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Managing Growing Pains: Thinking Big While Being Small

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thank you and the and the and the shall wave is John Arnold so my team's writing in late it's very but I think you furry come into and the hear me talk today I would think rails Goff 1st of all for the opportunity here that is my for Israel's comes in Austin and it's great to be lacking in the city of the G born and raised here materials go royals cerebellum stuff I I'm from kids Americans were tested I'm from Kansas City Oliva natural as critical Mumford with answer my mom is your mother's days this week so it's important go moms and this is a good definition of
how my uh 0 my week is bed and thus far and I consummate so it's in the barbecue and but will really is about today is a growing pains and a small company so my talk
is called or thinking big when you smile then
has grandparents right things that you know there are in fact that is thinking big fine but in a small company a small team we organize our thoughts are work in a team to be effective today as starter cultures but a really bad habit into a lot of us especially those of us who are technical and was a frame of this idea of what a great trajectory of a estoppel will be but we want hire some code
ninjas some jet ice and rock stars to come in really just some nerds within a day to
help us slam out in BPD what
this slab will business on it and before you
know be in the Unicorn club sitting outside
cars and planning a 2nd Mars base does it have to highlight the on must just look a supervillain area as a newcomer to Mars kids right and so in reality the the
teams that we build don't look like that and people talk higher narrative and how silly it is about the call people that and this great articles out there about how we're really looking the higher actually scientists and
librarians ghostbusters no nobody seen ghostbusters in this graph again myositis in library the faith our
we don't really have this rock like trajectory of the start up curves around for a while and you know companies like ours were small were like 15 people were somewhere in this trough of sorrow and we have some false hope wiggles that like give us excitement we hire people then we get big we do all the crazy stuff and and there's these crashes always things start to happen but you Jeremy uh mention this in the keynote yesterday but the law actually building is not actually start ups and they were building small businesses were building companies and and the latter half of this curve is not to get sold by a halo wrote that as a buyer for me it's not really sold it's a build something to be a sustainable team and sustainable company I that
does not mean that we hustle no hustle no side hassles no weekend crushing bubble bobble but no and I know what you hero of Mike city of no more curative no overnights nothing like that I want should be a cultivator what garden I want to lay out standards and defend them and be boring with the standards lay them out and stick to them and the so you about our company will
that where multi-sentence assess can be built on rails that we sell our products to global insurance companies so big gigantic multinational companies that are implement all over the world have terrible infrastructures terrible technology everything else and a it's great over clients that have uh so we have a behavioral economics model that we use to incentivize an insurance policy holders to change their life and slack variables I and we've we've done some things differently and the biggest of which being what it said were about 15 people but were implemented with these massive massive companies all around the world the and at our dev team is not that 15 by way or adapting is like 5 people yet so we're really small team pushing out work that touches hundreds of thousands of people even larger is a continuing to scale and and we've learned that the product that we build is really just an at the software part is really is a portion of the overall product at the team and the promises that we make both to each other into our clients is actually what matters I with limited resources and constraints companies just like cars with the balloon were replated and seek opportunities they come out in order to maximize ones we can just go out and try to find something close it we to make it work and so we've we've been around for 4 years and have come from a very small at too low the bigger at will bigger team a lots of things happening summer talk a little bit about the tactics and the philosophies that we've used to get us those 4 years at the 1st and most
important tactic is to steal and I am a certified stealing shit that works practitioner that that badge indicates that and that is a real thing you can get that on the internet search and so we use frameworks that help us and still clearly vision focused value these are all things that German image in the keynote history and we stole a ton of frameworks to throw a bunch up so these are just some that work well for us today the but jobs to be done with this from but an an intercom like this week released a book on the system but basically the the question is what job is the user hiring the product to do what we replacing in their life or making better by using software technology and so something like paper that and what what motivation is happening for the USA today to really simple question asked and we write about 4 5 of these for users and at 2 3 4 points when they hear for what are they she what they're very simple words a very simple sentences they're not these huge on stories of press releases or whatever just what they here for the the the and we also
use this great of framework of 6 6 6 cycle the devil's framework Maryland and but
will there was a Delaware to the utility
