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4 years ago

How we work: the insider’s look

Today we want to unveil some rare behind-the-scenes. We believe this will help you understand our values better!

Daily Meetings

We run daily meetings at 11:00 am. Usually it takes no more than 15*pi minutes for 15 people. We found out that for most people 3.14 minutes is the preferable timeframe to share plans for today.

The current work in progress is shown on a large TV screen:

Daily Meeting

People with the lowest individual velocity are assigned to the  most complex bugs. We’ve found out that this practice increases development speed. Obviously, no one wants to fix complex bugs, so they work harder to avoid that.

Work Prioritization and Estimation

We used to hold boring and long prioritization meetings years ago. Now it appears that the statistical representation of priorities proves to be much more efficient than prioritization by a human. We’ve implemented an extremely sophisticated prioritization algorithm based on Bayesian probabilities and Gödel theorem that works surprisingly good.

The UI is as simple as it can be. All the complexity surfaces to a single button the Product Owner clicks before a Release Planning meeting. Then we just discuss user stories.

Automatic Prioritization

We tend to think that the Product Owner role can be completely eliminated from the team. The statistical data shows that there’s almost no dependency between the quality of prioritization and the person who clicks on the button.

The Automatic Estimation algorithm is on the way. We’ve already nailed down its basic concept and will provide the automatic estimation soon. It will save everybody so much time!

Fun Assignments

The usual work assignments are boring. We’re always looking to bring more fun into work. Now every developer has an easy option to get interesting assignments:

Regression Tests Functional Master

We have a special “Regression Tests Functional Master” role. The role is rotating, and every day someone else is responsible for the functional tests. It’s very effective to have someone with no bad memories of the previously failed tests as the RTFM. This person is very busy improving the green tests and commenting the red tests. It takes just a fraction of time to improve the tests and make them more stable.

A special token cat shows who is in the RTFM role today. The cat sits on the table near the RTFM developer and smiles all day long.

During the daily meeting the cat is passed from one developer to another. It’s mostly purring but occasionally gives a scratch or two.

Typical workplace

We believe in bootstrapping. That’w why we hire people that share our vision. A truly lean office is our dream, and we do everything to maintain a highly Stoic environment. That’s how a typical workplace looks in our office:

Workplace 2


We value education and enforce it as much as we can.  A pile of books that you see on the right –  Sergey read all those books last week. The pile on the left are the books he is supposed to read this month. On average, every developer at TargetProcess reads about 100 books per year.


It’s our sincere hope that by adopting some of these practices you’ll be able to increase the productivity of your team.

  • Zerdesht

    Rofl! Lovely :)

  • Andrew Matlock

    Is that Microsoft project on the screen?

  • Michael Dubakov

    @7734385686b495d3f423c688c05c4d74:disqus Looks like it really is!

  • Phil Hazelton

    But if you were to assign the RTFM role using the Schrödinger method (each developer receives a sealed box which may, or may not, contain the token cat) your tests could be simultaneously improved by both everyone and no-one…

  • Michael Dubakov

    @google-7225341a827886df3c90f9d6478ce776:disqus Hmm… That sounds like a very interesting idea. We can use some nice features from quantum mechanics indeed. Thanks for the advice!

  • Lyndsay Prewer

    I’d like to vote up the prioritization lottery button! Surely, a must-have feature for TP. Does the button also switch priorities mid-way through item implementation? Fantastic article – thanks!

  • Michael Dubakov

    @google-ef46fd83dc856252d936bd4744a7bacd:disqus I’d say we are willing to make TargetProcess more random. Sometimes stories will jump from one project to another, developers switch tasks, bugs convert to user stories. No more boring predictability! We will operate on the edge of chaos.

  • Kristina Wood

    The use of RTFM is quite lovely!

  • Cornelius Bolten

    haha (hope it’s just there for making jokes about it………)

  • Michael Dubakov

    @google-dbbc13726db1516ebcea51a9151e51a9:disqus Nope, we use MS project intensively to make long-term plans. All tasks are nailed down upfront and we do leveling, track critical path and so on.

  • Chris Edwards

    That is by far the most efficient way to pass the cat from one team member to the next. 

  • Steve

     took me until the very end to realize this was posted on April 1st…

  • Luke W

    We couldn’t believe the shift when we too moved to Pi minutes. Cat efficiency increased by a purrtrabyte immediately. 
    You got me too, now that april fools has flown past, was just about to start researching Pi minutes …

    Thanks for the laughs. 

    Luke W

  • Web Designing Bangalore

    This is wonderful.

  • Java Developer

    Nice to see you guys have fun working, I miss my last company where we had a similar environment for work. BTW the cat got a really nice shot on the table :)

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