I work with a few startups where the engineers are managing other engineers for the first time. They’ve been part of a few different structures and systems, but they’ve never had to implement one and manage people using it. I’ve read a bit about the “agile” framework and scrums, but not being an engineer myself, I was hoping you could recommend the simplest and most effective frameworks.
The short answer is - there is no such thing as the best framework. There are only right tools for the job.
The frameworks you are refereeing to are intended for managing software development projects. "Agile" is not a framework it is manifesto that outlines general principles (Goggle for Agile Manifesto). There are few formal frameworks that qualify as Agile, in particular Scrum, XP, Lean, Kanban, etc. All of them address different problems, so in order to make the right choice you need to understand each of them and they are not universally applicable.
- if you are starting on development of new product with small team then Lean or Kanban would be a good candidates
- if you have have larger team and fixed timeframe and buget (i.e. if you do it for client) then Scrum is probably the most appropriate.
- if your project is in maintenance stage then you are probably better off with Kanban
- if you have no clue what you are doing start with Lean - it will at least teach you not to waste time on choosing frameworks but focus on result ;-)
Bottom line is, don't try using frameworks just because everybody else does. Learn what problems they solve and see if you have any of those problems. Each framework adds certain overhead, so if you make a wrong choice you may spend resources on implementing something that does not solve your issues.
It is always a good idea to talk to advisor or hire a consultant.
The best framework is a physical project dashboard, and clear priorities. Engineers can only work on one thing at a time, and the more clearly you can communicate what they should be doing, the more effective you'll be.
All of the frameworks are really an attempt to make all of that clear.
As a non engineer, I'd recommend you start with this: http://amzn.to/2nxhtQ8 as Johanna talks about what works and doesn't work in general, and gives broad practical advice without being tied into a methodology.
Scrum is great and I'd recommend it. But I'd also strongly recommend you have at least one senior developer that has experience of leading a team. It sounds like you have a collection of more junior developers. You'll need a senior person at the very least as a mentor that can come in and help these new leaders execute the project. If you can't hire one full time at least have one come in on a part time basis. If you don't want to pay for one, find one that will work for equity.
In other words, you need someone on the technical staff that can answer the question you just posed. There is *so much more* than just picking the right framework. If no one on your technical team can answer it, then you need to find someone that can.
Disclaimer: I'm the author.
Agile and scrum is more a methodology, not a technical framework.
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