Looking back at 2016

Dec 23, 2016

This year, TrikeApps continued to grow in size and diversity. We added another three full-time local developers and one remote friend in India. We tested and interviewed close to 150 candidates before settling on these latest Trikelings. We’re delighted to have them on the team. Our team members were born in eight different countries and speak nine different languages. Our gender ratio still needs work. We’d love to talk to more women in tech, and we’re hiring!

We focused on providing learning pathways for Trikelings by introducing the University of Trike. In the first half of the year, our team built and completed courses with enthusiasm. In the second half of the year, the enthusiasm somewhat waned. We tried incentivising our staff by grouping courses into achievement levels. As the course content has grown, so have the prerequisites for each achievement level. The achievement levels have grown too large to achieve in a short amount of time. This is demotivating, and we have scheduled a project for early 2017 to address it.

Our development process has undergone significant change since the start of the year. We were conflating a sprint review with a retrospective in one long meeting on the last day of the sprint. This was an exhausting exercise involving the whole team. With too many people present, it gave the less confident the opportunity to stay quiet. With too much subject matter to cover, it became difficult to generate and act on insights. Our brains were not at their best by Friday afternoon at the end of a busy week.

Towards the end of the year, we switched to a team-based retrospective early each sprint. We encouraged Trikelings to take note of good and bad events when they occurred and bring them along. Rather than attempting a review of every story delivered, we focused on the extremes. Each team generates and executes three actions to magnify the good and address the bad. We introduced a demo at the end of each sprint and invited everyone along.

To encourage better communication with clients, we built monitoring and Slack bots. These tools let our developers know how they’re tracking against their estimates. We’ve made it easy for developers to provide updates to the client at fixed milestones. These updates are visible to the team so leads can jump in and help out when things aren’t going so well.

The quality and vision of our work improved a lot this year. Our quality-checking tools continued to incentivise incremental improvements. We utilised our UX consultant much earlier in design and built better experiences as a result. We built more features that put power in the hands of our clients. In doing so, we freed ourselves up to focus on big-picture works and architectural goals. We stumbled a few times trying to solve new problems. We learned a hell of a lot about data warehousing (among many other things).

2016 was a challenging year, and 2017 is shaping up to be more of the same. We love a challenge. My New Year’s resolution is to spend more time celebrating the wins. Bring it on.

A safe and prosperous 2017 to you all.

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