Posts Tagged ‘team’

Whose job is it anyway ?

August 23, 2014

Teams those newly started with scrum get into the role dilemma of who should do what. This is pretty common since their roles in earlier way of working probably are clearly defined. In traditional projects, the lines are drawn clearly and people won’t cross those lines. Here are few questions I got in my interactions with new scrum team members:

“A development manager asked me whether he should tell his team that they are going in the wrong direction. He knows that they are going to fail but he was told that there are no managers in scrum teams”

“A Scrum Master asked me that who should update the burndown if he is on vacation. He used be a project manager and used to running around and getting things done. He said, people always dumped all coordination work on him though they could have done it themselves.”

“A team member told me that their last sprint failed because they were waiting on some question to be answered by a different ream and the Scrum master was on unplanned time off who is supposed to follow up with that team.”

This reminds me a story I heard from one of Craig Larman’s talks. This is how it goes:

“You are an American football played and you are standing at 98 yard line with ball lying right in front of you. All you have to do is pick the ball up and carry it 2 yards to get the touchdown. You pulled your business card and looked at it. It says you are a ‘Kicker’. What would you do? You could carry the ball 2 yards and get the points or wait for someone else to do it, since your job description doesn’t include running the ball.”

This is probably why scrum kept very few roles. If you can do something that will help the team succeed, then just do it. It is all about willingness. I have seen developers regularly testing, testers occasionally fixing bugs in code and team members facilitating meetings when scrum master is on vacation.

If you can do something that will help your team succeed, you are INCLUSIVE!


What could we learn from Cricket?

March 26, 2011

I mean, Cricket – the game that is played in most of the major countries of the world.

We had our “Agile Hyderabad” group meeting yesterday. We spent most of the time discussing about testing challenges. Most of the companies those follow agile software development has the problem of developers and testers keep “We and They” attitude.

While I was watching cricket, as we are fully into the World cup fever, it struck me that there are few things we could learn from the cricket teams. A cricket team has “Batsmen” and “Bowlers”. However, if it is required, a bowler (supposedly “none to less” experienced in batting) is expected to make few runs. Same way if the regular bowlers are not making an impact, the captain decides to use any bowling skills of the batsmen. The goal is to win the match and every member of the team strives for it.

The goal of an agile team is to deliver the quality software at the end of the iteration. The team has to figure out who does what, but the goal is to deliver the stories. Some team members would have the specialized skills like programming or testing, but they should be willing to do other activities outside their specialization also. This could be a developer performing some testing or tester fixing bugs or architect writing documentation or what ever. Agile teams need to redefine their roles and develop “We are all in this” attitude.

Moving on to a different topic, when I talk about agile way of developing software, it is big change to lot of people from how they have been building software.  People say  – “ We have been doing it for ages. Why do we do it in different way now?” Do we have to follow something just because we have been following it forever?

Long time ago when I was small, a cricket match always started with a pace bowler starting the bowling session with a new ball. It has been well established for decades that a pace bowler could make a new ball to swing and get some early wickets. To my surprise, a spin bowler started bowling session when India played against Australia in the world cup 2011. The reason why the captain took that strategy is because they don’t have enough good pace bowlers and they have very good spinners. Besides, Australia is not very good at playing spin bowling. Indian team ditched the conventional practices and implemented the practice what goes with the current situation. As a whole the team did a great job and India won the match against the odds.

In the current market conditions, the stakeholders of a software project expect that the time-to-market should be reduced to beat the competition. Organizations want to be adaptive to the market requirements. To achieve today’s market needs, an organization needs to implement the practices those work for the current conditions. Change is hard, but it is inevitable.