From principle to practice: how we live and work agile at Delivery Hero
It is early morning, the day is as sunny as it gets in Berlin. You start your day enjoying a warm cup of coffee, checking the calendar on your phone, and what awaits you today: the last day of your team’s sprint. You already know what comes next: sprint review, followed by the sprint retrospective, and last but not least, planning for the next sprint cycle.
Plan, sprint, reflect, repeat.
If you’re part of a tech team, this might sound familiar. To others, maybe it’s a way of working they’ve never heard of. Yet the term “agile working” comes up more and more across sectors and teams. What does it really mean?
Agile, per definition, is an iterative approach to project management and software development, with the ultimate goal of quickly delivering something valuable to customers, learning from their feedback, and iterating. The opposite of agile is commonly referred to as waterfall project management, in which a scope is defined, completely executed without many changes, and delivered to the customer all at once, at the very end.
A common misunderstanding around agile is believing that implementing and practicing so-called agile process frameworks (like SCRUM or Kanban) automatically makes you “agile”. But being agile is much more than polishing your processes – and a lot harder.
Rather, the agile values and principles are key: it really doesn’t matter whether you use Gantt charts to manage your projects, as long as you are ultimately embracing change, providing frequent and valuable output for customers, reflecting and adjusting. And these are just a few examples of twelve principles that differentiate companies that “do agile” from those which really “are” agile.
Here we take a closer look at four out of twelve principles, which we incorporate into our daily lives at Delivery Hero.
Principle #1: Reflect and adjust
From team to organizational level, periodical inspections of our processes and products, and the relentless pursuit of improvement keep us at the top of our game. We learn from our successes and mistakes, we learn from each other, from our customers – no matter where they are around the world – and this input drives us forward. We always aim higher, and this culture of continuous learning is a big part of it.
A practical example of this in the organization level is the frequent inspection of our strategy processes, which are constantly improved with input from the teams and leadership, to make our strategy translation more effective each quarter. On the team level, learning cycles happen every two weeks, for the tech teams and some of our non-tech areas, which are adopting agile principles and frameworks too.
Principle #2: Work Together
The proximity of business competencies to tech is a fundamental principle of agile, and we are very fortunate to have a united and strong team at DH. Product and tech here are flesh and bone, business and analytics specialists collaborate closely with the teams – overcoming time zone differences and building strong bridges between our headquarters in Berlin and our local teams all over the globe. All this is supported by a strong collaboration with people operations and customer experience teams.
We are Heroes because we care; about our customers and about each other. This makes decision making a much richer process; with perspectives from different backgrounds and fields of expertise.
Principle #3: Technical Excellence
We deliver solutions. Everything we do would be in vain if we didn’t have resilient and trustworthy products. Our business keeps growing rapidly and without continuous attention to technical and design excellence, we wouldn’t be able to sustain an amazing delivery experience for our customers. This is why our global teams are constantly adopting new technologies and strategies to make our services more resilient, faster and safer. Scaling gracefully and delivering what matters: delight to our customers. And of course, technical excellence is a result of talent excellence too.
Principle #4: Embracing Change
When change becomes the norm, embracing it and adapting is what makes us grow stronger and succeed. This is true for our product strategy in highly competitive markets, and it is also true for our teams and ways of working inside Delivery Hero. With all global teams going fully remote earlier this year due to Covid-19, we discovered new ways of collaborating. And if anything, this change made the distance between the teams smaller than before: as global teams we proved once again that geolocation is not a barrier for collaboration.
A great example is our constant user testing sessions, which were taken fully remote during times of isolation. By using new tools and preparing our teams, we are successfully “in touch” (pun intended) with our customers, gathering their feedback and applying it to things we are building on day to day.
Living and working agile might not be as easy as it sounds. It is not just about sprint reviews, followed by the retrospectives, and last but not least, planning for the next sprint cycles. And it is definitely not always sunny days and warm cups of coffee. But we love challenges.
Would you like to join us in this journey? Check out the open positions at Delivery Hero.