When Jeff Sutherland created the Scrum process in 1993, he borrowed the term “Scrum” from an analogy put forth in 1986 study by Takeuchi and Nonaka that is published in the Harvard Business Review. In that study, Takeuchi and Nonaka compared high-performing, cross-functional teams to the Scrum formation used by Rugby teams. In the findings from their study, they drew comparisons between two approaches to Product development. The old, less effective way they refer to is a “Relay Race” approach, where each team member was a specialist and the work progressed sequentially. The athletes in a Relay Race take turns to pass on the baton to the next player in a sequence to win the game. Takeuchi and Nonaka suggest a more effective “Rugby-Style” approach, in which a cross-functional team with self-managed roles work together to create a Product. Rugby requires the team as a whole to work together to win the game as shown below.
Scaling can be thought of using Agile from a few Agile teams to multiple, or even hundreds of Agile development teams. There are some unique challenges that come up whenever you have an organization where more than few Agile teams need to work together in a coordinated fashion. Larger Scrum projects scale by having multiple Scrum teams rather than having one very large Scrum team.
Here is a scenario where there is a single Product Backlog from which the individual team backlogs branch out.
A task board is a powerful information radiator that transparently radiates the Sprint Backlog. It represents a visual depiction of tasks grouped by backlog item. Teams use the task board during the daily Scrum to discuss their day’s plan.
Understanding the nature of organizations and the levels of complexity of decision-making within such organizations is pivotal to address the question – where is Agile used?
The Cynefin Framework is one of the strategic tools which classifies organizational space into four distinct domains. It is essentially a decision framework that recognises the causal differences that exist between different types of systems, proposing new approaches to decision making in complex social environments.
Figure: Cynefin framework
Agile can be viewed as a category, or an umbrella term for frameworks such as Scrum, DSDM, Crystal, XP, FDD help manifest the Agile approach . These frameworks emphasize philosophies of continuous planning, empowered teams, collaboration, emergent design, etc. Most importantly, they emphasize frequent delivery of working software in short and rapid iterations.
Customer Empathy- Studies shows that only about 24% of the features that are developed are actually used and the rest are either never used or rarely used! It is not an exaggeration to say that one of the reasons for this could be that we don’t really understand what the customers want and look forward to.
Have you ever wondered that our actions and outcomes are a reflection of what we are as a person and a how we are controlled by ourselves?
A lot of what we do and how we perform is the self-assessment and the unconscious game play that happens within ourselves. There are two games – the Inner Game and the Outer Game that outplay the way we perform and carry ourselves.
A very important thing to keep in mind is the follow-up on action items that the team identifies in the retrospective. Having some sort of visual indicator of the action items, along with the people responsible for them, always helps the team stay focused. Generally we tend to forget the action items that are derived from the retrospective. So before starting the retrospective, it’s important to revisit the previous retrospective’s action items and see how many of them are still pending.
Sometimes leaving the option open to the team and asking them what they want to talk about can trigger a good discussion. Try asking your team explicitly whether they would like to have a discussion about specific topics and facilitating that conversation, and see what comes up.