UX Research meets Scrum

lean-ux-and-scrum

Photo Credits: Barbarian Meets Coding

I am a UX Researcher. While I’m pretty new to the scene, I’ve heard of Scrum and have friends who work in companies that employ the methodology. Prior to the sharing by the Scrum Masters, my understanding of Scrum teams have been through stories shared by my friends or through observing the engineers work in my previous place of employment. Much like how “UX” is a hot term these days, “Agile” and “Scrum” have also joined in the crowd and their influence over companies’ operations cannot be ignored.

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The Titansoft Mentorship Program

We have embarked on a new journey with a lofty dream to have all (yes, all) of our staff to be able to have a mentor to guide them through the ups and downs of work life in Titansoft. The mentor would act as a consultant, advisor, mirror and friend to his/her mentee, providing additional perspective and help bring out ideas to form resolutions to problems faced at work. To be able to do so, we have rolled out a mentorship program.

We call this program “Pathfinder“. You’ll see why.

fork

When both paths look the same… (Image credit: thecoinfront.com)

The Discovery of Pathfinder

Pathfinder came about upon identifying certain trends in our Titaners through our T.Exchange program. We have come to realize that some of our Titaners are feeling a loss of direction with their role in the organization back in the second-half of 2016.

Realizing the potential magnitude of this issue, a task force was formed to work on it. Interestingly, while this could be easily passed on as a HR project to work on, we had a senior Product Developer on board with clear intentions to help his colleagues to grow.

The task force began by identifying the objective and milestones of the program over a 2 year time period. The overall goal was to instill a sense of direction in 70% of our staff within 2 years (Yes, it does seem hard to measure, but I will get to it later). And from here, Pathfinder has begun…

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Pair Programming in Recruitment – The Titansoft Way

 

pair programming

As James Shore says of pair programming in his eponymous blog, “It’s more fun than it sounds: two programmers at one computer. One drives; the other navigates. Switching roles fluidly, they constantly communicate. Together, they accomplish better work more quickly than either could alone.” Teamwork never sounded so poetic.

Titansoft is an Agile organisation and we have been practicing pair programming since 2014. And having experienced the benefits of this practice, we are extending it to out Recruitment process. Having a programming session with a potential candidate is only one part of the hiring puzzle, but it’s often the most important one. Rather than looking at the CV and asking a long list of questions, which may not be as effective, we get around recruitment for our Senior Software Developers by holding a pair programming session. We believe that the pair programming process creates a better opportunity to showcase a coder’s skill.

“Through pair programming, our developer can know more about how the candidate behaves during real work such as his working style, coding preference, discussion etc. In addition, we are also able to show the candidate the way our company people code.”

Ji Zhoubo – Senior Software Developer in Titansoft

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Myth of Scrum Master & Project Manager Role

PM vs SM

Transitioning from Waterfall to Agile can be a long and challenging process. The responsibilities are split amongst team members for different roles, with some being new roles – The Project Manager (PM) handles the management of the project while the focus on the process will now be the role of a Scrum Master (SM) and prioritizing of features will be the role of a Product Owner (PO).

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Look! We built a usability lab!

We had an empty room. We wanted a usability lab. So here’s what we did.

Requirements:

  • It needed to be mobile. (The room wasn’t mine to commandeer)
  • The set up needed to be fuss free. (I don’t want to trip on a labyrinth of wires)
  • It has to work seamlessly with Android, Windows and Apple devices. (Duh!)
  • Cost effective. (Can’t break the bank)
  • Observers can watch the test live. (Nothing beats instant feedback)

First, RESEARCH!

Reinventing the wheel is just not the best way to get things done so I went googling articles and blog posts to find out how other companies have built their usability lab.

There was this really helpful article I found which shared the following set up:

ux1

It was an awesome starting point. I also found the chance to pick the brains of other practitioners in the field and learnt that Lookback (https://lookback.io/), while a hot favourite, has started charging for their software.

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Titansoft Alumni Club

Graduation is the term used when we receive our academic qualifications, usually for tertiary education such as attaining a Diploma or Degree. Here at Titansoft, we too use the term ‘graduate’ when referring to our staff who leaves our organization for any reason.

Titansoft Graduate

A Titansoft Graduate (image credit to Dinosoft)

But hey, the relationship between an organization and an individual shouldn’t end at graduation should it?

Therefore… *drum rolls*

Introducing Titansoft Alumni Club!

What is it?

The Titansoft Alumni Club is a newly established club exclusively for selected past Titansoft employees. Members of this club are entitled to some of the benefits that our current Titaners enjoy, including (but not limited to) referral incentives and conference group discounts!

There will also be various Alumni Club activities where both past and current Titaners get to mingle and learn from one another!

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