I’m a firm believer in functionally aligned organizations to support professional and technical growth. For example, it is essential that our quality assurance analysts report to a manager who can support their career path. But I’m also an advocate of having QA resources matrixed into the development teams they support.
Studies have shown that if there are persistent teams, which consist of development and quality assurance, aligned with products, then predictability, quality, and time to market improve. This is contrary to past situations where the functional managers spend valuable time identifying resources to comprise the project teams. Having persistent teams removes the need to continually find resources for each project by creating a team of development and quality assurance resources who always work together to support a product. These teams also minimize variables that may disrupt consistent delivery of value to customers.
The Go Daddy Hosting development department has been exercising persistent teams over the past year with huge success! But, where did this leave the functional manager?
I was recently sent an article that talks about the evolution of the middle manager in an Agile environment. It focused on three common areas that aligned with what our QA functional managers are doing in our Hosting department:
- Task Assignment – Agile teams do not need managers directing their work. Rather, the functional manager acts as a sponsor, outside the team’s boundaries, who can champion and cheer them through their challenges.
- Reporting – Project driven status reports are no longer needed. Rather, the functional manager focuses on metrics that pertain to the function. For example, test coverage or efficiency gains found when using automation.
- Roles and Responsibilities – Managers are not doling out tasks or generating status reports. Rather, they are providing professional and technical mentoring and being the support that individuals need as they adapt to being on an Agile team.
I have actually watched firsthand the evolution of our QA Managers into functional mangers, architecting and driving frameworks and automation. It’s been amazing to witness.
Our Hosting functional managers also help us drive organizational change. We look to them to empower and enable their team to solve their own problems. Skills such as assessing team health, removing organizational impediments, making room for failure, and having the ability to coach are essential.
As Go Daddy strives for continuous improvement in our software development life cycle, we are cognizant of how the resources are changing and the roles they play towards enabling Agile principles are evolving.