In Agile and Scrum, our first responsibility is to deliver the customer working solutions that they can use. Not being colocated means that we have to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the team’s communication. Increasing the team’s communication can be done with JIRA, meetings, or some other device, but you must create processes or additional ceremonies that the team now needs to follow. Adding these additional processes makes the effort more complex rather than simple. However, if these new processes are sustainable, then everything can still work, and the team can continue to deliver working software.
In my opinion, the indispensable tenets are self-organization (Agile), transparency (Scrum), inspection (Scrum), and adaptation (Scrum).
A team can be colocated, but if it is not self-organized, it cannot create working software. A dispersed team can indeed deliver working software, but to do so the team must be able to understand the common goal. Each member has to participate in the success of the project. Having one person on a team not working with the rest of the team is like having a broken link in a chain.
A self-organized team will develop and implement processes to correct issues (such as poor communication), establish best practices in software development, and develop processes to deliver early and often.
From processes to communication, transparency provides visibility to and for the development team, product owner, and ScrumMaster, so that everyone has the same understanding. Without transparency in communication, team members would not be able to understand each other. Without transparency, story points would be as effective as relating hour estimates among teammates. Transparency provides standards across every aspect of the team’s interactions.
To improve processes, communication, and practices, and to also identify the needs of the client, there has to be constant review and inspection of the Scrum Team. What didn’t work last time and what can we do to fix that? What worked last time and what can we do to improve on it? Without inspection, your team cannot successfully improve from one sprint to another.
Once the team has inspected itself, it must improve. The self-organizing team has to put into place new processes or practices, new forms of communication, update user stories, groom user stories, or remove user stories.
Without one of these four pillars, I believe all else will fail. Many of the other Agile principles are either a result of these four pillars or are too subjective to enforce.
Going back to our working team, it’s worth asking: What is simplicity? It’s providing a solution between 1 and 20, which is simpler than a solution between 1 and 100 but not as simple as a solution between 1 and 3. What is sustainability? It’s something that the team can perform consistently. Having a person perform full regression testing after each integration may not be sustainable. A self-organizing team acting with transparency would inspect this process and adapt by adding continuous integration on code check-in and regression software to make the effort more sustainable, which entails the team delivering often and early.
#Agile #Scrum #SelfOrganization #Transparency #Inspection #Adaptation