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Dev Team Operations: UpTeam.run()

The UpTeam Accelerator delivers software development momentum by eliminating barriers to sustainable, reliable, scalable team operations. Team formation (see UpTeam.init()) prepares the foundation. Development Team Operations transforms that initial preparation into continuously optimized software product development. Unlike recruiting agencies, we never stop at hiring. 

The UpTeam accelerator gets its power through the combination of technical expertise, tooling, quality, learning agility, and motivated team members. Technical details matter. Our job is to stay on top of the details. Architecture and tooling together need to create value, velocity, and improvement. This is where our management spends the majority of our time and effort. It’s how we deliver great results. 

You can expect us to communicate proactively to stay well-synched. Both our CTO office and our tech leads use agile/scrum ceremonies and artifacts to get you the visibility you need into progress of technical and non-technical problem solving. The goal: keep every minute of remote work focused on project goals and make transparency more useful. 

Our agile/scrum process works great for early-stage start-ups that frequently pivot, and enterprises with strict security and compliance requirements. Learning is part of the process with every successful team and project. We want our teams to feel challenged professionally and personally. We get rid of any less useful work that’s dragging on productivity and causing team fatigue.

We can readily customize these process functions to fit your current product development and engineering operations. And if you want to step back and focus exclusively on requirements prioritization and acceptance testing of sprint deliveries? We’ve got that too. 

Successful dev team operations run with the following functions:

CTO Office Advisory

Our CTO office plays an active role with every single project that runs the UpTeam accelerator. It doesn’t end with hiring or stop at project inception. You get the benefits of decades of collective hands-on experience across hundreds of projects. CTO leadership never ends at the beginning of the project. Our technical execs stay engaged throughout. Their oversight extends to inspection, review, discussion, and guidance, and more. The UpTeam accelerator provides leverage to all aspects of the technology strategy and direction of your team: 

  • Provides ongoing guide rails for development team members as they break problems into digestible components. 
  • Leveraging team and stakeholder feedback to improve the application and process, with continuing learning and development opportunities at all skill levels 
  • Ensuring effective alignment of technical decision-making and risk management with business goals and deadlines 
  • Surfacing and prioritizing issue management and resolution in the appropriate communications vehicles and ceremonies 
  • Designing for zero-trust security, audit-ready compliance, compliance, and secure data multi-tenancy

The bottom line with continuous advisory is our technical executives can consistently be available to you. In short, our job is to keep on top of the full context of the development of your solution at both strategic and tactical levels. We deliver the flexibility and adaptability your business demands from its engineering investment.

Project charter

This single reference document creates a single source of truth. Everyone the project everyone can orient on it. It’s a clear anchor point. All Participants and stakeholders, especially managers distributed across time zones. The charter includes a collection of written assumptions defining “who, what, why, when, how” driving the project. It records documents and communications where everyone who needs to can read them. The same goes for the roles and responsibilities of each team member. It shows the checklists that gauge critical readiness milestones. The charter also includes links to online interactive resources like JIRA and slack. 

Communications

It’s no exaggeration to say that communication serves as the oxygen supply of any ambitious project. We rely substantially on the principles outlined by GitLab. Both scheduled and spontaneous interactions drive the pulse of the project. Distributed work demands a deliberate balance between formal and informal communications. Bonus: it helps avoid useless meetings.

  • Unscheduled offline: Conversations and whiteboarding can create a good feeling of flow. It’s the discipline of writing things down that forces us to clearly articulate proposals, designs, and ideas.
    Less variance in interpretations saves time. It also exposes questions faster, in chat/Slack or later in meetings. Transparency is a truly valuable side effect, whether small scale comments in code or Jira issues, or in large-scale documents.
  • Scheduled offline: Timeboxing with Agile/Scrum flows scheduled communications at different levels. Agile artifacts create a clear picture for leadership and team members alike. These include meeting summaries, release notes, monthly reports, and more.
    The monthly reports we give you? They give your exec leadership a concise description of who’s doing what, what’s working or not, and what happens next.
  • Scheduled online: Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and video-conferencing with chat are essential. We use them across defined schedule windows, with different team members to streamline dialog, handoffs, and problem-solving. They apply as much to daily standups as they do to coordinated 1-1 and small groups in a distributed work world.
  • Unscheduled online: Defined escalation paths elevate problem-solving to the right level. Problems framed and fixed sooner save time and toil later (see: issue resolution, below). 

Scrum

Distinguished from other processes by specific concepts and practices. Scrum helps manage complex software and product development using iterative and incremental practices. Its processes operate across three functions: Roles, Artifacts, and Time Boxes. Taken together, they enable organizations to adjust smoothly to rapidly-changing requirements. It’s the best way to produce a product that meets evolving business goals. An agile Scrum process benefits the organization by helping it to: 

  • Increase the quality of the deliverables 
  • Cope better with change (and expect the changes) 
  • Provide better estimates while spending less time creating them 
  • Be more in control of the project schedule and state

Scrum supplies stability and productivity because it ensures the simple set of roles, responsibilities, and meetings that never change. It removes unnecessary unpredictability. It lets your team take on the necessary unpredictability of continuous discovery and learning.

