We know successful projects involve a multitude of factors coming together to deliver amazing outcomes and taking a cookie cutter approach just doesn’t work.
Our projects are built on great communication, strong relationships, expertise in every area, a shared understanding of what’s happening and ensuring the final product is the best quality and exceeds expectations.
Whilst we don’t always follow the same script, there is an ethos to everything we do at Symbiote.
Here’s our fundamentals.
Ensuring the methodology best suits the project is a key success factor.
There are a couple of fundamental decision points here: Scope/Time/Budget fit and organisational agile experience.
For a project with an outcome-focussed goal but flexibility on the specifics of scope and in an organisation familiar with running agile projects, - Scrum is a perfect fit. If there’s the needs for a knowledge uplift that can easily be addressed - sharing on Scrum projects is all part of the fun.
But if the scope and requirements are set in stone, in an organisation not already using agile - Scrum can be an overhead that will not pay off.
It’s totally focussed on getting shit done. As a framework it encourages great communication, self organisation, learning from experience together and continuous improvement.
Agree on how things are going to work right up front, with everyone involved understanding why we’re here, how we’ll communicate, make decisions, know when work is ready and what the release process looks like.
Really test this understanding by asking tricky questions or putting up possible scenarios so that good conversations are happening early, a shared understanding is achieved and we can get on with the work.
The goal here is a true understanding of how this project is going to work by everyone on the project, so there’s no surprises later.
We work hard to build rapport between the whole team as fast as possible. The mix of roles on a given project will be across multiple organisations and teams - so it's crucial we put in the time early to get everyone working together.
To get to “we’re all in this together” as fast as possible, you need to build real trust and from project kick off have loads of transparency. Working out what everyone needs to do their best work and support each other is a vital first step too.
Throughout the life of the project, making sure ceremonies are useful and truly communicative is a key factor - sprint planning that sets us up for success from the sprint start, stand ups that are concise, showcases that celebrate progress and share that progress with stakeholders and retros that are thorough and outcomes focussed.
The product roadmap shows progression over time at a higher level, and how sprints will deliver on business priorities long term.
That roadmap will and should change. Part of the power of agile is that you aren’t stuck to a set of deliverables that were articulated months, or even years ago - but are instead evolving to changes in the environment, customer insights and learnings from previous releases.
You learn, the environment changes, and the product evolves - for the better - to suit.
From the initial deep understanding of customer needs informing product design, to regular usability testing, to “the user research says” in every ceremony - UX is embedded in the team at every step.
This takes us from being a feature farm, to building solutions that make human lives better.
Delivering a quality product through reliable, high-quality testing reduces risks around releases - reducing negative impacts to end users and increasing customer satisfaction.
Involving QA early and often drives rigor around requirements, acceptance criteria and delivery against those requirements.
Our QA team works hard to find future efficiencies through automation and helping developers write more testable code.
All of the above comes together, so as quickly as possible we get down to building really useful services for end users. Regular release cycles mean improvements are delivered to customers fast, and further opportunities to learn and improve are captured.
Setting up a project team with shared values, building a culture where everyone can do their best work, building amazing solutions users really want - all adds up to a powerful experience for everyone involved and the outcomes are extraordinary.
"At Symbiote we build digital services for government that directly provide benefits to citizens.
I am passionate about achieving the best possible outcomes and am proud to be able to spend my working effort putting this positive change out into the world."