Case Study from Real World Experience: Real Python

05/14/2019 by Jon Fincher

Case Study: Real Python

I work as a writer for the Real Python website. Real Python provides high quality content and training on the Python programming language, and is a fully remote team. I am privileged to work with a diverse, highly talented group of writers and editors on six different continents, across the wide range of time zones.

Now, the team does not follow a full Scrum model. I’ve never been in a sprint planning meeting, nor do we have daily stand-up meetings. However, the team does exhibit many of the qualities of a good Agile team:

Self-Organized: We each choose the articles we work on.

Self-Correcting: We reach out to other team members for help when necessary.

Accountability: All our work is tracked centrally and accessible by everyone.

Empowerment: When problems in our articles are found, we can change them directly.

So how do we manage the workload across on this wide ranging team?

Team Communication

We communicate with each other exclusively via Slack. We maintain a number of Slack channels for both formal and informal activities. We manage tech and language reviews, coordinate who is writing about what, and talk about new stuff we’ve learned.

Backlog Management

The project being managed is the website, and the work items are our articles. They are all managed through our process using Trello, a virtual online whiteboard. Trello provides project boards, which contain all our work items in lists. Each list represents a step in the process, from new idea creation to publishing. Everyone can see everything, and data in each work item keeps us accountable for deadlines.

Customer Feedback

Each article has a comment forum associated with it driven by Disqus. Readers can contact authors and other readers directly, ask questions, make comments, and point out errors in the articles themselves. Authors, readers, and even other team members can respond to readers via that channel.

While a certain degree of flexibility is required (for example, authors use their own tools for writing articles and code which work within our coding conventions), this doesn’t mean everyone can use their own solutions when it comes to team management.

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