Yaroslav Lazor, Railsware CEO

Critical Productivity Railsware Way

| 6 Comments

With this post, I will be putting a foot in the door of Railsware blogging about productivity.

The past 1 year of company life was super crucial.
We went through a mark of 5 years old – but that doesn’t really change much.

What actually happened and what was a game changer for us is that we:

  • Became kazillion times more critical to information;
  • Became kazillion times more organized;
  • Thus, became kazillion * kazillion times more productive;
  • Because we have boiled and created an exceptionally Great Culture inside the company.
  • Understand me correctly, the changes began a long time ago – but now they are popping like mushrooms after the rain.


    I am going to touch a bunch of subjects in my next articles as there is quite a lot of information to be shared.
    Here is a brief of the principal 3 points that are our core DNA.

    Stories, Benefits

    So we became benefit focused from the production point of view.
    We did so by writing more stories – which made us understand much deeper what should be done.
    It suddenly started to transfer the deep contextual information that is not being touched in usual task driven approach.

    Benefit Driven Approach

    But then we were like –
    “hey, wait a minute – if stories turn products into better products – they should turn the company in better company”.

    And that one phrase gave birth to “Benefit Driven Approach” to be doing anything.
    We started looking at things from the benefit perspective.
    And thinking the other way around – “we need better sales” turned into two:

  • Improve our income, SO that company status is healthier, SO that we can pay our employees more, SO that they enjoy what they do, SO that they get realized.
  • Do great things (product, software), SO that we can make life of people (users) better and we enjoy the greatness of the process to create better things, SO that we enjoy what we do.
  • And it got us thinking. “Hey, wait a minute – it’s not just ‘we need better sales’, it’s much and much bigger than that and the actual preliminary task was broken”.

    Prioritization

    Then we started generating lots and lots of ideas to better implement the benefit than our usual way/focus did in both products and company.

    So we started creating huge lists of something.
    This list became unmaintainable, but also there were too many parallel thoughts in the brain of one making it hard to focus.

    So we have taken the old but great prioritization practice – MoSCoW and injected it into everything.
    Now the communication became much more transparent. We were not talking about 100 items now, but 4 MUSTs, 7 SHOULDs, 21 COULDs and 68 WON’Ts.

    So now depending on the time/efforts constraints we were talking about 4+7=11 mostly and 4+7+21=32 sometimes – which is very maintainable.

    Additionally we’ve done two more things :

  • Never lost 68 WON’Ts.
  • Marked them as WON’Ts, so that we didn’t just say what will be done – but what will be paused.
  • The next concepts to touch are going to be “Expectation Management“, “Ladder brain dump”, “ColorScope or never lose any drop of information”, “Out of the Head”, “Practical Knowledge”, “Product Fair, or only do things that turn you on/let people do what they love”, “Choose your work level : quite comfortable/good enough or personal best/perfect and switch it any time”, “Hire Policy”, “The Culture”, “Keeping your data/files/documents in order”, “Activities and Tags”, “Test the model first then write the code”, “Spreadsheet-apps Railsware way”, Ideas, discussions and benefits, from Yammer to Tracker with the critical approach”, “Wring, Wring, Wring”, “Context switch is a myth, “Producers over managers”.

    The major ones I’m going to leave for later, as they have to boil in our kitchen for a bit longer in order to get perfected and more practical. They include : “Possibilities and Responsibilities”, “Summary”, “Working Activities”.

    I hope you are excited, as this is one hell of a soup of knowledge that is going to be dumped.

    So tune in!

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    • http://twitter.com/madrocketstudio MadRocket Studio

      It’s always hard to stop client’s imagination. MoSCoW is a great approach, thank you for advice!

      • rwblog

        Yep, agree. And that works not only for pure development tasks. Along with tools like ColorScope (we’ll cover this later) it’s really easy to scope, split, prioritize customer requests. 

    • Pingback: ColorScope – a way for critical data acquisition and prioritization | Railsware Blog

    • Pingback: MoSCoW or how to reduce 50 todos to 5. | Railsware Blog

    • http://twitter.com/SimplyH Ha Vo

      Still today I find it hard to believe that some clients do not know the MoSCoW principle of prioritization. The combination with the benefits driven approach makes it even better I would say. Beside this I would also combine it with the SMART method to make everything measurable.

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