AGILE: The Why and How we do it

How do you plan for a project? How do you prioritize? Do you create your project in one go, or do you do it chunk-by-chunk?

There are a lot of process for Software Development, and there is Agile Software Development. Agile Software Development is the “thing” for most software companies nowadays. It replaces the traditional way of software development process into a more robust, fast, and feature-driven development.

So why am I talking about Agile? Well, Agile is what we do here in LegalMatch Philippines. Why and how we do it? Then, if I may, let’s proceed.

 

GOING AGILE

In reality, we still can’t call ourselves Agile practitioners, we are still learning the ropes. I have asked our Project Managers on why we choose to go Agile and what benefits do we get from it.


LegalMatch projects are scattered in different sections of the website and worked on by different teams and different skill sets. Our business team also requires us to move on small iterations for practical reasons like ease of tracking, quicker troubleshooting, and lesser effect on conversion if something bad happens. Quick feedback on each project is also needed. On projects that we worked on we also have different project drivers and dedicated teams to focus more on each feature. This scenario fits perfectly for an agile framework.” – Ariel Lim, SEO Team Project Manager


Indeed, before we transitioned to Agile, the work we are doing and how we do it almost fits an Agile Software Development model. Embedding the Agile Software Development model into our own development model makes it more beneficial in terms of time and  quality. Well, a little tweak here and there completes the trick.

 

HOW WE DO AGILE

Our previous development model was almost the same with how Agile works. Given this setup, most of our developers didn’t have a hard time in learning Agile. Well, they are still new to some Agile practices.

To go a little deeper on how LegalMatch Philippines do Agile, I have asked (again) the help of our Project Managers on how did we transition to Agile, and what methodology we are using.


When we started the teams in LegalMatch we were already implementing a semi-agile methodology and semi scrum on our project management. The transition we undergone lately was the transition from only 3 teams, front end, back end and QA to a project focused teams and dedicated drivers per team. Integration of the QAs to each team was also implemented to form a proper scrum. For the scrum part, we have started to practice sprint planning and doing regular retrospectives. For the SEO Team, we have also started to do daily stand up meetings especially that we have the interns already so everyone is looped in to what people are doing and issues are addressed rapidly.” – Ariel Lim, SEO Team Project Manager


The Agile methodology we are practicing is Scrum. As mentioned before, our previous model was a scum like setup. Using Scrum would mean a less learning curve and a smoother transition for our developers.

Here are some of the Scrum practices that we are currently doing:

Stand-ups

Stand-ups help the team in knowing what the other members are doing and if there are any problems that affect the project. Having stand-ups help in prioritizing tasks in a daily basis.

SEO Team having their daily stand-up meeting

 

Sprint planning

Sprint planning helps the team in prioritizing the user stories in the backlog. Most of the sprint planning we have are done through video calls because our Product Drivers (equivalent to POs) are in the US.

Team Venus scrum board

 

Backlog refinement

Backlog refinement happens on demand if their problems encountered during the sprint or if there are still bandwidth and some developers can still fit in a user story or two without compromising delivery.

The scrum board

 

Retrospective

Retrospective gives each individual a chance to reflect on what happened during the sprint. The team discuss on what things they have done that may be a good practice, what problems they have encountered and how to avoid them, and improvements for the next sprint.

Team Jupiter having their retrospective

There are still a lot to learn about Agile, e.g., burndown chart, user story scoring, release planning, etc., but we are getting there as agile as we can.

 

LegalMatch Philippines, the new IT company in the Business Park

Want to know more about the new IT company in the Business Park, LegalMatch Philippines? If you already know us, then that’s great, but if you don’t, then let me walk you through on what we do, and what we can offer you.

LegalMatch Philippines is not a company that matches people with their soulmates. So, here is a brief background on our name LegalMatch (don’t worry this will be short). The name LegalMatch is from America’s original attorney/client matching service which is not a referral service. Yes, you heard it right, LegalMatch helps people in America look for lawyers or attorneys that might help them with their legal needs. If you are interested, then you can learn more about LegalMatch here.

