Mark Pearl

A PM recently shared these guiding principles in retro after a SWAT. A SWAT is a short term team composed of members from other long-running teams assembled to solve a specific issue.

Guiding Principles

Identify Stakeholders. Be deliberate in engaging and managing stakeholders from day 0 - make sure you have all the decision-makers on board. Identify all those impacted by this work - security, architecture, product, design, legal etc.

Aligned Leadership Communication. Ensure stakeholder communication through the right people. If you use a two in the box model (product and engineering lead), then communication should come from the pair and be represented as an aligned pair.

Clear prioritisation hierarchy. Understand where your initiative sits in terms of prioritisation. Clear prioritisation will help ensure projects have the right people available and allow teams and PMs to prioritise their engagement with you.

Time-box decision. Time-box decisions, and have the right people available to make them. Decide when you have 70% of the information you need.

Ensure cross-pollination in all activities. When mobbing/pairing/sizing work, it is important to have members from all the relevant delivery teams involved. Having members from all the delivery teams maximises visibility and diversity of ideas and experience and ensures more cohesion across the teams.

Clarity. Make sure you have good clear definitions, acceptance criteria, responsibilities etc.

Keep things updated. Ensure all boards and plans are up to date at all times. Having one source of the truth will reduce noise and confusion. If you change something on the Jira backlog that will influence your milestone dates, make sure this is reflected in your delivery timeline and stakeholder comms.

All-in meetings. Have All-in meetings where everyone working on the problem attends. These meetings are great for visibility and cross-team alignment. Note: Not ALL meetings have to be all-in. But ensure you have enough of them to keep everyone closely aligned.

Daily engagement with leads. Set up daily engagement calls for the leads. Communication and clarity of status, roadblocks, and issues is vital.

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