I’ve often thought about my teams and the lack of concern they have when not meeting their sprint commitments resulting in carry over work to the next sprint or release. Is it because I have not explained the word “commitment” and what it truly means? Is it because of the lack of urgency when not releasing after every sprint or two and waiting three months between releases? Is it because the benefits of meeting commitments and demonstrating consistent predictability have not been explained or felt? It may be because of all of these reasons.
Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like to wait. I, like many others, want (or expect) instant results. Whether it is getting that grade back the day after I turn in the assignment, getting an email response within an hour, getting an IM or text back within the minute, I’m impatient! Yes, patience is a virtue, but in some situations we can’t afford to wait. Can impatience be a virtue as well?
So an interesting topic came up in a retrospective last week, one that has come up on past teams as well and I’m still unsure as to the best answer for it. Example: team members get hit up for a production question or something else that isn’t a story in the backlog and spend a decent chunk of time working on it. This interferes with their other work and maybe they don’t get as much done as they committed to because of said question. Now they want to account for those types of things with a special “prod question” or other story in the backlog so they can account for that time and track back to it. What’s wrong with this picture?
On a project I was ScrumMastering for I noticed much contention between many of the different roles on the team. In keeping true to Agile and Scrum we are supposed to be “cross-functional” but what does that really mean? I kept hearing “they’re not doing their job” and “that’s not MY job” in regard to requirements gathering, writing stories, and even bug fixes. There have been many pieces written on the roles of members of a Scrum team as well as many things written on cross-functionality of members, but what does that really mean and where do we draw the line to keep people accountable?
If you’ve been following my blog and writings you maybe know a bit about my work with User Experience and what I call the UX Runway – UX working an iteration or two ahead of technology to make designs which technology teams can then develop to. One of my co-workers, James Schmittler has written a great piece about what actually happens each day of a two week iteration from the UX perspective during the UX Runway. It gives a great insight into how a typical iteration looks in UX land and some key places where PO and technology integration is needed. It mirrors well with my project management/ScrumMaster perspective on the UX iteration and I’m excited to share it here: