The Rangers have been at it for 10 great years, and I’m proud to report that our internationally diverse volunteers have done some amazing work. The results are well-chronicled elsewhere, but I’d like to speak for a moment about why the Rangers actually perform so well as a group.
After all, there are some pretty significant hurdles to overcome. The most obvious is that we are few and far between. The Rangers are spread out all over the world and are kept to about 100 members, the reasons for which are best covered in another post. The expansive nature of the group often results in a single Ranger within an entire country. In addition, all Rangers but one are volunteers. In fact, Rangers are top experts within various disciplines of application lifecycle management, and, as such, are in high demand and have limited time. How on earth can we get any work done? How is anyone held accountable?
Now that we’ve covered some challenges, let’s talk about the “secret sauce” of what makes members of the Rangers tick.
It’s simple, really: The secret sauce is that each Ranger is passionate about ALM, and the teams truly organize themselves.
For instance, let’s look at how work is managed. One group might use PBIs with individuals entering their own tasks. Another might plan the tasks that make up those PBIs together rather than individually. One might use the Kanban board; another the backlog view. And so on. In this way, each team is able to form the work norms that best fit the team, even though they may be very spread out.
Let’s take another example, that of team membership. Teams are formed very loosely. No one is “assigned” to a team; instead, the call goes out that certain teams need certain skills. Interested Rangers join the team. Other Rangers leave if they get too busy with work or family. And the cycle repeats. But the actual work of that team is stable even though the team itself is fluid.
Of course, some standards are necessary to insure that we all move in the same direction to fulfill our mandate. For instance, the process for creating and managing Epics is a community standard that everyone follows. Also, some teams are “shared”, like user experience or quality, and those teams have certain norms that the other teams follow by convention. But, within this broad framework, teams have an enormous amount of latitude.
And it works!
Rangers produce a lot of high-quality guidance and tooling for everyone to consume every year. This sort of fluidity can take some getting used to, but the results speak for themselves.
And the good news? This secret sauce isn’t actually secret at all – any organization can give it a try!
I’d love to hear your thoughts below. Until next time, keep on keeping on!