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Building Agile Teams


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Brian Watson
Brian is an Agile and Product coach for VersionOne. He has over 16 years of experience providing Project Management, Business Analysis, and Agile coaching on small to enterprise level projects in web and software development, process improvement, communications, healthcare education, marketing, aeronautics, mergers and consolidations, long distance telecom, wireless, distribution, and government industries. Since 2005, Brian has been an Agile transformation coach helping consulting software development factories, insurance, manufacturing, workers compensation, and government agencies achieve the benefits of agile. In his spare time Brian enjoys golfing and craft beer.

Published in: Business, Technology
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  • Nice presentation! A great deal of details, enough to pick up tips for new agile starters. One thing I'm missing is an emphasis on team accountability, without which I don't think a lot can be achieved! Was just seeing this kind of approach in here: - I feel this makes sense. Going agile is only as difficult as we make it for ourselves.
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Building Agile Teams

  1. 1. Building Agile TeamsBrian Watson, PMI-ACP, CSM, PSM1Product and Agile
  2. 2. © 2011 VersionOne 2Team Building
  3. 3. © 2011 VersionOne 3Teams…
  4. 4. © 2011 VersionOne 4Analogy• Growing Agile teams is like learning tofly a plane….
  5. 5. © 2011 VersionOne 5Formal Training – Ground School• You can read a book or take a class to learnthe “major” theoretical elements– Takeoff/landing, Stalls, Weather, etc.• You might even be able to pass a writtentest after class• However, are you ready to fly the plane?
  6. 6. © 2011 VersionOne 6Formal Scrum/Agile Training• Critical foundational element to startingdown the path to agile• Theoretical concepts• Review key ceremonies– “Guard Rails”• Certified Scrum Master (CSM) orProfessional Scrum Master (PSM)
  7. 7. © 2011 VersionOne 7Flight Training• With formal knowledge in hand, the studentmust fly with an instructor• Time in the pilot seat will allow the studentto encounter the numerous situationsformal training cannot cover• There is no substitute for practicalexperience…with a guiding hand• Converts theoretical knowledge into skill
  8. 8. © 2011 VersionOne 8Growing the Team• Accomplished through pairing the majorskills sets (Dev, BA, QA, PM) withexperienced people• Allows the experienced people guide thenew team through how to apply theirtheoretical knowledge• A Transition Coach assists with guiding theentire process– Provide “guard rails” to the process– Product owner, management, other teams
  9. 9. © 2011 VersionOne 9Agile Team SchematicProduct OwnerNew DevExperiencedDevExperiencedSMNew SMExperiencedBANew BAExperiencedQANew QAManagementTransitionCoachFormalTrainingExperiencedUXNew UXPairingPairingPairingPairingPairing
  10. 10. © 2011 VersionOne 10Flying Solo• Once the student’s skill level has caught upto their desire and confidence, they can flysolo• This occurs after many hours of guidancefrom the instructor• Each person will learn something new whenthey fly solo– Reinforcing and existing concept– New situation
  11. 11. © 2011 VersionOne 11Coding (Flying) Solo• Once the team has worked through 3-5sprints, they should be ready to fly solo• This will allow the team to grow their skillsin new situations by applying conceptslearned in training and pairing• Teams will make mistakes in this phase– Mistakes are part of the learning process– Mistakes are OK
  12. 12. © 2011 VersionOne 12Sharing the Passion• Flying solo will allow the knowledge/skill ofthe pilot to exceed their level of desire andpassion for flying• When this occurs, they can begin to sharetheir knowledge with others– The cycle begins anew…
  13. 13. © 2011 VersionOne 13Agile Team ProgressionPre-CSMTrainingPost-CSMTrainingPairing FlyingSoloSharingKnowledgeSkillConfidence/Desire
  14. 14. © 2011 VersionOne 14Sharing• When team members are ready, they can betransferred to a new team to guide and leadtheir transition– Option 1: Remove members of original team– Option 2: Pairing• Set expectations - Velocity on the originalteam will be reduced
  15. 15. © 2011 VersionOne 15Cost/Benefit Analysis
  16. 16. © 2011 VersionOne 16Infection Rates• 10% of a team will infect the other 90%– It is critical that the 10% is positive,knowledgeable and evangelizing agile concepts• When removing resources from a productiveteam to create a new one, you do not wantto remove more than 10%
  17. 17. © 2011 VersionOne 17Management
  18. 18. © 2011 VersionOne 18Management Support• Learning is a process, mistakes will happen• Management needs to transform along with theteamCommand/Control“Approver”Work AssignorCoachMentorRemover ofRoadblocksTransitionBeware the “middle manager conundrum”
  19. 19. © 2011 VersionOne 19Team Spaces• Functional, not fancy– Elbow room for pairing and collaboration– Dual monitors• Stimulate teamwork and communication– Remove walls– Central location for card wall and stand-ups• Do not break the bank
  20. 20. © 2011 VersionOne 20Empowerment• The team should be able to say “no”• Encourage the team to take risks– Within guard rails
  21. 21. © 2011 VersionOne 21Culture• Embrace the new culture• Work to convert pessimists– Lack of understanding– Change• Not everyone is “cut out” for agile
  22. 22. © 2011 VersionOne 22Organization• Think local…act global• Work to limit roadblocks this will cause the teamfrustrations
  23. 23. © 2011 VersionOne 23Continuity• Only a small part of overall team success is“Agile”• Teams form a bond• Teams must be kept together– Tuckman’s “law” is undefeated and untied…
  24. 24. © 2011 VersionOne 24Psychology
  25. 25. © 2011 VersionOne 25Satir Model
  26. 26. © 2011 VersionOne 26
  27. 27. © 2011 VersionOne 27
  28. 28. © 2011 VersionOne 28
  29. 29. © 2011 VersionOne 29Motivation
  30. 30. © 2011 VersionOne 30Wrap-up• Avoid “shock and awe”– Go slow and low…• Set expectations– Mistakes– Not an overnight transformation• Embrace psychological roadblocks of humansAllow the teams to evolve intohigh performing, motivated groups
  31. 31. © 2011 VersionOne 31Questions
  32. 32. Building Agile TeamsBrian Watson, PMI-ACP, CSM, PSM1Product and Agile