A place I worked years ago climbed out of the software death spiral. Management improvement was the big step - we got manager who gave the team autonomy while strong remaining a strong leader.
“What needs doing?”
“How long will you take to do it?”
“OK, go do it”
What wasn’t required were any magic development methodology tricks - although everyone on the team was familiar with various methodologies.
That’s pretty much what I recommend in the essay.
The idea of making the PM responsible for deciding what goes in the queue, and streamlining communication around what gets discussed and what doesn’t (but not needlessly flowing that communication through intermediate layers) is really all that matters. That serves as a synchronization mechanism without having to attach a heavyweight planning process to it.
A good portion of what was sinking the team in the case study was haphazardly applying various Scrum/Agile/Kanban/ practices and having a ton of meetings even though everything was on fire and all of that didn’t seem to be helping.
Telling them “OK, let’s put a list of who is working on what on a board, only work on what matters most, and keep our conversations focused on just that” was a breath of fresh air.
Previously, there was an extremely decentralized process in place in which customer support, sales people, founders, the dev team lead, and individual developers all just kind of swarmed around things as they came in and then jumped from one crisis to the next due to all the context shifts.
How is that not a methodology?
A serious question…
“What needs doing?” “How long will you take to do it?” “OK, go do it”
Do you consider this a methodology?
Because what I’m describing is only a few steps more involved in that, and can be explained in about 5 minutes and implemented with no special training.
To me, a methodology is something that’s complex enough to require quite a bit more of an investment than that. (For example, Scrum looks like a methodology to me)
Yes, I think that’s a methodology. Simplicity of process is very valuable, but is not at all the same thing as absence of it.