Author: S Vasudev

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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CHOW #8– Updating the burn down

You could be a Scrum Master or a Team Member in a Scrum team. Everything is going well, except that the work remaining is not getting updated in the tool you are using. The team members forget to update, delay the updates. As a result though you learn a lot on what progress was made the previous day towards accomplishing sprint goals, you are unable to figure how the team is doing overall. What could be done to improve this situation?   Suggested solution: Solutions tried out in different situations: Bring up the burn down chart at the start of the daily scrum, it works like a charm. The team members who have not updated their progress and work remaining will add “missed updating, will do right after the daily scrum”. The moment this data is made use of by the team, the need to keep it updated automatically syncs in. One team arrived at a unique mechanism, added a fourth question “Whether I have updated my progress and remaining hours?” This was suggested by a team member fresh out of college, I was skeptical, but thought why not give it a shot. This too works, tried in many teams. The beauty is that the fourth question is a transient one, in the sense that it gets dropped after a while, as it becomes redundant. This is done by...

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CHOW #6– Dealing with multiple stakeholders

You are a manager for a team that is working on a Product. Your fairly large team, is responsible for: adding features providing fixes to existing issues working on a new architecture You have to deal with three different stakeholders for these three initiatives and send them updates on a weekly basis. You find that you are lagging behind on the new architecture initiative. You decide to dedicate two half days of the week, of the entire team for working on this. Things are going well, but off late you notice that the two stakeholders responsible for the support and enhancing the features are acting strangely. They seem to want more frequent updates, insinuate that you are neglecting their needs, escalate trivial issues to your Director. You learn that, a junior team member inadvertently shared with the stakeholder who is responsible for support, his work on the  new architecture as a reason for not starting work on a critical fix. There was however no breach in the SLA for the  bug fix time. It was completed within the agreed norm. Now you know a possible trigger, how would you deal with it?   Suggested solution:   The trigger was an inadvertent communication of your internal workings of the team causing one of the stakeholders to suspect that his work is given lesser focus. Quite possibly he has shared that with another...

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Common areas of Development for Project Managers

When we started on the journey of PM Competency Development using our ProMentor Framework, one of the inputs was the assessment of the individual. This was done based on formal inputs from their managers, using custom in-house instruments; as well as a self assessment. The self assessment would include a one-on-one interaction where we could co-relate it with the formal inputs and help the individual arrive at the areas of development. These development areas would span the hard and the soft aspects of the project management. There would be three to four coaches working with a batch of 20-25...

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