of it's a really what this means this is a road map process and this means 6 weeks 6 months and 6 years as sales hates this 6 years no choir level by 6 years ago by tomorrow what together be tomorrow we can do 6 years what is mean um so 6 years that
is really of 6 years is really this and 6 weeks what our current team actions were things we're doing today 6 months what are the priorities that we have that a direction rising as and 6 years what is the worldview like what is what is it that we believe unwaveringly that isn't that that is really define the product so when you have when you mix this framework with user interviews feedback team workshops other people thought about that earlier this week and but it defines the opinions and sharpens the world you know school is when you mix that with that jobs framework the the you don't want you something like this and 6 weeks we change the user's ability then we start to change their behavior and then 6 years is really a question of how we change the user's life as a result of using our products and then vaterite there especially those latter 2 things are what we can actually sell to because they get excited about this highway actually fit into this picture and what is this look like had we come along for the ride and and the other was all this to is every feature that we build has a road map like this and every big piece we know it's going exists in the platform for a reason but it has something that is not an opinionated worldview at the end of the day that we have to define and defend so as we will build we don't we don't have time to build the and right so another thing we stone and is accountable funded think this was a really count flesh here and basically it's maintaining a list of nice-to-have items technical that you know it's not always a lot of fun and things that we know we need to do but maybe don't have time to do right now but what happens a lot in our team is will start unendurable stop planning some requirements will start building out something and with a block of were small we have the pause with to get design which is contract right now we're full-time design and to come in and help us with these things and so while those pieces are being built those blocks are being cleared are team dips back into these items and for data does something that they've enjoy that they want you back into and and that bounces new feature development that bounces Clyde deliverables with technical that the the the and everything we've talked about
right now is important because of fundamentally I believe that every company need a secret at its centre as you can see here in this diagram but we were in air and the air BB a canonical examples of this that they have taken a secret then they found the world that individuals have unused assets cars and houses in the rooms and found they can make money on they built upon that secret and actually build software that sat upon that and made something great and we have a secret don't tell you the secret I think everybody needs a secret like that and fact that informs and defines the world view and all of that fits
into a list of priorities that we keep the at so when it comes actually choosing what to build what the market what to deliver that we talk about these 5 things what we believe in unwaveringly that we will never back down from and water improvements I can talk about 10 x alikis where some small improvements big improvements we can make on things you just put out I'm prioritized user research and feedback find things that are on vision from that feedback to put into this cycle and then scaling growth quality and stability the that those 5 things are how we prioritize a roadmap that things we believe in sometimes involves things our clients believe and if they're paying us to do that but it depends but and the things that we have we really believe in really really ultimately got our priorities so that a small company like
ours we also have to sell a lot and for
us when we're talking about selling the clients it's
really more like consulting someone who wants to buy your
product and interesting Howard said it's
hardly a lot passing Congress than the
sign a big suffer client I think that's
absolutely true yeah of corpora layers of
approvals and legal
technology and infrastructure
procurement of all these people that you need to get
on board give to pass the bars you have to go through all the different pieces to
actually build something and for them but is
that it's really a day-to-day more about consulting it's
what are your objectives but let's define
those together we do client-facing workshops were
me with prospects and she planned out what the
objectives offer using suffer like ours
and then after we know those objectives
we've come a coax them out of them all of them they don't know
and we coaxes out of them and then show how we can
use our software to help them and we
use frameworks like strategic alignment
and design thinking all sorts of things to really
understand what the problem is and then show them
how they they fit into a plot to
our our solution for the future back to the whole like
6 week month year thing and we show
them from that how they fit into the 6 month and
the 6 year vision and how they can have their own
version of that too for moving forward
of that we also the cell to retain
