A year with Scrum or how to professional development of developers

A year ago, our company underwent revolutionary changes, our development methodology changed, we began to work on Scrum.

Agile began to demand from the team independent decision-making, continuous improvement. Here we are faced with the problem of the development of team members. As a result, we gradually developed 14 ways of development, about 6 of which I will discuss in this article. A part of these methods was initiated by the company, but we invented the most part ourselves, or we looked at it and adapted it for ourselves.

In the company of 7 grocery teams, I am those. lead (scrum master + architect) of one of the teams.

So, let's begin.

1. Book Club

How to make your colleagues read more? The most obvious idea is to organize a book club. They did not begin to invent anything, at one of the daily they announced the first meeting of the club.

Club goals:

  • encourage colleagues to read;
  • expand horizons at the expense of each other. Those. listen to the review of professional books from the mouth of the word and decide for yourself whether it is worth reading it, or limit it to general moments from the book;
  • discuss which ideas from the book can be applied in work (and sometimes outside of work)


In the club, we share who read what, briefly tell key ideas. The club is usually visited by 4-8 people and we have time to discuss 2 books. At first, the club was held weekly, but over time we realized that in a week we don’t have time to read a lot and decided to get together in 2 weeks.

The club discusses books on corporate culture, personal development, time management. Less development, but from the book club budded exersise club, about the cat below.

As a result, the book club initiated the creation of a library in which the company buys 5-6 books each month;

2. The suns and clouds

Agile requires different thinking principles from Waterfall from developers. To make the adaptation process easier, we came up with some kind of coordinate system, a value system, where it’s what is good and what is bad.

We wrapped up such a system in gaming the motivation of "suns and clouds". The team can encourage one of the colleagues with suns, from 1 to 8 and scold, we will hand him the appropriate number of clouds. The size of the suns and clouds is regulated, for example, 1 sun is “thank you”, 3 suns is a rescue team, 8 suns are encouraged to make a technical improvement noted by the team. We give out 1 cloud for being late for a meeting, 8 clouds - let the team down, etc.

When a team closes a sprint, the person who scores the most points (1 sun +1 point, 1 cloud minus 1 point) receives a book and a cup. At the end of the quarter the best gets a sweatshirt with the name of the team. This is a unique sweatshirt, a sweatshirt with such an inscription nothing else to get.

This kind of motivation is quite ambiguous, someone considers it just a pampering. From experience, I can say that we are not late for meetings and are able to celebrate the merits and "antitrust" of each other, which allows us to move together in the same direction and be a team.

After almost a year I understand that this method has fulfilled its goals, we restructured our thinking according to the Agile methodology. Now the suns serve as encouragement to each other, sometimes it’s difficult to thank a person for all the help for all, the suns make it possible to overcome this barrier.

I especially recommend this method at a stage when a flexible methodology is being introduced.

3. Tracks of development

For the development of each member of those. department development manager has introduced development tracks.
A development track is an individual plan that reflects goals and means of achieving them.

In our team, the track is created for 3 periods of 3 months. The current period is clearly described, the following is less detailed, the third period is just ideas.

Each track makes up for itself. The task of those. Lead to help achieve employee goals and growth.

During the work with the tracks, I concluded that placing technology in the track is inefficient, because it is not clear what to consider the study of technology, programming language, a particular database. These are just tools.

At the moment, the following track format has been defined for itself: direction, development tools, literature, metrics. In the process of moving along the track, the necessary tools are already selected. For example:

direction: General technical knowledge;
development tools: microservices and their preparation
literature: “Shell programming (UNIX). Clean code. Design patterns. Release it! The theoretical minimum in Computer Science. Domain-Based Design (DDD)
Metrics: Compliance with Non-Functional Requirements

The problem of the tracks is that they only work if the developer himself understands his goals and does not relate to this formally. Attitude towards the track is decisive. Those who follow the progress, periodically watch, refresh the track in memory, move, and they make good progress. Tracks help develop focused, achieve good personal results, and not be limited to solving routine tasks.

4. Morning "skating rinks"

In the morning, before the day or in the evening before leaving, we are competing to solve algorithmic problems. For this we use the codingame service . The participant is invited to solve a simple algorithmic problem, either for speed or for the number of code symbols. Skating rinks are great at helping you get your hands on writing algorithms, and indeed this is a fan item. The service provides a large set of programming languages, C #, C ++, Javascript, Bash, PHP, Swift and about 20 others.

Such algorithmic training increases the speed of writing code.

5. Perfomance Review

During work it is very difficult to get an objective feedback from colleagues from your team. At Team Lead Conf, Yegor Tolstoy shared his experience with Perfomance Review at Avito. We adopted it. Great stuff! Personally, I received a very valuable feedback about my work. According to the received feedback, I was able to correct some of my working moments. Colleagues also speak very positively about such a review format, someone added pieces of the received feedback to their tracks. After some time we plan to repeat.

Yegor described in detail in his article .

6. Exersise club

Since spring, we have been actively preparing to release our new product. We understood that it is unacceptable when the solution will be unstable or even fall. Therefore, we decided together to delve into the theme of operating the application, creating an exersise club.

Exersise club is a slightly different book club format. Here we all read one book together, and in the club we analyze it in detail. This is a purely technical book.

We agree in advance which chapters we will read for the meeting. At the meeting we analyze the read. We look at the current problems and how to fix them.
Club meetings are held weekly and last 1 hour.

Preparing for the big release, they sorted out the book Release It. At one of the meetings, we made a table of the services that our application uses; we found out where there are no timeouts in the requests to them. Having this table in hand, we eventually set timeouts and now we know that if a third-party API or database falls, the application will work. Similarly dealt with logs.

Now, by reading “DDD” by Eric Evans, we are designing a large piece of the architecture of the new module.

This format is suitable for the simultaneous study of the theory and the simultaneous application of the studied in practice.

If the problem needs to be solved in a short time, then the exersise club will be ineffective.


Do not think that everything is good with us and every member of the team swings furiously and uses every opportunity to grow. Of course it is not. But here it is important that such opportunities exist and they give quite good results both for everyone personally, and for the team and for the company as a whole.

The article wrote about 6 of 14 ways to improve professional skills. If the information is interesting, I will write the second part and summarize the experience.

The methods described in the article are simple to implement and are the fruit of our own ideas, the experience of other product teams and companies.

PS And what have the Scrum? All these methods appeared after the transition to Scrum and were initiated by the team. It is great that the initiatives of the teams are supported by the management of the company.

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