Cases - - Forming squads

== - From mayhem to squads ==

When I assumed as IT manager, the scenario was a management nightmare. Over 30 people, mildly productive, despite they were putting lots and lots of hours and effort. The internal clients were no less than desperate to get one or two things done within the next couple of months.

I kept the operation as it was for one month or so, while I was understanding the business, the relations and the issues around. I figured out quickly that just one department was demanding the entire IT department, and regurlarly demanding changes that used to break others departments rules. As bonus, we had native mobile apps under development, white label integrations on going and a desired metasearch integration.

The biggest mistake of my predecessors was trying to coordinate and prioritize everything by themselves. That's too much for anyone to manage. As soon as I realized that, I decided to break the team into smaller teams (this was before I heard about the spotify model), so each team would attend one and just one specific department. They would become jargon and rules specialists. I also promoted one senior on each team to tech leader. Thus, they would talk to each department's leader and ensure the communication alignment.

I also had to train and support the other managers along with this, because everybody was excited about the idea of having some exclusive workforce, but none was willing to manage more people. I helped them to get right the prioritization, frequency of communication and delivery rate between the squad and department.

This took a couple of months to get running, but everybody got the results quickly. Managers stopped asking me when things are getting to be done, once they were responsible for prioritization and the squad was responsible for keeping them aligned on the progress, as well as the team got a way better forecast on their workload. Everybody started working more efficiently. From this point onwards, the next steps were to make the IT delivery process more robust, with pull requests and some static code analysis services, as well as automated test and CI/CD pipeline.

My routine 6 months later became much more focused on metrics and meetings with team leaders. And even after a few years I left I heard that the IT process were basically still the same I left there, which is something that makes me proud of.