I was working then, We faced a very critical issue. We wanted to work on a stronger road map for the product then and were always back pulled by issues around the smooth execution of the production systems, customer issues and rants etc etc. Every time we started working on the development windows we were pulled back either by down times or customer requirements , issues.

This hurts the road maps always and badly. A new feature would be compromised to an issue that the customer wants urgently. We killed almost a few important months of your roadmap that ways. The moment it was decided to have a dedicated Team to handle such issues... We formed a first unit of 2 Development engineers, dedicatedly working on critical day to day issues. Issues that were raised by customers and were urgent. Issues that needed quick response. Effect was, in 3 months time we were able to add up things that we were not able to get in 1.5 yrs.

The output was clear.. A dedicated Team working on second line issues and customer client issues is always a gem. Very Very High ROI.. because the Team actually sets to become the domain experts due to the variant area exposures.

We did the same thing in the organization we worked, in times of high delivery pressures and low Team sizes.. The SWAT Team we named it after (Special Weapons And Tactics). All through the last few years it has helped us balance our Teams and resources and Knowledge about the product. To that matter even the Trainees got to become the member of SWAT and got control on the product. we made our mistakes by pulling people from main stream development

Now this was us. How about you?

Do you shuffle your resources from your main stream Teams just to get some immediate issues resolved?

Do you focus on customer immediate issues than product future?

Do you compromise critical features for urgent customer issues?

Do you believe that your development Team produces much slower than it should?

Do you believe that your velocity is bad?

Well if any of the above questions go in a YES, Boy think over and find where your SWAT Team is.

Such a dedicated team to support urgent issues helps the product move forward. It is always in my experience that when development teams are shuffled in tasks it kills creativity , performance and of course above all the frustration that the teams face juggling tasks and work every other day.

If you dont have one .. Go find your SWAT Team

if you got one and abuse it ... Reform