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Prakya: A fresh approach to Agile Team Collaboration

July 2, 2021

Introduction

The new version of Prakya website went live on 16th June 2021. To build this new version, we decided to conceptualize and design it using Prakya platform itself. Before the work started, Raghu Konka, CEO and Founder of Prakya, gave me full access to the platform. He gave me a beginner’s tour and asked me to get a first hand exposure of what the adaptive agile team collaboration platform can do.

From 1995 to 2002, I have spent my time developing client server software as a freelancer. Those years left me savvy enough to figure out how a piece of software works. And with all the enthusiasm of a two year old playing with a new toy, I began poking around.

Getting started with agile team collaboration with Prakya

I don’t work in the software industry now. But I am well informed about the agile philosophy and agile methodology. Thanks to my wife, who is a Scrum Master and an agile practitioner. She never misses to give me an update about what went on at work. I knew enough to correlate and figure out a few things about Prakya.

With a few nudges and pointers from Raghu, one thing became quite clear. We could use the collaborative power of Prakya to develop and deliver the content needed for Prakya’s website.

Well, I won’t deny it. At that time I also was itching to get even with my wife. I can now boast about my new agile team and create some fuss around my next important scrum meeting.

But, I had no idea what was about to come!

Using 3EE6ty for Visual Orchestration of the agile project

Right from the word go, 3EE6TY, the visual orchestrator, attracted me. I am a prolific mind mapper and an amateur sketch noter. I love visuals. I knew that I was going to work with a design team which will take care of the website development. All I had to do was write effective content. But, there was a challenge here.

Content (text or other forms) is intricately tied to the design. A key feature of any website is the conversational tone. In the absence of a physical voice, visual emphasis replaces intonation. We can create visual emphasis by formatting the text. The presentation of text can use colors, sizes, contrast and other formatting features.

For example, In a webpage, it’s important to convey the  meaning of the  whole page in a few seconds. We can do this by highlighting a few gist phrases. You cannot miss the emphasis.

This is exactly where 3EE6TY came in handy. The interface was simple to understand and clutter free. I could use the full-screen mode for reducing distractions. It was fast and easy to put together a simple visual presentation with all the emphasis I needed.

Here’s a glimpse of the interface!

Agile Team Collaboration using 3EE6TY

The real magic of 3EE6TY was in the way Prakya allows you to collaborate. I didn’t have to email or separately communicate with the design team about my content. The design team could see the visualizations that I was creating. They could see where I was headed with the content almost in real-time!

As I develop the content, they can prepare design elements and code that supports my content. This fast tracked the project a lot.

Further, If the design team wanted to show me what they intended to do, they could also add elements to show specific design themes. I can then come up with content pieces that fit in with that theme.

In case, we are not going anywhere with this, Prakya’s video conferencing tool is a click away. We can get on the same page with a one-one meeting.

This experience was very powerful. The first thing I did was to develop the ideal user journey on Prakya’s website. I laid it down as a guiding context for the entire team to follow. You can see the same in the image above.

The Drill Down feature of 3EE6ty

After I finished this diagram, I was now looking for a way to keep all relevant content write ups in one place. For example, I wanted to keep all product features in one place. This would make it easy for the design team to access them.

This is where 3EE6TY’s drill down feature came in handy.  You can create a drill down for each diagram element (Shape) on the canvas. This can go on for as many levels as you need.

Creating a drill down is pretty simple. Select the diagram element. Hover over the resizing handle in the left middle of the element. You should see a “+” symbol. Click on it and there you go! A new drawing canvas appears.

The next time you hover over the same handle, you would see an arrow mark ” -> “. Clicking on that will take you to the canvas on which you have captured more details. Also the diagram element with a drill down has a glow around it.

I created drill downs for each element in the user journey. The Product Feature Pages, had all the pages that described different product features. Each page had further drill down which captured the content for that page.

With these abilities, our Web Copy creation strategy became a living, breathing process. Creating and sharing content with the design team was a breeze.

Prakya’s Agile Team Hacks for better Collaboration

Agile Team Hack # 1: Boost agility by removing hurdles aka Email!

The whole point of agility is to remove what slows down the agile team. Many times email is a hassle. I guess people use emails because they are unavoidable.

I never gave it a thought while executing the project, but it came as a revelation to me when Raghu mentioned it. None of us ever exchanged even a single email! This is one of the reasons why I was very happy working with Prakya.

To get this point, you must know how I usually work.

  1. I use Canva for doing content wire-frames.
  2. When it’s time to work with the design team, I convert that into PDF and send them an email.
  3. Then we schedule a meeting through Google Meet / Zoom to run through the document.
  4. I note down all  changes needed from my side.
  5. Then I repeat the whole process till I complete the project.

Sometimes I make a mistake like a spelling error or redo a sentence on second thought. I have to download the new PDF, give it a version code to avoid confusion and send it via email. Sometimes in meetings the older version comes up. We have to wait till the team finds and pulls up the right version for discussion.

But then, since the team hasn’t seen the newer version, I have to explain all the changes I  have made one by one. The meeting drags on and precious hours of my time go away. I was fine as the client pays me for all those hours. Guess what? They think it is unavoidable evil of the system!

The problem is, I don’t like this part of the work! Prakya enabled me to get rid of these annoying aspects of my work. What more can I expect?

Agile Team Hack # 2: Agile teams focus on doing what they are good at doing!

The second benefit that I got out of using Prakya was Focus. I have already mentioned that you can use 3EE6TY in full screen mode. This makes it distraction free. Also, I am not sending any emails or having long meetings. The design team and I had set into our routines. We knew what each one was up to. The sync was easy.

I could now concentrate on what I do best. Word play. I did research, write words, use text analytics tools to figure out if the approach made sense. All of this made me more productive and happy at the same time.

You know, you can find tons of articles out there expounding the benefits of doing more of what you like. Prakya is the only tool that makes that dream come true.

Agile Team Hack # 3: Agile teams that bring their best to the table are productive and happy

My agile team had members in California and Kolkata. I was in Bangalore. We had our own productive time slots. Yet, our collaboration was smooth and easy.

I was enjoying  the work of the design team and seeing how talented they are. This  motivated me to align more with them and create content that made best  use of their design skill. Likewise, the design evolved unique and meaningful content presentation ideas. This made my content stand out and perform.

This environment made work enjoyable. Productivity and happiness were never in such a fulfilled relationship ever!

Why Agile Team Collaboration Platforms like Prakya are important

Do you want your strategy to turn into a living, breathing document? Do you want to create a happy team that gels well and works together? Do you want to bring the best out of your people? You must try Prakya.

I  have used so many project management tools. Some are great to-do lists. Some are sophisticated spreadsheets. Others are “more than” work trackers. All promised to make my life simple. They did help me keep track of my work, no doubt. But they never gave me the joy of working that Prakya did.

The reason for this is simple. Prakya is the closest software that embraces the Agile philosophy in it’s totality. It puts people in front of processes. It allows strategy to guide projects  and programs. It creates happy and productive teams that collaborate to bring the best out of each other.

If you play an active role in an agile team, you will find Prakya to be your best friend.

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