Value over Process: Contextual Agility at Bluebeam

Mandy Simpson Coaching, Coaching Page News, DevJam News, News

Bluebeam is a rapidly growing Pasadena-based software company constantly looking to improve. The leaders at Bluebeam understand that while their teams are doing well with the mechanics of iterative development, their recent growth has led to challenges that lie outside the iterative delivery cadence.

Jason Cepeda, Orientation Program Manager, was tasked with finding a partner to help Bluebeam take the next leap forward. “I was tasked with finding a company to come in and work with our dev teams. Looking at [DevJam’s] website and watching the videos, you could tell right out of the gate that this experience was going to be significantly different than most companies providing scrum/agile training,” Cepeda said. “We felt like DevJam really understood where we were coming from. They knew the pain points, and most importantly they knew what it’s like to be an engineer.”

DevJam recommended starting with an assessment before jumping to courses. The goal of the assessment is to take an inventory of where teams are at, what’s working well today, and what opportunities exist for learning. This process is meant not as an evaluation but more of a jumping off point for collaborating on a coaching and learning plan.

“In order to truly understand the unique needs of our dev team, [DevJam] wanted to setup an assessment. We were onboard,” Cepeda explained. “In order to do this training, we wanted to do it right and to make sure it was relevant to the entire organization.”

DevJam assessments are concise and normally take place over one or two days. For Bluebeam, it consisted of an overview session with the leadership team, discussions with product teams and individuals in key roles, and a readout conversation.

“We got the entire dev leadership team in the same room on relatively short notice and that speaks to the excitement [around the assessment],” Cepeda said. “We knew what we needed to focus on and where we needed to improve to keep up with the fast pace of development.”

During the interviews, teams spoke of successes, challenges, and the constraints that exist in their world.

“DevJam actually listened to what we had to say. They didn’t just take notes, but chimed in, shared experiences, and could totally relate,” Cepeda said. “The fact that DevJam made quite a few fans in a short period of time says a lot. That was a big deal.”

The assessment ended with another conversation with the leadership group. Here the DevJam coach shared the results of the assessment, proposed a coaching and learning plan, and facilitated a collaborative discussion about next steps. The coaching plan included product discovery workshops, product planning, and introducing/augmenting technical agility within legacy codebases.

“When DevJam started sharing the data with the team at the end of the assessment, everybody was pleased with the results. Their suggestions directly targeted the challenges we identified,” Cepeda said. “It was comforting when our DevJam coach said ‘we can do this together,’ versus saying ‘we can do it for you and everything will be fine.’ This was genuinely a collaborative effort between DevJam and Bluebeam, and this is exactly what we wanted.”

Today, Bluebeam is in the midst of working its coaching and learning plan, offering Adopting and Adapting Agility and Responsive Engineering courses to members of its R&D team. DevJam coaches are also working with teams and individuals helping them cement the new technical and product discovery skills learned during the courses.