I am a Software Engineer at a startup ( 16 employees ), and we are still working like we have 3 employees. The buy in for our tools is very minimal and renders them almost useless.
I know we are going through some growing pains, but we need to start fixing things. I was hoping for some advice on picking a workflow and sticking to it, or maybe recommendations on new tools. Any help / advice would be much appreciated.
A few observations I have noticed and consider problematic :
We are very "knee jerk" in the sense that if an important customer asks for something, we immediately work to push it into a release. We have never stuck to our release plan, and I believe it is causing a lot of the team stress.
A lot of the prioritization of our work comes from our CTO and CEO, but that prioritization of work is not transparent. The general workforce, me included, struggle to keep up with what is important. Often times we run into scenarios where we are working on things that we shouldn't be.
I think the usage of our current tools (Pivotal Tracker, Bitbucket, Google Hangouts) is poor because no one believes in the value of tracking what we do. I have tried being a pest to people about using the tools, but verbal communication seems to be the primary method of assigning, managing, and sorting work. It's hard to adjust resources, and nearly impossible to be aware of what people are working on. If you look at our Pivotal Tracker velocity, we are probably one of the least efficient teams in the world because 50+% of our work never makes it in there. It causes problems with releasing, testing, and code management.
We struggle a lot with Pivotal Tracker because we have a lot of projects that are related, but you can't do any kind of relationship with stories across projects. Most of us work on 6-7 projects at once and Pivotal Tracker becomes a bit of a bottleneck for us. The ones who deal with one project love it, but the people stretched across a few are not doing a good job.
Scrum is very popular and we "try" to do it, but our daily scrums last 35+ minutes and we generally don't have any other kind of meetings or planning activities.
Thanks for sticking with that long winded description.