Author: S Vasudev

Team norms, working agreement – Scaled…

Agile Scrum teams that I have interacted with have their team norms or working agreements in place. This is in place either at the start, or within a few sprints. Typically, it starts with an attempt to address some aspect of collaboration within the team. The team gets together and works out an approach by consensus and documents them as team norms or the working agreement. It helps for the coach to nudge them to put these up as the team norms. Many of the teams that I have coached, initiate this for the Daily Scrum or the daily stand up, when there...

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CHOW #57– Help Shweta improve team collaboration

Shweta has taken up the role of the Scrum Master with the Wise-Eagles team. The team has one BA, three developers and two QA. The BA and developers are based in Bangalore and so is the SM, QA is based out of Hyderabad. The PO is in Ireland. The team had been practicing Agile for about six months with two week sprints, when Shweta took over as SM to fill in for the SM who had moved on. Shweta finds that the team is pretty mature and have internalized many of the principles of Agile. Her fourth sprint as a SM is coming to a close and she can for-see the repeat of the challenges that surfaced in the last sprint. In last sprint there has been a challenge on completing few of the stories, they are not able to meet the “Done” criteria as few tests fail and either the code has to be updated or the test case changed. In the last retrospective it was identified that the team members interaction with the PO had increased and so had different interpretations by different team members. The Dev and QA being in different locations added to this. The team members did try to keep all involved members in the loop, but few things were missed out. Another reason was that the nature of the work had changed and the current mix of stories were...

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Fungible Scrum Team Members

I have often come across this question, especially from folks in organizations that have started adopting agile and have made some progress. Should each Scrum team member develop/possess all the skills required for the project? When hiring new team members should we focus on getting people who possess such skills? Scrum team members are a mix of Business Analyst, Developers and Testers, often with specialization within. The Developers in this context are the people who write code and unit test it, in Scrum parlance all the team members are referred to as Developers, so calling it out. Fungible My...

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CHOW #45- Challenge in doing Agile maturity assessment for a third time around

You are an Agile coach for a few teams and have done the initial Agile Maturity Assessments in the month of August 2016. It was well received, the energy levels of the team at the end of the meeting, was high and there was a buzz to focus on areas that they felt that they can do better. The second assessment was done in the month of November 2016. The team participated enthusiastically, they were eager to look at their progress, happy to see where they were and worked out the actions needed to continue their progress. Some of...

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CHOW #33- Backlog refinement in distributed teams

You are Sangeetha, the delivery manager for a product. There are three scrum teams working for the product located in Bangalore, Dublin (Ireland) and Salt Lake City (US), with the PO located in Salt Lake City. The recent retrospective has surfaced this issue, which has come to you for resolution: The initial backlog refinement is done between the PO, Scrum Masters and few senior members of the team. So the team input is “As per Agile practice all of the team should participate in the backlog refinement. Due to lack of this we are unable to give an accurate forecast for the iteration.” Given the time difference between locations getting a large enough common/overlapping time slot is difficult. The total number of people involved, which is close to 25, will make it difficult to manage the backlog refinement session. You approach your Agile coach, Guru, for a solution. Guru responds “I will give you a solution, but would like you to work on it, as I think you can resolve this on your own. Just dwell on the purpose of the ceremony and its desired outcome.” Can you solve this one?   Suggested solution: Sangeetha was able to resolve this by arranging for an additional meeting wherein the each team would be briefed on the discussions that took place in the initial refinement session. She also invited one team...

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