04 Jan 2018
When forming a team there is often a range of views and experiences that are held by the people in the team, and the stakeholders around them. The range of experiences and understanding of terms can affect the team building a common understanding. Having agreed keywords and phrases consistently used should reduce the confusion when discussing the what and the how of the work to be done.
Agile is an outlook that embraces an iterative and incremental approach to solving complex problems. The focus is to maximise the value delivered while managing risk.
There are three pillars of Empirical Process control. The essence is to implement feedback loops as early as possible to focus on delivering real value to the customer.
There is a common understanding of what needs to be done and how it will be done. There should be few surprises as there is regular communication between people. Data is shared to those who need it, and in a easily consumable way that makes sense.
What and how work is being completed is regularly reviewed. There is a culture of learning in order to improve. The work output (increment in Scrum terms, product in other frameworks) is shared to gain feedback. The quality of the work is also discussed. Metrics around work and quality are shared freely. How the team is working is also discussed to enhance the interactions as a team, so that collectively they will be more effective.
The team make small changes to improve effectiveness. By making small frequent changes the team continuously improve, refining the process and enhancing the product quality.
The Agile Manifesto set a clear direction for the way of working. The core word in the manifesto is “over”, and highlights that there needs to be an emphasis on the topics on the left, while ensuring that the topics on the right are followed.
This was detailed further with the 12 principles, that highlight the intent of self-organising, self-managing teams building something that works and getting feedback from the customer.
There are five core values highlighted in the Scrum framework
These five values provide the grease in the cogs of teamwork. By using these values as guide to the interactions with others, the interactions will be more productive. No value is more important than another, and there needs to be balance, as too much of one value drives imbalance. For example: too much respect will mean that people are not as open as they should be.
The following two articles explore applying empiricism and the Scrum values within the team dynamic.
Using the Scrum Values: https://guntherverheyen.com/2013/05/03/theres-value-in-the-scrum-values/
There are 3 major frameworks in Agile: Scrum, XP, and Kanban. Scrum and XP have a clear guide, while Kanban has a set of principles. The links below detail the frameworks.
When starting out, it is recommended that you choose one framework to start with, get that working properly and grow from there.
Scrum Guide: https://www.scrumguides.org
eXtreme Programming (XP): http://www.extremeprogramming.org/
Extreme Programming explained: https://ronjeffries.com/xprog/what-is-extreme-programming/
Kanban primer: http://www.everydaykanban.com/what-is-kanban/
Scrum and XP from the trenches: https://www.infoq.com/minibooks/scrum-xp-from-the-trenches-2
Priming Kanban: https://www.infoq.com/minibooks/priming-kanban-jesper-boeg
Product Owner overview: https://youtu.be/502ILHjX9EE
Roles (now called accountabilites) in Scrum: https://youtu.be/0_qbsJUGsfQ
Scrum in an hour: https://youtu.be/GR9-8lOUhwA
Scrum Guide Updates 2017: https://youtu.be/WVSQkU5VaC8
There are a host of product and engineering practices commonly used by teams working in an Agile way. The tube map approach helps put the practice in context of the usage.
A list of reference articles and blogs is here: https://www.advancedproductdelivery.com/assessment-resources/
Story Mapping: http://jpattonassociates.com/user-story-mapping/
Scrum Glossary: https://www.scrum.org/scrum-glossary
Professional Scrum Developer Glossary: https://www.scrum.org/resources/professional-scrum-developer-glossary
Scrum.org offers free basic level assessments, which you can repeat to build your confidence in your understanding.
As a team, you need to figure out and agree where you are, and which framework that you want to use.
Generally, there needs to be a clear understanding of:
If you are working already, choose one small thing that you can change that you think will help improve.
APD will help improve the way you build products in an iterative and incremental way. Get in touch today for a free 30 minute consultation.