Oh, exciting! You’re thinking about engaging with Atomic Object for your new software project. Have you wondered how you might get the very most out of your time with your Atomic team?
After many years of working on Atomic software teams, I’ve noticed a few common denominators that add up to a great experience (e.g. timely software delivery and happy team members).
1. Make yourself available.
Make yourself, or someone you trust and have empowered to make decisions, available to partner with your Atomic team.
We understand that most of our clients have many responsibilities outside of their role within an Atomic software project. However, ensuring we're getting feedback on design workflows, our questions are being answered, and business requirements are being sorted out is crucial to help us deliver quality software in a timely way.
Plan to carve out more time at the start of a project or new phase of work. That's when we might need more collaborative sessions to get the design process rolling.
2. Empower a select few to make decisions.
Speaking of decision-makers, we don’t want too many of them. Determine who in your organization has decision-making power and over what areas of the software application or process.
Perhaps you have subject matter experts who need to collaborate and weigh in on how certain workflows are designed. And, perhaps someone else can have overall prioritization power.
Allowing everyone a seat at every table all of the time will likely slow down the process and result in endless iteration cycles. Getting feedback from a large group of folks can still happen (and is encouraged —more on that soon!). But, be sure it's clear who can and will make the final decisions.
3. Play along.
This is the time when we want everyone to have a seat at the table. We’ve learned time and time again that collaboration leads to better results. So, don’t be surprised when we pull you and your colleagues into a workshop and ask you to participate in ideation! Doing so is a win-win. It helps us generate ideas and helps other folks in your organization get excited about the software.
Sometimes it might feel silly, but we promise our love of Design Thinking leads to great places. Play along!
Additionally, I wouldn’t say Atomic is full of strict Process People. We certainly know many aspects of building and maintaining custom software necessitate a process. However, we recognize when something isn’t working and are always up for an experiment to find a better way. Embrace this, and help us calibrate the process for your project's unique needs!
4. Come sit with us.
This ties into "make yourself available." If at all possible, have key stakeholders or developers on your team (if you have any) come work alongside us for some time.
If you’re located near our office, that might look like setting a day(s) that folks can come work from our office or vice versa. If you’re not nearby, let’s find an opportunity for us to travel to you, or for you to come to us.
Remote work is great in so many ways, but being able to collaborate in person can help accelerate coming to a solution in any sticky areas we may be experiencing.
5. Grow the team gradually.
It can be tempting to throw as much people-power at a problem to try to solve it faster. However, at the start of a new Atomic software project, it is crucial to do the necessary discovery work before throwing a large team of developers into the mix.
First sort out the big questions you want to solve for. Who are your primary personas? What exactly are we building? What will the key workflows look like? Then you can gradually start increasing the development team size.
Gradually increasing the team size is preferred over jumping from a small to a large team overnight. This allows one new person to get-up-to-speed while others on the team can continue to carry the velocity and deliver functionality.
This also enables us to slightly recalibrate sprint practices as the team grows gradually and organically, instead of needing to do any “hard resets” and drastic changes in practices. Again, this helps to maintain a steady velocity and consistent delivery.
So there you have it; my five pro tips to get the most out of your engagement with Atomic. We can't wait to work with you!