Transitioning to a Marathon of Change

In the United States we are a month into the quarantine, give or take a little depending on your geographic location. Dr. Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, informs us that the infection rates will not truly curb until a vaccine is created. While J&J and other companies are working to deliver a vaccine, we know this is not a quick fix. Regardless of how many safety protocols they are ignoring to speed delivery. 

This is not to be scary, simply realistic. We are no longer in sprint and recover mode. We must gear up for a marathon.

Mindshifts for this Marathon

In this sprint we have had to think differently about how we communicate and prioritize. In the marathon we will have to rethink about those for the long term. We are focused on the technical development arm of any organization, so through that lens, there is a mindset shift to adopt for both communication and strategy at the team level.

Mindshift #1: Code + Commit Communication Channel

Developers best communicate organically. Last week we discussed how certain small problems in the workplace are hard to solve in remote working environments. That article discusses solutions for those specific problems, however, let’s step back to the bigger picture and consider ways to simply communicate better … through the code.

Commits (see Design Syncing section) and Names (see how-to blog series) are the lifeblood of tacit communication if we use them with intention. Names convey what developers think the code does or should do. Commits convey developers’ intention in changing the code. Together these provide a powerful communications channel for detailed, relevant, asynchronous communications about the product.

Mindshift #2: Increasing Loyalty through Zero Bugs

As we discussed a couple weeks ago, the customer base is no longer interested in snazzy new features. In fact, they are looking to see what subscriptions they can no longer afford. As a result, you need to shift your energy from customer acquisition to customer retention. Customers buy because of new features; they leave because of frustrations. This causes a 180 degree prioritization flip from features before bugs to bugs before features.

In addition to the clean-up of old bugs we recommended in the section One Plastic Bag at a Time, new bug creations need to stop. Bug cleanup can be done for a sprint, but a marathon requires bug prevention habits. 

Training for the Marathon

The challenge for any organization is making techniques for improving communication and preventing bugs systemic and sticky. Actually, the real first challenge is identifying what those techniques even are. THEN they have to scale it sustainably. 

The good news is that Deep Roots not only knows the techniques, such as our structured commit tags, naming process, and spooky action disentanglement process, we also know how to scale those habits to stick over time and across multiple teams quickly.

As a final note, not only does this prepare for the emergency marathon, but it also builds systems that improve efficiency and customer loyalty in any economic situation. This provides the organization with a huge corporate asset that creates competitive advantage for the long term.