Evolving Agile: How Foundations° Transforms Team Satisfaction and Client Impact

Over the past year, Rotate° has embarked on a transformative journey with our introduction of Foundations°, a new methodology that’s deeply influenced by the agile philosophies of Marty Cagan, the structured approach of 37 Signals' Shape Up, and the principles of Clean Agile by Robert C. Martin.

This change was catalysed by our agile transformation five years ago, which revealed that the traditional two-week sprint cycles, while innovative, had critical shortcomings. These limitations were not merely operational but profoundly affected our team's well-being and our ability to deliver truly impactful work to our clients.

Our goal was to develop a more thoughtful and sustainable development practice that would allow for deeper engagement across all project phases.

Jim Tattersall, Founder & CTO

The Genesis of Foundations°

Specifically, we found that two-week sprints, though agile, often resulted in deliverables that lacked the necessary depth and impact. The relentless pace of these sprints contributed to team burnout, and the constrained timeframe hindered creativity and comprehensive problem-solving. 

This prompted us to reevaluate our methodologies, drawing inspiration from the empowering approach of Marty Cagan, the pragmatic pacing of 37 Signals' Shape Up, and the disciplined focus of Robert C. Martin's Clean Agile. 

Our goal was to develop a more thoughtful and sustainable development practice that would allow for deeper engagement across all project phases—ideation, validation, design, and execution—while protecting the team from burnout.

Tackling Burnout and Enhancing Impact

Creating Foundations° was our direct response to these challenges. We’d recognised the need for a methodology that allowed for more profound engagement with each project phase. 

Foundations° introduced a structured, yet flexible, approach, dividing our efforts into Shaping and Delivery Tracks, with extended cycles for both planning and execution. This not only provided the necessary space for thorough research and risk management, but also ensured that our solutions were innovative and feasible.

Implementing Foundations°

Of course, implementing Foundations° demanded a radical shift in our workflow. Our Shaping Tracks focus on understanding user needs and business requirements, using both quantitative and qualitative research to validate assumptions and prioritise features. Meanwhile, our Delivery Tracks transform these validated ideas into high-quality, user-centric products. 

This bifurcated approach is facilitated by a 3-week shaping phase followed by a 6-week delivery phase, broken into 2-week sprints for iterative development. Cooldown periods punctuate these phases, serving multiple purposes: cognitive rest, skill development, and the space to tackle larger fixes. In turn, they prevent team burnout and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Evolving With Foundations°

Our evolution to Foundations° has been nothing short of transformative. By embracing Dual Track Agile, we harmoniously balance strategic planning with execution, ensuring continuous innovation. This methodology, though initially more expensive than traditional sprints, has introduced significant efficiencies that reduce overall costs while dramatically improving our value to cost ratio. The efficacy of each 9-week cross-functional rotation is meticulously measured, ensuring we not only achieve cost savings, but also deliver unparalleled value to our clients.

As we continue to refine Foundations°, we remain dedicated to fostering an environment where creativity, well-being, and impactful work thrive. 

This journey of continuous improvement and adaptation is crucial for maintaining our leadership in eCommerce development. Foundations° is not just a methodology; it's a testament to our commitment to continuously pushing the ceiling of excellence in our industry.

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