CI/CD

Faster development depends on consistent and reliable processes – backed by proven tooling. DevOps at the UpTeam accelerator puts QA and coders on the same page. End to means we start from pull requests through builds to QA and the deployment pipeline up to the point of deployment. Every team pays careful attention to ongoing automation. They prioritize automating error-prone and manual tasks to achieve a code base that can always be ready for release to production. It’s just as important to avoid automating the wrong things. That results from careful attention to the person-to-person dialog and collaboration required.

However, real acceleration and scalability cannot rely on automation alone. It starts with rationalizing architecture and building in standards that apply across the team and the codebase. The real test is whether your team can quickly onboard new or replacement talent as the business grows. A stable and complete set of CI/CD tooling, collaboration methods, and release processes make up the secret sauce. That makes it easier for you to spin up new teams, to shift more work to remote, leverage new geographies, and more. 

Centralized QA and Compliance

With UpTeam, product QA never risks becoming an afterthought; we consider QA a core competence. It’s why we invest aggressively in QA processes, QA automation infrastructure, and ISTQB-certified personnel. It’s how we build quality into your products and your development team deliverables. We offer various QA packages and service levels to guarantee the quality of your products on every stage.

  • StartUp: Our QA professionals work closely with the product team. They shadow development efforts closely. They understand ever-changing product requirements. They update QA matrixes and reports. , continuously update all quality reports. You have the information you need to approve new releases.
  • Growth: Clients who already have paying customers expect and need to give more serious attention to product and service quality. We offer QA Automation, including business processes with test/tooling integration into CI/CD pipelines. We also provide your managers with dynamic hourly updated quality charts.
  • Enterprise: For mission-critical production systems, we extend QA automation run 24/7. That includes production monitoring, performance, integration, security, and scalability testing. Our compliance office prepares audit artifacts for infrastructure and development processes. We also support documentation and review for PCI, FedRamp, HIPAA, and HITRUST, and more.

Read more about how to use QA to drive growth.

Continuous Talent Development

Our talent development program focuses on keeping every member of our team sharp and challenged. It’s a major attraction to candidates who want to join projects like yours at the UpTeam accelerator. They want to prove their skills in the practical context of solving real problems.  

Each employee has his or her own formal Personal Development Plan (PDP). Each works on the PDP 1-1 with his or her manager(s). They evaluate their success in meeting individual project commitments and skill development at least quarterly. Expect to hear from us regularly to elicit your input for their development opportunities. 

Our full-time UpTeam Learning and Development staff works jointly with the CTO office. Together, they develop and maintain training courses and certifications for in-demand technologies. Courses in cloud-native and distributed platforms, data engineering, web, and mobile languages are much sought after.  Employees look for technical cross-pollination opportunities with their peers across the accelerator. We help them prepare for certifications, and schedule hackathons and help set up peer programming experiences.

We also invest in non-technical curriculum opportunities.  Coaching for written, presentation and conversational language skills makes communications work better for everyone. 

Issue Resolution

The natural outcome of change and discovery in any project is problems that need solving:

  • Product owners rarely want to give up the ability to improve on their vision as they talk to more users and see how the product actually performs for them.
  • Development teams can hope they get it all right the first time. In reality, they know they can’t know for sure until (a) the entire stack gets integrated, (b) functionality gets demonstrated, and (c) changes in requirements are rationalized.
  • It’s certainly the case that problem-solving processes have problems of their own.

The UpTeam Accelerator does more than build a higher level of expertise inside your dedicated team. Our extended team of technical experts and the CTO office means you (and your project leads) can draw on broader experience. We can lend expertise to boost problem-solving at just about any level. That includes training, consulting, changes to work structures, and more. Finally, we build clear escalation paths into all agreements. That way, problem-solving gets framed appropriately and channeled down the right path quickly.

Achievement celebrations

Celebrations are important to show everybody who put their head and shoulders into reaching big milestones a way to mark the accomplishment. It’s important wherever they live and work. Creating a shared sense of achievement and success needs to be a well-planned part of the process. Your remote team will be faraway from all your HQ festivities and travel is not always an option. That’s why we encourage our teams and our clients to celebrate quarterly milestones together and get creative. Virtual events can be split across time zones. A real-life example: toast with coffee in morning time zones simultaneously with beer and wine where it’s evening. And of course, it’s rarely a bad idea to mark a big accomplishment with great old-school parties. Celebrate with your team in our offices, or even outdoors so you can get out of the office.

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