Frameworks Are an Agile Leader's Best Friend
Bringing order to chaos is in the job description for a software professional. Engineers connect thousands of logical statements together to solve complex business problems. That's a huge task, and because order brings simplicity, many teams rely on frameworks to help achieve that goal.
With a framework in place, engineers can stop worrying about everything that framework does for them. Your team can focus on solving your business problems instead of building yet another solution to an old problem that's been solved before.
Look around and identify the mistakes your team is making over and over. Do a little research, and you'll see that someone probably has published a framework to solve those same problems. It's your responsibility to experiment with these frameworks and find the right ones for your team.
Here are a couple of my favorite problems my team solved with frameworks.
A definition for "team": I’ve lost days off my life clarifying what someone meant when they said "my team." When one person is on a Scrum team, the database team, and the software engineering team, the waste of clarifying which team we were talking about drove me crazy!
We decided to use Spotify’s model to develop a logical, scalable nomenclature for everyone to use.
The standard for a great team: Asking a team to get better without providing a definition of what "better" means is a common problem. That's no different from a sports coach telling a player to "do better next time" without providing guidance on what they are doing wrong.
I ask all my new teams to read two books to form a common understanding of what a great team is and how they can reach that goal. We start with Debugging Teams: Better Productivity through Collaboration to agree on what greatness looks like. Once we are all on the same page with the destination, we start mapping out a plan of how we get there. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High arms the team with a framework for how they can help each other achieve greatness. Teammates become more receptive to coaching and feedback when everyone has a common set of tools to create safe, effective conversations.
Architectural ivory towers: Someone who doesn't do the actual job every day can’t know what is best for a group of practitioners. We implemented a version of chapters from Spotify, or teams of specialists. These loosely coupled groups of engineers partnered with our architect to continuously refine our products and its underlying infrastructure.
Was it easy for our architect? No way. It flipped his world upside down. But this model enabled our team to scale without him becoming overburdened. He was able to support our growing team without needing to have all the answers all the time.
There are no silver-bullet frameworks: Every company, team, and product are unique, so how can there be one solution to rule them all? But if you seem to be spending time and energy solving the same problems again and again, explore your framework options instead.