I’ve been talking to a lot of engineering leaders and every one of them asks some variation of, “What are the best tools to use?” Behind the question seems to be the idea that with the perfect set of tools, organizational transformation is easy.
If you want a modern, effective, and motivated engineering team, tools alone will not help. You have to put the work in! It’s how you use the tools that’s more important, and that means process.
- How does your business make decisions?
- How do you communicate those decisions to teams?
- How do teams turn those decisions into real customer value?
- How does that value get into the hands of customers?
Make sure these are are in place first, then look for and use tools to support that. If you look at tools first, then you’re in danger of letting those tools decide how your business runs.
When I started my agile journey twenty-five years ago, we ran a full agile transformation using marker boards, post-it notes, spreadsheets, pen and paper. We didn’t have Slack, JIRA, GitHub, or CI, but we did have clear processes. This set us up to be able to pick the best tools as they emerged.
Start with asking “why” and “how” before running towards “what”.