So, now you ask yourself, why is LegalMatch Philippines an IT company, shouldn’t it be something like in America where they help match attorneys and clients? I was also like you, having the same question when I applied, but I was surprised that LegalMatch Philippines is different (by leaps and bounds) from the LegalMatch in America. The main objective of LegalMatch Philippines is to support LegalMatch in America. We are an IT company composed of Java experts, Senior Web developers, SEO/CRO specialist, Data Scientists, Software Quality Assurance experts, Senior Technical Writers, and HR professionals (and we don’t have a single lawyer or attorney in our team). With our teams here in Cebu, we support the LegalMatch application, we implement new features, we handle attorney/client data, and we research on how to create more value for the business.

Knowing the company, are you now interested in joining our team? The next part will help you learn more about us (this is where it gets exciting). What is working with LegalMatch Philippines like? Well, I will tell you based on my experience working here. From the few months I’ve been with LegalMatch Philippines, I’d say that this company can compete with any leading IT company (Philippines only, I haven’t had the chance to work abroad) based on compensation, workplace, and people. So, bear with me for a little longer (you will not regret this) as I try to explain how amazing LegalMatch Philippines is.

Compensation

Yes, it is hard to admit, but we are always looking for greener pastures. My story is not so much different from yours, I’ve been with a few companies, but LegalMatch Philippines offered the best pay so far, which I can compare with professionals working in Makati, and like other leading IT companies, LegalMatch compensates you for your skills (not how much you butt lick your superiors, pardon my choice of words).

Team Saturn and Team Venus, awarded for their excellent performance.Awarding excellent performers

LegalMatch respects the skills of its employees and does not hesitate to offer more if you can give them more (the more skillful you are, the better your pay grade). So, a company that pays you for the skill sets you have, how bad an offer can that be? And, I forgot to mention, we have free lunch once a week, and team bonding dinners every now and then (company expense).

Workplace

Oh, the second thing we look for in a company, the place where we’ll be staying 6 hours a day, 5 days a week (why 6 hours you ask, I’ll be explaining this later). For me, the workplace is a big thing, if I’m not comfortable with it, then that’s a big NOPE for me. Would you like to work in dark place, with smell of ammonia, and rats all over the place? I guess not, right?

A workplace of peace

The workplace here in LegalMatch is a place:

  • That is not that big but spacious
  • With a well-lighted room and a taste of modern interior design
  • Where you can write your ideas on the wall (most of our walls are whiteboards, cool right)
  • Where there is a room for arguments and discussions
  • With nice long tables where you sit, do your work, and collaborate with your team

What more can I say, the workplace is pretty nice, and it helps you get your work-mode juice flowing. And every now and then, we have Roshambo tournaments, and team-bonding games.

And now, going back to the 6 hours a day; yes, you heard it right (again), instead of spending 8 hours in the office you only need to spend 6 hours because of our work from home policy (oh my goodness, work from home, yes, that’s right, LegalMatch offers work from home). We will talk about this policy in details, in the next blog (believe me this will be quite lengthy because of the technicalities, but it’s nice to know, you might want to discuss this policy with your HR team, *wink).

People

Are you still with me? This is the last one on my list, people. I think the most important thing when working in a company is the people you are working with. No matter how big the compensation, or how lovely the workplace, but if you are working with a douche, then everything falls into ruin.

Pretty colleagues

Here in LegalMatch everyone are experts in their fields, being an expert is having experience, and with experience comes wisdom and respect. And I’m proud to say that the people working here are all professionals, their egos might come out from time-to-time but they have respect for others, they can control their emotions, and deal with arguments in the most professional way. I love the people working here because they respect me as person and as their colleague.

I think that is it, what LegalMatch Philippines is and what you can expect working with us. Actually, there are still more to talk about like, how we use Agile, Test Automation, SEO strategies, Java 8, Confluence, JIRA, BitBucket, and so much more. I would really love to talk about all this stuff here, but I’m only limited to a few words per blog (*smile), but no worries, I’m just starting, there will be more blogs to come to hype you more in joining our company.

If by chance you were convinced by this blog and gave an interest in joining us, then feel free to look for the job you want to apply here.

See you in the next blog.