Tribes – Our Scrum Team

tribes and warcraft
Our Team Has Many Different Players!

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to lead a software development team for a good amount of time, you get to know them. They become not only just co-workers, but also friends, and even people that you may invite over for a BBQ at your house. Or, maybe thats just how I am.

Over time I’ve begun to see the Agile Team like a tribe: A self-organizing unit that organizes work and tasks amongst themselves. They have accountability, team work, and individual responsibility all wrapped together. With the right culture (a culture of empowerment), this team can feel enabled to look at their responsibilities as more than just a defined role on paper.

I would encourage any leader of a team, and even an Agile coach to look at their team this way. The way of enablement and support. Allowing team members to not only just be a cog-in-a-wheel, but allow them a solid voice to what happens in development.

When I enter into a client site I often sit down with a team and tell them that I see them as a tribe. I see them as a working unit and each person will (given the right circumstances) have autonomy, control over how they work, and purpose, aligning individuals aspirations with not only company $ goals, but personal growth potential.

This allows each team member to draw from their own experiences, motivations, and passions and can give more than just development time to a project. To elicit more from a team requires a great leader, someone who can lead the charge and provide the right environment for all tribe members to do their very best.

Rejection = Growth

rejectedSometimes rejection can come quickly. But I would always say that it’s better to know where you stand early than wait through it.

I received, after only a couple days of submitting my book proposal to some publishers a rejection response:

Dear Mr. Saddington,

“Thanks again for your query letter, proposal, and a sample manuscript for your book. While your proposed book takes a different approach to this subject, it’s not a subject we’ve contemplated a book on nor is there sufficient enthusiasm here for a this type of manuscript due to the cost involved while having to maintain a low list price. I wish you the best of luck in finding a good home for your project.”

Hey, I’m glad I at least received a response back! What is nice to know is that they did read my proposal and that they have rejected my proposal based on a $ ROI. This helps me understand better the reasons. Hey, sometimes you never get reasons.

This will be a growing time for me as I try to break into the publishing world. I know that I’ll grow a lot through the (soon to come) rejections and possible conversations I’ll have with some publishers.

Maybe someone will be interested enough to pick up my project!

Image Source [Humanology]

Stage 1 – Getting Published

Book Publishing
Image from PMI.org

I’ve now begun the process of “getting published.”

This was never a personal goal for me. It was really something that kind of just happened.

As a consultant for companies that want to move to a more ‘agile’ software development approach, it seemed logical (as a value-add to my client) to write weekly “Agile Update Newsletters” to the development team on best practices, tips and tricks, as well as frequent reminders of why we are transforming and doing what we’re doing.

“Hey, we’re going Agile, right?”

In time, I had an over-whelming amount of content. One of my clients told me one day that all the letters that I’ve been writing could amount to a book.

The gears in my head began to churn.

As of this past month or so I’ve finished up my book on Scrum. Not quite sure of the title yet, but have finished the arduous process of creating a book proposal and sending it out to a couple publishers.

I received one response back that looked like this:

This is an automatic response to let you know we have received your
proposal, book idea, question, or suggestion. Please do not respond to this
email.
If you have sent us a book proposal, we will review it and try to give you
an answer within two to three weeks after the date we received it.

Well, I guess the journey begins with an automated response back. Wish me luck!

Product Management Alignment Team

agile team product managementCurrently one of the biggest issues that have come about during my short tenure at this new client is the fact that they have not been able to align their business priorities and strategies.

Hey, we only have one core development team right? … Nope. We have many IT teams, and the interdependencies as well as connections to different working systems create a headache of a time to align.

Well in the perfect world of Scrum there tends to be a many to one relationship that exists. Many product owners and one development team. But in many big companies there are multiple stakeholders and multiple development teams that have to play “nice” together. How do we co-exist and still push out quality products on time?

A Product Management Alignment Team is the way to go. This team is made up of all the different players from different business units and discuss and strategize how a product can be deployed with all the interdependencies and nuances that accompany it.

It has been my experience that having an overarching team like this allows alignment to happen when complex products need to get to market and the changes hit many different systems and teams.

Get your team together and align the business.