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We sat down with Eric Smith, Lytho’s Junior Software Engineer and Scrum Master to learn what Lytho is doing to bring teams together. Lytho prides itself to be a customer-first company that is committed to preventing silos where marketing, sales, customer support and developers are working on their own responsibilities without much contact or consultation. One of the initiatives designed to maximize working together as a well-oiled machine is called Walk-in Thursday.
Of course, very simply put, it’s a meeting (virtual during the pandemic) that takes place every other Thursday afternoon. It’s hosted by the whole development team and everyone in the company is invited to take part. Basically, all developers take time to come together and listen to new ideas, improvements, and feedback from customers and employees about Lytho’s solution.
We don’t just listen, give explanations and note down things. We also will fix any urgent bugs and new ideas that are reported if they can be solved in under a day. This way we can answer requests immediately which makes our customers and employees very happy. It's motivating for everyone to see that their suggestions are picked up quickly and that they can influence the end-product directly.
Bigger requests are put at the top of our backlog to be picked up urgently. Any larger or more work-heavy new product improvements will first be evaluated by our Product Owner who checks them against our product roadmap.
We were struggling to get enough timely feedback from our colleagues and customers. We want to be a customer-first company, not a cool-features first company. We are working on new features and improvements based on what is important to Lytho users, and we trust that they know best what makes the solution work for them.
We brought this challenge in a SCRUM training just over a year ago and our trainer’s suggestion was to try the Walk-in concept. And it’s been working for us really well!
There are tons of benefits for us. One is of course that now we are getting more feedback and can answer customer requests in a more structured and transparent way. It's also better for us that all feedback is concentrated on this specific time and we don't receive requests constantly but have the time to proactively solve issues and improve the solution. We also get more new ideas pitched to us which is nice. In this bi-weekly meeting, the ideas are met with the whole development team instead of just one specialist. It makes it a lot faster to assess how much work something would take from different parts of our team and if it’s something we can or should do with our resources and priorities.
The request procedure is much flatter and faster this way. It’s also been a great channel for teams to get to know each other a little bit more. Especially now that we are still all working from home, a year after we left the normal office-first way of working.
The commercial team is not the only one bringing in suggestions and requests to the meetings. The development team members always have something to contribute as well! It’s easy to get siloed within in our own department. Front-end specialists working on their own things and back-end working on their priorities. We don’t necessarily always see things from each other’s perspectives unless we actively come together to discuss.
The Walk-in Thursday has also brought our own team closer together.
Any organization should try it if they are interested. The SCRUM methodology is not about copy-pasting concepts like this one to different companies and teams. First you have to assess your own needs and capacities and then see what kind of an arrangement suits you. I would say that Walk-ins are an excellent idea for companies who want to be transparent to their customers and employees, who are looking to prevent silos and have a customer-first mindset.
Thanks, Eric, for sharing and we hope this gave some food for thought to other companies that are challenged by similar issues.
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