Theory of Nimble Development Management

Theory of Nimble Development Management (working theory)

This is a working theory of some of the development and management challenges I come across when managing a team of developers, project managers, account managers, clients, designers, freelancers, and everyone else in our network.

The Situation

Imagine you make a list of everything you need to do today. You write that list down. You take a phone call, e-mail, or hear one of your developers is blocked on a project. You drop what you're doing, assist them, come back, and find an e-mail needs a response.

At the end of the day, you've solved one item on your list.

Instead of promising yourself tomorrow will be better - you'll be better disciplined - or staying late to finish that list and never coming home, what if you managed the problem.

Your job is not what you think it is.

Nimble Development is Agile Development for Team Leaders. It helps you manage your tasks and moving the team forward with their tasks.

  1. Nimble is Open
  2. Nimble is Listening
  3. Nimble is Moving

Nimble is based on the core principle "Your problems are everyone else's problems".

  1. Review Tasks, Blocks, Key Players - make a list of every task that needs to be completed *today* for that project, including your own tasks, and the key players involved
  2. "Walk The Line" - go through each task with each player, and see if there's a block on it, if there is, timebox your time to assist solving it, listen to the goal, review the prep work, and test theories
  3. Open to New Tasks / Blocks - be open to asynchronous requests within the timebox'd block. Is it completable within the timebox? Can it wait until you re-position?
  4. Reposition - take on a new blocked task by priority, accomplish an item on your list, respond to an "open" item

At the end of your day, you should find the team as a whole move incrementally closer to their goal. Your task items may have moved forward, because instead of treating other problems as "distractions", you plan for them, attack them, and resolve them before they come to you. As long as the entire team is moving forward in their goals, progress is made.

Agile Development is for specialists who are able to work independently. Nimble Development is for utility players in charge of managing individual, agile developers.

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