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Bringing People, Process & Technology Together

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“Process and procedure produce the benefit; whereas, technology provides the capability to not only deploy such a process, but also to establish processes in the form of a system that is easy for operators to follow.” -Puga Sankara, Smart Gladiator

Often you look to technology to solve our process challenges, it is much easier to purchase software than it is to implement process change across an organization. However, technology will rarely take the place of poor processes. In this article, you will explore the difference between people, processes, and technology and explore how these parts can all work together to create something amazing.


The greatest asset to any organization or project is its people. They are the innovators, implementors, leaders, and the inspiration. They execute the processes; without them, the project would suffer or come to a halt.

You will know you have assembled the right team when it has some or all these shared characteristics:

  • Trust & Openness
  • Willingness to Correct Mistakes
  • Participative Leadership
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Shared Purpose

This is the team of people who will be establishing and implementing the processes. Different project team members will take on specific roles within the process and be instrumental in its overall success.

But without a solid, consistent, proven process to follow, even the best team will find it increasingly difficult to be organized, make progress, or deliver a quality product.


Now that you have assembled our team, you should establish our process (or processes) for moving forward. At this point, some may wonder why they need processes if they have an established hierarchical team structure. A hierarchical team structure is often more familiar and already in place when putting a project team together and it can be comfortable, easy, and doesn’t require a cultural change. However, there are drawbacks to this approach.

The hierarchical team structure uses “command and control,” team communication uses a top-down approach. The project is managed at the top and information flows down to the team and back up to leadership.

This approach can discourage new ideas, inhibit change, and can make communication slow.

Teams need to come up with a way to consistently, deliver a high-quality product on time while being able to adjust to change.

One of the increasingly popular and effective processes is based on the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

Agile can be one of the most dynamic & effective ways to approach a project or way of working. It promotes collaboration, alignment, and implementation across single or multiple teams. Following the SAFe framework will drive the organization, consistent quality, and on-time delivery.

You may be asking, why would you want to embrace the Agile methodology? What about it makes it more effective than the hierarchical approach?

Agile focuses on four main pillars of agile:

  1. Individuals and interactions
  2. Working software
  3. Customer collaboration
  4. Responding to change

And rather than the team waiting for management to set up a meeting with the latest project updates, the Scrum Master will have a short daily checkpoint with key team members. They bring the updates to the meeting. Short daily meetings allow for adjustments along the way, rather than waiting until a release is nearly complete.

Agile empowers project team members to collaborate at all levels of the project. This collaboration allows the team to respond quickly to change without disrupting delivery.


Finally, now that you have assembled a project team, and everyone is up to speed on the product you are tasked with delivering and everyone understands their roles in the project and are excited to get things kicked off. One last step remains before you are on your way, you should identify the tools you need which will give our team the capability to deploy these processes.

The tools you choose should support the four main pillars of agile, which means these will allow us to communicate, share information, and respond quickly to change.

Let’s start with communication… for many of us, you may think of scheduling a meeting and/or sending emails for everything. Meetings are time-consuming, may not necessarily be effective, and can be a distraction. Emails can be slow and can generate a lot of back-and-forth conversation. You still need to be able to communicate, and technology has allowed us to do this much more effectively.

Using a messaging solution such as Teams or Slack has changed (maybe even revolutionized) how teams communicate with each other. It makes it very easy to share information, call each other when needed, and include as many people as necessary. Problems can be resolved quicker, and ideas can be discussed in real-time. They have replaced the dry-erase boards in a conference room with digital versions team members can collaborate on from anywhere.

It can do all of this while being much less disruptive and time-consuming than scheduled meetings and faster than email. And everything is saved, to be easily referred to later.

Now that you’ve identified a couple of communication tools you can use, next you need to figure out how to share information. While the focus of agile is functional software over documentation, you still need a way to create, store, and share it with the team.

In the old days, you may have just created files locally on our computers and emailed them to each other. This was slow, and as these files were updated, more and more copies would be floating around.

There are much more effective ways to do this with solutions such as SharePoint or Atlassian’s Confluence. These are great ways to create and save documentation in a centralized location that anyone on the team can view and update. It encourages collaboration reduces the information silos. The project team should collaboratively own the documentation, not just one person.

At this point you have technologies that will allow us to communicate and collaborate, you have one more item to address. You need to figure out how to organize the work you want to deliver. This is much more than just a spreadsheet, you need to understand the acceptance criteria, how long it will take to deliver, and who is working on what.

Sure, this can probably be done with post-it notes or a big dry-erase board… if the project is small and you are all working in the same conference room. But it’s unlikely this is the case on either count.

One of the most popular solutions to organize work is Atlassian’s Jira platform. It allows teams to track issues, manage projects, and automate workflows. It’s based on four key concepts, issue, project, board, and workflow.

  • Issue: It provides a visual way to break a project down into smaller actionable pieces of work. These pieces of work can be tracked, categorized, prioritized, assigned, updated, and more from a single location. It provides visibility into all of the work which needs to be completed for a given feature or span of time.
  • Project: Jira will allow the team to view the project by its deliverables (or smaller pieces), and who they are assigned to.
  • Boards: This information can be organized in boards, such as Kanban or Sprint boards, which then allow us to perform capacity planning to make sure you don’t over commit. These boards are living things and if used properly will tell us if you are on track or behind schedule.
  • Workflow: You’ll be able to build workflows, which identify the different phases the work will go through until completion. The individual issues might start in an Open or Ready to Work status, move to In Progress, Dev Review and so on until it’s in a Done, Closed or Resolved status. As part of the process, maybe its determined only work in a specific status is deployed into production. Jira makes it easy to track the progression of work and ensure you on track.

So, as you look at a successful project team, these three components are largely intertwined people, process, & technology. Without the people, there is no one to support the project. However, even the best team will need established processes and technology to enable them.

A successful organization will ensure that these work in harmony together for successful product delivery.

Originally published on Medium.


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