Sunday, January 10, 2016

Today's Agile WTF?

Ok, so I've noted that as your organization moves to an Agile development methodology, it will face many hazards.

Today's example - managerial misunderstanding of Agile teams

At The Job, we have a number of offshore development groups, and a few domestic groups.  Due to the skill mix needed, we've split into a number of scrum teams that consist of developers on both sides of the ocean.  Note that this is already contrary to the spirit of Agile, which strongly recommends a team be located in one location, but it's a common reality in many organizations, where the skills are not equally distributed.

Where we see the real WTF moment is when the offshore management decided that the scrum team split did not work with their existing managerial tree, and they peopled the scrum teams with partial developers: people who are allocated part-time to multiple teams, so that no manager 'loses' people to scrum teams.  This leads to problems because a given developer can be unavailable to a team if another team has a problem that runs long and the priorities favor the other team.  Which translates to a problem in one scrum team bleeds into 1 or more other teams.

Now, there are times when a specialist is needed only some of the time for various teams; DBAs are commonly like this; once the DB is in place, the DBA is only needed for a short time for new tables or indices.

But this is full-time, 10s of developers split among 2, 3, or more teams, leading to cascading delays.

So heed this warning!  Let your devs work on one team!

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