Presented by redPanda

The decision-making spine structure – how to ensure the best results for customers

Making real-time decisions in software development is tricky, but enabling the right team members can make the process more agile.

Traditionally, businesses employ a top-down management structure, with one person making all the necessary decisions.

“The problem with this approach is that it results in micromanaging and creates inefficiencies through deferred decision-making,” says redPanda Software CEO Gareth Hawkey.

“At redPanda Software, we do things differently – we implement a decision-making spine structure. In a team of 9 or 10 people, three of them are enabled to make real-time decisions.”

Hawkey likens this to the decision-making structure of a rugby team, where the coach is involved with the long-term strategies but is not involved in making decisions while the game is in play.

The captain of the team is more involved in the game itself, but even he can’t affect every decision-making point during the game.

Rather, specific teammates, such as the fly half and scrum half, make most of the decisions that affect the game in play.

“Essentially, only 5 or 6 people make 90% of the decisions during the game, so the idea is to equip those key players,” explains Hawkey.

At redPanda Software, there is a spine in the business structure that allows those who are technically skilled in making decisions on the fly.

The spine includes the tech lead who is the most senior developer on the team, the tester who is responsible for the quality of the code, and the business analyst who is responsible for making sure the developers understand what the customer’s specifications are.

“We need very strong individuals in those three positions – people who understand the company’s vision and overall strategy, such as meeting all customer expectations on time,” adds Hawkey.

“They need to be mentored very well, must buy into the process, and they need to be developed technically as well, and in turn, they improve the efficiency and quality of our products.”

This method assists redPanda Software in upskilling developers interested in advancing their career along the managerial track into positions with more responsibility.

It is a great transition, providing experience in decision making that affects the team without impacting the overall business.

“It also creates a better environment for the whole team, as they feel part of the process rather than just contributing,” concludes Hawkey.

“They can see how important it is for the whole team to understand the goals and vision of the company, and they better understand their role in helping to achieve those goals.”

For more information, and to apply for developer roles in Cape Town, visit the official redPanda Software website.

This article was published in partnership with redPanda.

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The decision-making spine structure – how to ensure the best results for customers