Ep. 78 – Squirrels (Team Practices)

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Released Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Hosts: Jason Tice, Natalie Simonsen, Matt Korwel, Lee McCauley and Craig Buchek

Discussion

Episode 78 began with our 5 ThisAgileLife hosts (Lee, Craig, Natalie, Matt & Jason) playing a round-robin game to each share something they see people adopting agile doing that we believe could be improved – this is a game you could play with your team at your next retrospective.  The following ideas (all awesome podcast topics) were shared:

  • People trying to adopt too many practices at once (we called this the agile buffet)
  • Teams not having a good understanding of the project / product vision
  • Nobody on their team believing in the Prime Directive for Retrospectives
  • Struggling to maintain a good balance between individuals & interactions vs. processes & tools
  • Using change management vs. change leadership to adopt agile methods

Again these were all awesome ideas to discuss – the 5 hosts voted quickly to discuss the “agile buffet” problem shared by Lee.

We determined that sometimes teams adopt practices not knowing fully why to consider them and what specific value / benefit they provide to the team.  Teams can also fall victim to adopting multiple practices that ultimately support the same outcome which can slow things down.

In the middle of discussion about adopting practices, we briefly highlighted (and of course debated) the pros/cons of waiting to discuss challenges at a scheduled team retrospective vs. an on-demand improvement session (like a turn-around meeting).

Back on the agile buffet topic, we shared some ideas to help teams understand how best to measure improvements that are provided by adopting specific practices, and also provided some insights on what to do if management shows up with a nice “big picture” (since we know there are a few of those floating around out there) and asks that teams adopt all the practices in the big picture at the same time.

Lee concluded our discussion (since he shared the “agile buffet” idea in our initial round robin) challenging everyone to ask “why” specific practices are being used or considered, to conduct experiments to see which practices work best for your team, to ensure you know how measure any practices adopted are providing sufficient value, and that everyone out there can have this discussion on all this in their next team retrospective.

Picks

Lee

Craig

Natalie

Matt

Jason

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