In any development project, the team's success depends not only on the quality of the code but also on the processes. Processes provide structure, help manage expectations, and ensure everyone works towards the same goal. However, implementing processes can often be a daunting task, especially in an environment where creativity and innovation are highly valued.
In this article, I will explore how to identify the right processes that address the team's needs, successfully introduce changes to the teammates, and ensure that what we propose is effective and sustainable. Whether you're a team leader, a project manager, or a developer looking to make your team's work easier, this article will provide valuable insights and practical tips to help you succeed.
Implement change - where to start
Implementing changes requires careful planning, effective communication, and, most of all, a unique approach that supports innovations. Let's check out what this means and what to pay attention to!
Look for an open-minded organizational culture
If you want to start implementing changes and propose new solutions, you need to get support from your company - in other words, you need to work in an organization with an open-minded culture. Are you lucky to be in the right place? Great! If not, read the piece on how to check if you and a company will be a good fit (before joining it).
Put emphasis on visualization
I can’t get over how well visualization works and how simple it is. If you struggle with problems, try to visualize using a tool like Miro. At Tidio, we visualize things like road maps, sprint goals, use cases, and many more.
When you’re a host, I recommend opening an empty google doc and jotting down short notes visible to everyone while running a discussion. That way, your coworkers will observe what you are writing down and have a chance to comment on it, add insights, or ask for clarification.
A discussion suspended in space is incomparably harder to assimilate than one with visualization and simple visualization increases your chances of being understood.
Keep resources accessible
No doubts -
Keeping resources in an easily accessible place saves time, increases efficiency, and allows for quick and convenient retrieval when needed. Without the option to find it easily and effortlessly, almost nobody will use it.
Think where is the best place to store information about the processes, ask your coworkers where they would expect to find them, and make sure everyone has access to it. And of course - don’t forget to inform everyone where they should look for it from now on!
First, measure, then fix!
When you want to improve something, start with the question, “How will I know that the process brings positive or negative results?”.
The answer is metrics!
Metrics provide objective data and insights that you can use to measure performance, track progress, and make informed decisions. If you don’t have them yet, first focus on finding the most proper ones and start measuring them before making any moves in order to have a good reference point. Finding metrics that fit our problem may be complex but are usually workable. For difficult-to-measure issues, you can always use surveys - before and after making changes.
Use a slight edge methodology
The slight edge methodology is a philosophy that focuses on the power of making small, consistent improvements over time to achieve long-term success. And it works here perfectly! An attempt to change many things simultaneously could bring negative results, and at the end of the day, we wouldn’t change anything.
Remember that “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, But They Were Laying Bricks Every Hour”. Just as you won’t make improvements in one week.
Want to learn more on this topic? Reach for the book The Slight Edge, which I highly recommend!
Implement an empirical approach
If you have an idea to improve daily work, prepare and perform experiments! Problems diagnostic and streamlining processes should be inscribed in the organization's DNA. If your organization doesn’t have an empirical approach - take matters into your own hands and encourage a transition to it.
What do I mean by experiment and how to conduct it?
Keep reading to find out!
Implement change - tips & rules
You know what approach can help you with making improvements. Now it’s time for practical tips on how to make it all happen!
First of all, keep in mind that people generally don’t like changes. As someone who wants to change aspects of people's daily work, you may have to put a lot of effort into it.
To help you navigate the process, I created a universal list that you can use as a starting point to introduce ideas to your teammates.
Here it is:
- Express your vision
- Propose to implement the process by experiment (empirical approach)
- Document the process
- Lead by example
- Help your colleagues in process adaptation
- Summarize the process
Let's look at each point in more detail!
#1 Express your vision
You can express your idea in many different forms. One of the most common ways is to present a proposition at a meeting or send a message. Sometimes, especially if the idea is more complex, I prepare a presentation that allows me to go deeper into the topic and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Remember that expression of your vision is only one small piece of the puzzle. Be ready to answer questions and resolve doubts - the better prepared you are, the highest possibility of convincing your teammates to implement your idea!
#2 Propose to implement the process by experiment
What do I mean by an experiment?
You can use, for example, an experiment canvas template to check if the change is worth implementing. The template is a great way to test and validate the process in a controlled environment and adjust it before it is rolled out to the whole team.
Want to see how it works in practice? Check out the case study on how I made my team's work easier by a few process twists, including implementing an experiment canvas template!
#3 Document the process
Process documentation is an essential thing from many perspectives. Firstly, thanks to it, coworkers will know and understand the steps of the process. Furthermore, documentation consolidates the implemented process, and fellow workers can get back and perpetuate it. Of course, sometimes it's not worth creating documentation, but to start, you can do this and verify later whether it is used. In case it is not used, you can just delete it. No hard feelings!
The processes are not carved in stone, so the documentation can always be updated.
#4 Lead by example
There's nothing better than showing a new process in practice! "Lead by example" boosts adoption, so after doing the previous steps, it is the right time to show other coworkers the process in practice.
How to do it?
If you, for example, want to implement the Sprint Sheriff method (learn more on this technique here), be the first person jumping into this role, showing the best practices.
#5 Help your colleagues in process adaptation
Making habits takes time! Sometimes you may have to encourage colleagues or remind them to use the process.
Be patient and open to resolving doubts and discussing potential issues. Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the changes and make adjustments as needed to ensure you are all on the same page and the changes bring satisfactory results.
#6 Summarize the process
Summarize the changes by posting, talking, or presenting implemented ideas. Sometimes it is enough to take a few minutes to do a quick recap. Thanks to that, you ensure everyone understands the changes and prevent confusion or miscommunication.
Moreover, by summarizing the changes, you facilitate ongoing communication - if your team understands the changes, they can ask questions, provide feedback, and suggest further improvements.
If you prepared an experiment (i.e., by using an experiment canvas), summing it up is a must-have! Without it, it's not the experiment but a hypothesis without any evidence support.
I know what you think - it's a lot of work!
But trust me - you won't regret it! The more effort you put into creating better processes, the more comfortable your work becomes.
Well-designed processes increase the team's productivity, reduce errors, and enhance communication. Simply put, they are clear guidelines and expectations for how work should be done and what teammates expect from each other.
Ready to make a positive change?
If you have any questions or want to discuss the topic, contact me via LinkedIn!