Like all vendors, we want to create better products and processes. But we often get so busy with the day-to-day tasks and deadlines that we don’t have time to work on improvements that help speed up things such as delivery and performance. So when our team suggested that we dedicate a full week of our developers’ time to work on innovation and improvement solely, it was ground-breaking – and it made total sense.
In late 2019, we launched our first-ever ‘Efecte Quality Week’. We had already trialed the concept of a focus week in the form of an Innovation Week earlier in the year, so everyone was familiar with the concept and could hit the ground running. However, the results of Quality Week quickly went beyond everyone’s expectations.
The purpose of Quality Week was to focus on the improvement of the internal processes and the quality of the product output. We wanted to explore ways to create solutions that would allow our offering to be more secure and faster and improve our agile way of working. The four main areas we wanted to explore were:
During a Quality Week, the regular R&D team structure is broken up to allow for people to work with each other across the traditional team boundaries. Individual team members propose focus topics, and the most popular topics are chosen through voting. Once two or more developers have chosen a topic, they proceed to work on that for the week without any management intervention.
This format opens up opportunities for everyone to get to know each other better, share ideas, and gain valuable insight into different perspectives and challenges throughout the business. As a result, there is a great deal of knowledge sharing taking place – as well as new friendships created.
Karol Susz, Lead Developer at Efecte, was a key member of the most recent Efecte Quality Week. He describes the experience as 100% positive, with plenty of opportunities to learn and contribute. “During Quality Week, all team members work exclusively on the project at hand instead of customer projects. Obviously, if there’s an emergency or a blackout scenario, we would take care of that. But Quality Week allows us to dedicate full days to the focus project without other distractions,” he explains.
Efecte makes these focus weeks possible by scheduling them several months in advance and adjusting any deadlines to accommodate them. This way, a Quality Week does not impact any ongoing client projects negatively. “We make Quality Week part of our milestones,” Karol continues. “And as it is not mandatory, everyone has the choice to instead work on feature development. Still, we had 95% of our R&D team take part in Quality Week last time.”
Out of 20 unique topics, six got selected as focus projects for Quality Week 2019. All topics resulted in positive outcomes, including the following examples:
For many developers, working in a mixed team offers the opportunity to focus on things that are easy to get excited about. “It makes you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself,” Karol explains. “Working together towards a common goal gets everyone thrilled, as we get to enjoy the outcome immediately.”
Efecte has always had a unique development culture that is highly people-focused, pragmatic, and driven to add value to the teams, the process, and ultimately to the customers. This culture has only been further enhanced by Quality Week, as collaboration and communications have improved between various teams across the entire business. “Efecte is a company of doers,” Karol summarizes. “If you have an idea, and you can prove that it will benefit the business, the business will empower you to do it. And that’s essentially what Quality Week is all about.”
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