The Aeroxis DNA - Agility
The needs of your enterprise change constantly, and teams need to change with them as business trends change. This means having light and agile teams is mandatory for businesses to succeed.
With over a decade of working with various customers, we’ve learned a few things that allows us to be nimble on our feet. Our proprietary management style allows us to dynamically shift resources as needs change for your enterprise. It all begins with the Aeroxis Matrix, which allows our teams to break through typical barriers in enterprises such as red tapes, and promotes transparency inside our teams. The Aeroxis Matrix is further strengthened with our strict following of Agile methodologies like Sby our rich set of open source tools that we use to streamline communication and break through barriers.
The Aeroxis Matrix
The Aeroxis Matrix is a a management style that embraces Agile methodologies, with an organizational style that promotes transparency and communication, and removes red tapes. The Aeroxis Matrix allows for teams to be light, and nimble and promotes more flow of work.
At it’s core, the Aeroxis Matrix is something that doesn’t rely heavily on technology, but rather one that relies on humanity. We focus on motivating our employees. When a new employee comes on board, it is a new environment, and they need to adapt rapidly. The first week is crucial to set the temperament of the employee for the rest of their time at the company. Therefore, the motivation needs to start as soon as they walk into the door on the first day.
When an employee walks in on their first day, we assign them to a tribe that they can fall back on when they need help. The tribe helps the new employee become part of the company by being there for the employee when he/she have questions, doubts or fears. By eliminating these issues, the employee can focus on things quickly on coming onboard. The tribe itself is organized using our proprietary management style that allows us to beat our competition.
We embrace Agile methodologies because it has been proven to work. Software teams have been embracing agile project management methodologies for over a decade, which increases their speed, promotes collaboration and allows teams to adapt to market trends rapidly.
Removes Critical Paths
Traditional software management techniques required teams to focus on one segment of their application at a time, and they’d work for months, if not years, to deliver a final product to the customer. In this process, the customer has absolutely no idea what they’re getting after months of work. Add insult to injury, if the team is blocked by an issue, then the entire project is blocked until the issue is resolved. For example, if the database got corrupt, the entire project is blocked, which can happen easily, your project is blocked until a resolution is found.
Agille methodologies removes critical paths. If the team is following the Scrum framework, the team splits the work into 2-3 week chunks called Sprints where at the end of each Sprint, the customer is shown a demo and management can get rapid feedback on the progress, and can change rapidly. If the team is following the Kanban framework, the team splits the work into individual units of work that is delivered as soon as the unit of work is complete, for an ever faster feedback to the customer. If there is a blockage in the work, the customer is notified quickly, and the entire project is not blocked.
What's the difference between Scrum and Kanban?
With 2-3 week sprints, and daily standups, issues are quickly discovered and resolved. However, another great advantage of following Agile Project Management methodologies is that it promotes collaboration between teams, management, and customers.
Customers can constantly provide feedback to management, which is then prioritized by management and customers and passed down to the teams to implement. Each requirement is documented in a tracking system that is transparent between the customer, management and teams. Teams can work on issues based on a logical grouping called Epics that allow them to deliver on a main feature every few months.
At the end of each sprint, a Retrospective is performed by each team to figure out what worked, what didn’t work, and what they can improve on the following sprint. Also, on the last day of the sprint, the team’s Velocity is calculated to provide accurate measurements on how the team performed, and is used by the team to accurately commit to new work for the following sprint.
Our teams can follow either Scrum or Kanban depending on the needs of your organization. Both are powerful Agile delivery vehicles, and we can adapt as your organization’s needs change.
What is Scrum?
Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together better by learning through experiences, and self-organization while working on a problem, and reflecting on what worked and what didn’t work, so they can constantly improve.
At it’s core, a scrum starts with a Sprint. A sprint is a short, time-boxed period when a scrum team works to complete a pre-determined set of work. A sprint is a series of iterations that break down a complex project into bite-sized workable pieces, which the team can deliver to the customer at the end of each time-boxed period.
Before a sprint begins, the development team holds a sprint planning meeting with the product owner, who is part of management. During the sprint planning meeting, the product owner provides a prioritized backlog of tasks that the team can work on. The product owner and the development team estimate the level of effort that each task in the backlog requires, and the team makes a forecast outlining how much work the team can completely from the product backlog. Whatever they commit on, the team works on for the sprint.
At the end of the sprint, the team provides a demo to the customer of the completed work. Whatever is not completed, the team pushes to the next sprint, and records how many tasks they completed with it’s level of effort. This is known as Velocity and the velocity is used to determine how many stories the team can commit to.
What is Kanban?
Kanban is a framework similar to Scrum, but differs in a few different ways.
Kanban starts with a Kanban board. It is a physical or virtual board that lets teams visualize the work that needs to be done. The board contains various columns, where each column represents a stage where the work is waiting at. Kanban comes from lean manufacturing, which was a system invented by Toyota, to represent and track work that was being performed in the factory.
All columns combine to represent a “workflow”. Each workflow can be as simple as To Do, In Progress, or Complete.
Each column contains a set of cards, where each card represents a unit of work that must be completed. There is a maximum number of cards that can be in a column at a given time, and this is known as Work in Progress (WIP) Limits. Each card contains information that pertain to the task that the team member is working on. As the task is worked on, the card progresses the workflow, until it reaches the final Complete column.
Along with keeping our teams small, we work hard to ensure our teams are communicating properly. Communication is the key for teams to be productive.
We break down communication into 2 types: Short Term Communication and Long Term Communication.We believe in breaking barriers to promote communication, for productive teams.
Short Term Communication
Short Term communication needs to be quick. It is often needed to quickly ping another team member, or a member in another team quickly. These communications don’t require much thought because the employee is focused on an issue that is important at the moment. The following are tools that we use to facilitate quick short-term communications.
Mattermost is an open source self-hosted messaging platform that enables secure team collaboration.We use Mattermost channels to group conversations around teams, issues, and topics of interest. Mattermost also provides a solution for allowing users to catch up on previous conversations by storing all conversations.
We use Gmail and the G Suite of products for collaboration and communication. Gmail is secure and allows us to communicate quickly without dealing with nuances with the application. Gmail is also available on mobile applications, which allow our employees to communicate from anywhere they are.
Long Term Communication
Long term communication needs to be thought out, and be persistent long term. Long term communications include email, documentation, and checklists. Long term communication is crucial because it allows us to go back to decisions made long ago to see the reason behind decisions. Here is how we use each in our day to day work.
Email is used for both short-term and long-term communication.We use Gmail not only for quick emails between team members, and cross-team members, but also external entities and external organizations that we partner with. E-Mail allows us to go back on old conversations and decisions we’ve made at anytime.
For long-term project-level communication, including project rules and conventions that is followed, we use GItlab’s wiki to communicate this. This allows team members to be in the know-how for things that might not be visited frequently. This is especially valuable when a team member leaves the team, and their knowledge isn’t transfered.
We rely on checklists for things that require meticulous attention to detail. An example of this is our on-boarding checklist which we use to make sure that each employee is on-boarded the same way.
Gitlab Issues Tracking
We use Gitlab for it’s issue tracking features. It enables our Scrum and Kanban workflow by having a visible virtual space to track our work and view the state of the project at a high-level view, and allows each team member to drill down into various individual stories to get a more in-depth view.
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