Ep. 74 – Perfect Rundown

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Released Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Hosts: Jason Tice, Nate McKie and Lee McCauley

Discussion

Note: Episode 74 was interrupted just after it got started by Lee’s “changing his headphone jack” experiment – you may hear a bit of line-noise (sounds like a jet engine) but we then quickly resolved it and resumed the episode – thanks for your patience

Two questions frequently asked on agile teams submitted by two of our great listeners:

  • How to get people to only do work that is on the work board? (Submitted by Dawn V)
  • Ensure all team members are allowed to add cards to the board, including splitting stories if so desired.
  • Find out why people aren’t spending all their time working on the board – are they having to support another system / team?
  • If a team feels they can’t put technical debt work up on the board, discuss and create working agreements allowing the team to do so and ensure technical debt stories also prioritized with user stories for the business.
  • It’s important to stay focused on the board as it drives the “system” of the team – the board helps to determine metrics used to establish goals and these metrics become less accurate if they don’t encompass all of the team’s work – if a team works off the board then you don’t know what the true capacity of the team is.
  • Use the board to encourage the whole team approach – do something visual to encourage all teams members to support cards in all states as they are pulled across the board.
  • MobProgramming is an alternative approach which could help Dawn out – in Mobbing everyone works together on a single workstation with a single screen.

What can managers do to help out an agile team (Submitted by Ryan R)

  • Managers can serve the team by working with the team to determine the boundary of the team’s self organization – once this boundary is defined, managers allow the team to self-organize within bounds.
  • Likewise, managers listen for ways they can support the team when asked by the team, and they also work to avoid and eliminate impediments outside of the team’s boundary of self-organization.
  • If you’re a manager of a team, consider asking the teams you support / manage to write “Job Stories” for you – what job are they hiring/asking you to do for them – then you can prioritize those job stories and work on them to provide value / support to the team.
  • A key responsibility of a manager / leader is to create a “safe” environment for the team to work in – this includes clearly defining who is on/off the team, what other teams/function support the team, and have a feedback system to engage properly with the team to provide assistance proactively.

Picks

Lee

    • Screenhero, a great screen sharing application specifically designed for pair programming. Now part of Slack.

Jason

    • Management 3.0 by Jurgen Apello – a great book for management and executive support of agile teams
    • The idea of “Jobs to be Done” and “Job Stories” – compliments of Dr. Clayton Christensen – check out a video about a milkshake that serves as the motivation for job stories
    • MileHileAgile 2015 – Come get “High” with TheAgileFactor in Denver on April 3, 2015 as we talk more about how to improve performance reviews to align to Agile Values using Visual Collaboration Games
    • ThisAgileLife Lightning Talks – Join your favorite ThisAgileLife hosts on a future episode as each present a Lightning Talk – www.thisagilelife.com

Nate

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