A More Prescriptive: Startup Toolbox

If you've been following us on the Meta-Cast recently, we've been defining a set of tools for a "just starting out" agile team. Here are the driving goals or requirements we're using when bringing things into the discussion (or toolbox):

  • Shu based teams; beginning teams
  • Driving performance quickly; mature agile behaviors AND results
  • A bit prescriptive
  • It’s OUR toolbox; so we want feedback, but not “consensus”
  • To literally provide paper examples, templates, words, etc. as part of the tool-box

I want to amplify the prescriptive part just a bit more. What Josh and I have found, is that many new teams are given a "free reign" on that practices they take on, don't take on, and how they approach them. The driver for this is honest and good--the organization is trying to create agile, self-directed teams.

And that would be wonderful if the teams knew what they were doing. I.e., had some experience and agile maturity. But clearly they don't. So that's where we come in. 

We might be about half the way through our discussions on this topic. Once we get through the practice debates, we'll be wrapping up the toolbox in some usable form.

I wanted to share an important item that is inspiring at least my thinking in this. Scott Downey is/was an agile coach at MySpace around 2008-2009. He published a paper and presented it at the agile conference talking about taking a very "prescriptive approach" with new agile teams. I'm paraphrasing here, but he would give them a very set number of practices and insist that they startup using them as-is. With no modification--trusting his experience as a coach. What he noticed or realized was that their ramp-up to high performance was typically much faster than other teams. Once they gained experienced, he would loosen the restrictions.

I think that focus or intent is exactly what we're trying to do with the toolbox. More background on Scott's work here.

Stay agile my friends,
Bob.

2 comments:

  1. I really like the justification tactic for one week sprints in that article...

    "I justify this by pointing out that there is a reason geneticists study mutations in Fruit Flies instead of Elephants – they want to see the mutations quickly and adapt their studies accordingly. So do I."

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  2. I want to amplify the prescriptive part just a bit more. What Josh and I have found, is that many new teams are given a "free reign" on that practices they take on, don't take on, and how they approach them. http://commissionjailbreakfacts

    ReplyDelete