Between these presentations and my daily coaching practice, I am reminded yet again at the importance of forming a good scrum team. This, along with proper backlog compilation and maintenance, can make the difference between success and endless frustration. In my experience, proper scrum team formation is the area where companies who are unsuccessful in Agile transformations fail most often.
Scrum teams that work are small, co-located, dedicated, stable and cross-functional. These elements are essential in working in the complex world of software development. Recently, I stumbled across another reason that may explain the gains found on proper scrum teams – friendships.
This particular problem manifests when a company desires the potential benefits of Scrum without really understanding Scrum. Without a good understanding, people attempt to map their existing roles with those of Scrum. Let me make one thing perfectly clear. The role of Scrum Master is unique to Scrum and any attempt to map it to existing roles will only result in confusion, frustration and less than optimal outcomes.
I expect that coding interviews will be with us for some time to come, but at least I can look forward to the day when I write the blog “Company X abolishes the coding interview (and Admits Earth is Round).”
“Zombie stories” are a great indicator of team maturity, the origin of which is mostly related to either stories that are too large, poorly written and poorly refined or teams that are pressured to plan more in a sprint than is possible or are victims of “false” dependencies.
What is the high cost of “low cost” software development? This is the tendency for people involved with financial decisions regarding software development to put too great an emphasis on the cost of software developers.
One of the reasons I have proposed the concept of CAO (Chief Agile Officer) is for situations such as these where someone at the top level of the organization can arbitrate using the entire organizational as a lens to determine best courses of action. It sounds like you are both on the same organizational level so it would help to appeal to a higher management level in instances where two of the same level cannot come to a satisfactory conclusion.
When I talk to people about good Agile teams, especially good scrum teams, I talk about five attributes – size, co-location, dedication, stability and cross functionality.
Once upon a time I coached one of the most amazing agile scrum teams. They were able to deliver things that their management found quite unbelievable so much so that they conveyed a meeting to find answers to why this particular group of people were able to so greatly outperform others in the organization. As an aside I was not originally invited to the meeting but the team lobbies for me to be there as they considered me one of the team and, as a team member, partially responsible for their success.
The impetus for the gang of four was the desire of four agilists (coaches) to try to do the right things with regards to implementing agile and scrum – to do things that were generally acknowledged as good agile practices but things that were not necessarily politically palatable. In other words, we were something of a clandestine organization.