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14516RE: [scrumdevelopment] Slacking teams (was:Nitty-gritty detail of updating Scrum artifacts)

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  • Wolfgang Schulze Zachau
    Jul 4, 2006
      > 1. If Jimmy's team is 1.5 people there is a problem, unless
      > he or his associate is a tragic but valiant victim of a
      > railroad accident.
      > Part-time contributors to sprints cause problems.

      Yes, there is a problem. I have known that from the start. On the other hand
      I have a total of 4 people reporting to me and chances of getting more or,
      alternatively, access to other staff, are extremely slim. I need the half
      resource to cope with the amount of work. Does anyone have good advice on
      how to make things work in such a situation ?

      > 2. Even if the team were 2.0 people, that's pretty thin in my
      > opinion. Not much room for self-organization. I might
      > therefore merge Jimmy's team and their backlog items into
      > some other team.

      I have looked into that. Jimmy's work is substantially different from the
      rest of the team and the skill sets only have minimal overlap (Linux/MySQL
      server admin and script writing vs. .Net development). Does it make sense to
      merge small teams into one big one, even if the tasks and skill sets are
      completely different?

      > 4. I'd have to ask whether the Sprint Goal is actually being
      > committed to by Jimmy and the Halfling, or whether the goal
      > is being pushed or imposed upon them. If the latter, then
      > they can't possibly build up a useful sense of responsibility
      > or the ability to estimate.

      From my perspective the sprint goal is committed to and not imposed. AFAICS
      the problem lies with the sense of ownership. The estimates are good, we
      know that because we have monitored average effort required to
      resolve/complete backlog items vs. estimates and there is a good match.
      What is underedeveloped is the ownership of the sprint. I have recently
      introduced (for both teams) the obligation to track all unscheduled work
      during a sprint, but unless I (as Scrum Master) brew up a storm during daily
      scrums, the tracking is neglected due to "we don't have time for this".
      I suspect you are going to say something like "You need to bring the hammer
      down". I would prefer to solve this through positive motivation rather than
      force. Ideas, anybody ?

      Regards,

      Wolfgang



      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron Jeffries
      > Sent: 29 June 2006 13:59
      > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Slacking teams
      > (was:Nitty-gritty detail of updating Scrum artifacts)
      >
      > On Thursday, June 29, 2006, at 1:08:48 AM, Wolfgang Schulze
      > Zachau wrote:
      >
      > > [Some good stuff about Jimmy]
      >
      > > So in essence I have two problems here:
      >
      > > A) I need to find a way to motivate Jimmy (but that is a line
      > > management problem and therefore off-topic)
      > > B) I need a way to demonstrate to my boss that once a reasonable,
      > > sustainable pace has been achieved, pushing for more will only do
      > > damage
      >
      > > Does that make sense to you?
      >
      > Sure. And as you tell the story, I'm prepared to think that
      > Jimmy is at the center of a problem that needs to be
      > resolved. Some thoughts:
      >
      > 1. If Jimmy's team is 1.5 people there is a problem, unless
      > he or his associate is a tragic but valiant victim of a
      > railroad accident.
      > Part-time contributors to sprints cause problems.
      >
      > 2. Even if the team were 2.0 people, that's pretty thin in my
      > opinion. Not much room for self-organization. I might
      > therefore merge Jimmy's team and their backlog items into
      > some other team.
      >
      > 3. If Sprint goals are consistently not met, Jimmy and his
      > truncated associate need to be informed, in no uncertain
      > terms, that this is not successful. I don't care whether they
      > do it by working harder or by putting feature cards under
      > their pillows for the feature fairy, but their sole job is to
      > estimate what they can do and then do it.
      > I'd keep in mind that they may need help and that the partial
      > person is probably a piece of the problem, but still, you
      > have a right to be able to count on the team to do what they
      > say they will do.
      >
      > 4. I'd have to ask whether the Sprint Goal is actually being
      > committed to by Jimmy and the Halfling, or whether the goal
      > is being pushed or imposed upon them. If the latter, then
      > they can't possibly build up a useful sense of responsibility
      > or the ability to estimate.
      >
      > If Jimmy's team starts to keep what your boss perceives as
      > promises (and what really should be promises, or at least
      > commitments), then discussions of his productivity can be
      > limited. "Yes, Boss, he's a bit of a slug really, but he
      > keeps his promises to us, and that's what counts."
      >
      > Ron Jeffries
      > www.XProgramming.com
      > Agility might be said to be about encountering all the
      > problems so early and so often that the effort to fix them is
      > less than the pain of enduring them.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
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