== Rentcars.com - From mayhem to squads ==
When I assumed rentcars.com 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
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 Rentcars.com I heard
that the IT process were basically still the same I left there, which is
something that makes me proud of.