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Tech Tuesday: The Three Amigos – Tech Collaboration, Communication and Community

13 June 2017 | James Woodgate | About a 4 minute read
Tags: 3 amigos, amigos, Analyst, ANDtech, architecture, collaboration, Communication, community, developer, londontechweek, Product, tech, techweek, tester, three, ui, ux


For those of you who can speak a bit of  Spanish, you will know that the title of this blog refers to “The Three Friends” and this is just one of the many reasons why I love this framework. Simply put, The Three Amigos is a conversation between, you guessed it… three or more people! The main people involved in this conversation are; Developer (BE/FE), Tester and Analyst. If there are UX/UI/Architectural questions then by all means involve these people too. Remember – three is only a guide as to how many people to include.

Now you know who your “three friends are”, you will probably want to know when and why we have this conversation. I will start off by saying that this conversation should happen whenever a new ticket is picked up by a Developer and before work has started on it. This should happen for every ticket, even if it may appear easy! It will just mean you have a really quick conversation.

 

The main reason we have this conversation is for many different reasons. The main and most beneficial ones are:

  1. It means everyone has the same understanding of the ticket from the PO to the Developer. This means that features will be developed as intended and there will be no extra bugs/wrong features being introduced to your increment
  2. It means missed requirements/issues from the ticket can be highlighted early, before work has started leading again to less bugs and effort in the long run from all parties involved.
  3. It means that the correct test cases will be written for the story which ensures that nothing should be missed, so when the feature goes live there will be no issues
  4. It breeds much better collaboration in teams, “forcing” people to get together often to discuss important points around a particular feature/story
  5. It also breeds self-organisation as people will really have to organise themselves to have this conversation. This attitude towards work is a great one to have and will prove beneficial to the team in the long term.
  6. It is a safe place for everyone to ask questions relating to the story so everyone is definitely on the same page when the development work is started.

 

The reason why I am writing so confidently about the Three Amigos is because I introduced this into my two client teams at TalkTalk and in doing so we have seen the following benefits:

  1. Much better collaboration between team members, people are much more willing to go ask questions about stories than keep quiet.
  2. Within both teams since our last sprint with no Three Amigos, we have on average had a reduction in bugs of 23%!! This makes life easier for Developers, Testers and Analysts and also cuts down on unnecessary time fixing and triaging bugs.
  3. It has increased self-organisation within the teams. At the start I had to encourage and facilitate the sessions, but now everyone just gets on with it which is incredible to see!
  4. The understanding and knowledge of the work everyone is doing has also increased and people seem to be showing more interest in the work they are doing as well as seeing the story from everyone’s point of view.
  5. Ensuring the Three Amigos happens before work is picked up means, there is a greater chance of building the right feature. Not only this, but once the Three Amigos has taken place, it will highlight whether or not a feature was specified sufficiently, which means the next time a story is created everyone will be clearer what everyone expects a story to contain.

 

Life now at TalkTalk is much easier with the aid of this process, people feel encouraged to talk to one another and it really does breed the best attitudes of being proactive about our work. New joiners are given the low down by the team and are very quick to pick it up and get on board, which is amazing to see and just goes to show how effective it can be at bringing teams together and reducing bugs, effort, time and bad habits.

As with all new processes/frameworks/changes they can be difficult to implement and stick, but if I was to pick one I have had worked closely with over the past year, the Three Amigos would be my go to, to shout about, which is why you are reading this!

I hope that this was informative and the example given has shown the real and amazing benefits this framework can bring to your teams! If you do require more information or want to have a more in depth conversation about this topic, please do feel free to get in touch. Now get out there and start making some Amigos!!

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