Agile Software Development Teams – It’s Never Been This Good!!!

By · April 19, 2012 · Filed in Confessions of a Agile Scrum Master
Software Development Team Death March

I’ve been involved with software development for over 30 years.  That’s a lot of projects, roles, deadlines, meetings and team members.  In all that time, there have been some recurring themes.  One of them is the “death march.”

You probably know what I’m talking about – the team members have lost enthusiasm, perhaps they even believe that the project is doomed.  They go through the motions but things are missing – attention to detail, effort, creativity, teamwork. Things are generally trending downwards.

Traditional vs Agile Software Development Teams

I’ve seen lots of efforts to change this – team building exercises, professional development, work environment upgrades – all of which are good.  But it’s been my experience that nothing beats enabling the team by giving them the ability to be self-directing.

In a self-directing team, the team members estimate work effort for tasks and they choose which tasks they will work on.  No one is looking over people’s shoulders or ensuring that they are “being productive”.  There is, however, a highly visible metric on the progress the team is making towards a commitment that they made “as a team.”  I’ll have lots to say about some of the mechanisms that support this in future posts.

Results of Building Agile Software Development Teams

Right now though I’m revelling in the comments of some of the team members on our latest project.  We just completed our latest Sprint – on time.  During the demos, the customers expressed satisfaction and even a little gratitude.  This led some of our people to remark – “You know, it’s never been this good!  I’m looking forward to the next Sprint.”

There’s really no telling what can be accomplished by people who are enthusiastic and committed to a goal.  I’m looking forward to the next Sprint too!!!

Rod Bray

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