I we need a cell that vision and remind them that what they're working on fits and into the products it's you know if it's a part of the marketing that the overall experience the engagement and the vision that we we want to talk about uh that we we keep communicating get disappointed being annoying to our team and we we talk about it so much that I know and understand I know that we have to do that because and it's very easy to focus on 1 thing get a different vision of it and start to veer off course so reminding of how that 1 little feature that 1 enhancement at 1 fixed and is going to have put another break into the road for the future and that's always how we have to to solve new work started another thing we don't time is we do is we're wrong I'm wrong all time I thought these guys that sort sorts of people and say my opinions say my research findings they were maybe and be wrong so in terms of being wrong that it is incredibly important to choose your losses and is a very simple framework for this the follow and it's it's easy to choose losses with the client when they're gonna pay you for the for the change was something you disagree with and that's very easy to change your mind and sound it's harder when it's when it's dealing with things the teams recommending uh when it's talking about and yeah directions we should take with partners integrations and all also things like that so how do you know what to be OK with losing and the way I think about is in terms of micro and macro but a total of about vision of a lot of vision so far and the the grand story arc of your products this kind of macro arc and that's secure arc where we get be this things all said and done and that is a place that you have and you don't wanna lose that but in the micro and the day-to-day transactions in the smaller pieces and there's things in there that can be undefined this things in there that can change and that you can you can lose that and in the micro those of places that you can experiment and fail on it's actually really great to make lots of mistakes here but you can fix those mistakes quickly you learn from the quickly and they don't actually impact much and even though might feel huge in that moment and however when it comes that larger those unwavering things you believe in but those are things that you have to be resolute at and then you have to be right that those so that comes from again user research quite research all those learning pieces but your own unwavering belief in what you're doing and where the vision is going to be and you have to be right on that even if you give up on a small things and and nothing thing we do let us say no and we say or sales seem a lot we Senator executives to clients to users to the team that you have to say no more than you say yes and Jim images the history you need to build a mobile app we have that same thing investors possible the mobile app and and our clients are paying for it and uses that would be nice but they're probably not gonna need it for a little while and we have to say no to that even though it's probably more investment money it's gonna diverse so many resources from us and take us off our focus that short-term money is not worth that divergence and other reasons to say that we have so many good ideas from every start does zillion get ideas there's things to put into the product and the teams really smart good ideas come out all the time we see competitors doing things clients are asking for things and but you have to pick and choose and way pick and choose at this size is was being paid for what he being asked to do that actually I keep the lights on and this 2 kinds of payment that I'm talking about here yes clients and users were paying us to use the software that's part of it but we also have to go where the user's timers and that is a form of painting time attention so what's preventing the user from on what's printed preventing them from coming back with preventing them from loving the product those are the things that you should think of as being paid for because it's the user spending time with you and those are things you should be focused on again what supports a vision you have to prioritize ideas and work only on those that fit those grand future vision you have them and think in terms of systems so in order to get to this big feature these other pieces have to sit and the 1st is to put these next bricks in place 1st and each of those steps you know is too wide to see and needs to fit into that macro story and he's a have a place in your out that story the but we
say no we also see as we see as a little less frequently than we say no and but there are many things inside of those that we can enthusiastically say yes to what is the same as we just looked at is looking at it from a different perspective of 1st there's so many good ideas our team is so smart and the right all the time and the really thoughtful and considering the come with really great things to do and that will help us achieve the goal yes yes yes to that again what's being paid for it even if the and if it's something that we've disagreed with the client willing to pay for it as something we would add on later new functionality that we have to change it to something else as they said and if we said no to it a bunch of times and they still want make them pay for it then do it and say yes it's easy and again what supports that the vision and thinking about systems and is incredibly important for the for the progression of features in a system is incredibly important for which in the building and and sometimes especially tilt to leadership people who aren't in the team day in and day out those little steps seem like detours they seem like forks in the road that we we shouldn't be going that way we should clearly be going this way and but every 1 of those features gets that gets to be expressed as because we have this now we can go build that and that's kind of the the pathway of the it was the
the but another thing we do a lot as we change after the change processes all the time there's a couple of framework so you here after this a couple of Montrose I have that we really hold on to here and the 1st of which is happily
