Organizational Cartography: what kind of development shop are you?

Image courtesy Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL

If you’ve ever worked on a significant software development project you’ve probably looked at some part of your process and said ‘we have to change this!’ More often than not the topic is the software production process: that problematic build-test-release cycle. We can all identify places where our process is slow or broken; so why do some initiatives succeed while others fail miserably? If you’re going to make a change which affects six people: stop reading – just go do it! Sixty? You’ll have to get buy-in from colleagues. Six hundred? You’re going to have to talk to your Director of Engineering. Navigating those waters benefits from drawing a map: you should know who your change will impact, how it will benefit them, and where the low-hanging fruit are. Over my four years with Electric Cloud I’ve successfully (and sometimes not so successfully!) sailed the process-improvement trade route; in this article I’m going to give you a heuristic in order to profile your own team and develop a navigation map. Read the rest of this entry »