dissatisfied and this is something to keep in hand we think about the work that was I happy with our last release there has to be happy with that would pretty well I was I satisfied with it now you know it was satisfied that was I status was a happy with the last Klein interaction yet there were pretty well was i satisfied now and that is a great place to keep yourself to go yeah we did well but we can always do better arm and better is really the mocha word underneath everything there's always something we can improve there's always a system or process that we can we can use to make things better and and what I have pick and choose those have that those in with them everything will elsewhere going on a couple of of easy process things style guides to me are actually the product that were building of our team needs to focus on repeatable styles that's you on the real side the front and the design the contents style guards at these minimize team frustration kind of guess work and you know we learned that the hard way were still learning in and the nice thing those you can pull out of sample style guides and the on the content side slack has a style guide for how they talk to the users in the and take that use it a tweak it to fit your own voice but you can start that it's a complete thoughts done and other other stuff like that exists all over the place you can you can and taken and modified purposes and so the Soga the said those really are the products and the software that we build the users and clients interact with is really just the expression of that product and so focus on style guides they're gonna be way more repeatable way more and extensible then just 1 requests were ways you can make things repeatable and and find ways to build features and build functionality insiders stallions for the future and Rebecca talked about this before she did a great job at this defining processes when you fail but when you're small this is the main opportunity you have to build a process and you know where where small team said we don't do in terms of our like product development process we story points we do estimates with new structured sprints we tried to the Caymans like those that was the all the stuff and put on the time make it all fancy and it wasn't needed and it took so much time from Artstein there was less focus on the actual work as we call the work of the work I as opposed to the actual work so working on the work and doing the work at 2 different things and at this stage with a focus as much on the actual work as we possibly can so putting in place only the processes that you need to prevent failure I'm and extending on dried or repeat your mistakes when you have a mistake stop and talk about and hence to process there's a zillion processes out there for those things but you have to step in the trap before you and you the process otherwise you just waste time and so that out of this but I what I wrote this to postmortems and it's a it's a great thing that I but it's a it's a great place see you and to talk with you team when things go wrong or when they go well and this is probably most structured thing that we do it is a retrospective with postmortems and writing a poet postmortem takes 2 things and the objective facts sir beggars said some great stuff about this want to mention that but and basically objective facts about the failure or the successes and statements that explain the story it should be really boring story listed out as a series of sensors on the client ask us to do X uh we responded with this document then this happened then this happened it shouldn't be the should be adjectives there should be a lot of names should this be these facts and events have and and then the team the people who were involved with the failure of the learning but do what's called a plus delta exercise and all this really says is for each of those objective statements plus what went well about this when we get do again about this and delta what is the change for the future how she we build something differently for this and this right here is where our processes come to life we find those things that we need to add so that the mistakes that happen again this process takes maybe half an hour and we make few of big mistakes that we can handle on these are a few weeks it's no big deal and but it sets in motion a lot of good processes and best practices things to add or style guide to our implementation process to our deployment process that we make sure that it have for the future is tired so again I get I have other things that we grow slowly slowly grow slowly it's very easy to get money and go we need a higher bunch of people we're gonna be awesome we have this great will make a Mars based here we go the semimajor Mars there's no you have to grow slowly and you you might be able to extend and or and or add to augment your team and the work that you did done but you shouldn't think now we can turn this turn this thing on and start training as I'm saying this myself a lot because I want to grow fast and we have to be a writer to grow slowly seriously more slowly than you want to and there's been some great talks about hiring and Eric InJo I think gives some great talks about this this week and but and a couple things that we've come stumbled into a found worked really well and hiring generalists and or people who switched careers and is great as you start to grow people you can do multiple things in the organization of people history in other areas that are applicable to your team we developer here who was a an editor that's really helpful for accountants and things developers who was in and the health care world we have the health slides are up to get people who can help out when there's other things need to happen because our team smaller have people who focus on those things some making you nervous and I mentioned the fact so this is another thought about
thing uh so but uh T-shaped people and T-shaped people are people with and a high level of of specialty or experience in several areas that would be applicable to the work they were doing and 1 deep specialty and obsession have passion fascination curiosity the goes deep in 1 area I want to come in and I'm I'm really interested in wearable devices I really wanna focus in on that but I was but I did some project management and its and its and its in this in my past that is a person that you will look for who's gonna take the team further and as you continue to grow the but more about growth and
I always say it's better done OK and always this and it's before his printed out OK but been done great by somebody you have to lay off later grows slowly don't over higher and focus on the roles that your team names not people people are expensive and you hurt them and they stay with you until they run out of things to do the roles can be played by by multiple people you have multiple hats today OK but and yes they might be a little bumpy but using the failures and shortcomings of those roles that will define the job description for the person that you need for the future directions so fail to build the thing for the future I the last big thing this is a great concept was a company called infusion Sotheby's of Phoenix but I think these PHP which our and they are awesome there a small business yeah and they have a gazillion clients and and they started in couple dudes garage like classic start up story and and they have this great wall that she some doors but
in the office and they call this the Everest emission I basically what this this the doors were ITC is it went on mission vision the core values and what their purposes as a company and then there were there were some it's each year that showed where they want to be as a company the size the number of clients the things they wanted to do and that the differ milestones that they 1 had along the way 1st off at Austin and that's that visible this is the main doors to the conference room like the big all hands conferences that everybody sees this least once a week everybody's reminded this is physically printed in the in the room so that people can see it but 2nd on either side of this thing there are huge boring spreadsheets they printed off that have a list of key objectives here results people's names and timelines for every single thing that was on that on the bottom part to the door n at what's amazing they printed this like 4 years ago and they get those numbers like that on every single year but I can't say on the finance side of business I about all those things but I'm in terms of achieving the growth Goals in the team goals they wanted to make mean of the use OK are
process and Intel I think started this but Google made this really famous and objectives a company provided goal so the six-month the future views the months like what our current priorities and then key results and the way we implement this is what we assemble teams with our company or small teams there's not that many to begin with but a few groups of people and to focus on 1 of those objectives and that group rights the key results we don't force it down their throats and so this is the stuff you gotta do your fired they come up with how to achieve the goal and all we do is check and and make sure that that's working and make sure there were hidden of so what that does is it gives the team ownership and it gives them those clear objectives shows how they fit into the bigger picture it lets them find their place and blossom inside of where were blossoming and any gives freedom to fail to i these are not like performance review real look at these once a quarter annually or whatever these are things that weakly we're checking in on and measuring against and making sure they're moving us in the direction that we want to be so remember pursue vision relentlessly be annoying in talking about your vision your client should know it your team should know it your pets should know everyone should know it and everything you do should be of part of your talking points be systematic in completing it what are the pieces that lead to the next step now that we've done that we can do this once that's done will be here and you rattle out the vision again always there and choose your battles don't be afraid to lose you can lose now losing is a learning opportunity to growth opportunities losing in the short term might mean that the client easier is flexible and willing to work well with them and wants to continue the partnership that's work unless we to concede a lot to grow a lot of speaking of growth change often but grows slowly what your team to find its own path and based upon those key visions and hopefully all place but
the the questions here where I have not so from so had
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Metadaten

Formale Metadaten

Titel Managing Growing Pains: Thinking Big While Being Small
Serientitel RailsConf 2016
Teil 72
Anzahl der Teile 89
Autor Arnold, Jon
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Unported:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen und nicht-kommerziellen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen und das Werk bzw. diesen Inhalt auch in veränderter Form nur unter den Bedingungen dieser Lizenz weitergeben.
DOI 10.5446/31535
Herausgeber Confreaks, LLC
Erscheinungsjahr 2016
Sprache Englisch

Inhaltliche Metadaten

Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract This talk is for anyone who's had to promise new features to a client when they weren't actually sure how they'd deliver on the promise. We all have big visions and big ideas, but our teams and abilities are finite resources. We'll talk about how to manage expectations, growth, technical debt and delivery (and still be able to sleep at night despite that last wonky commit). We'll talk about the never-ending product roadmap, product reality and how what we create falls somewhere in between.

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