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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Introducing agile to a new team

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  • Mark Levison
    After a the obvious hows it going question, I ask questions like: - What hurts today? *These are the things we will work to improve first* - What works well?
    Message 1 of 29 , Jan 28, 2010
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      After a the obvious hows it going question, I ask questions like:
      - What hurts today? These are the things we will work to improve first
      - What works well? Where possible these are the things we change last if ever.


      On Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 2:03 AM, Mayank Gupta <mayank.gupta1@...> wrote:

      Thanks for so many interesting responses. I am trying to consolidate my response in one single email.


      Before jumping on the questions the coach would like to ask the team, I would like to think about the objective of asking these questions. Consider the agenda of the first fifteen minutes of your interaction as an agile coach with a new team:

      • Would it be asking about the problems the team might have as of today?
      • Would it be about opening up the team, making them comfortable?
      • Would it be about building trust so that we succeed in the journey ahead?
      • Would it be about motivating people?


      First fifteen minutes are very important as this would set the stage for the longer run… Now coming back to the questions:


      As Ron/Henrik/George suggested, I like the idea of asking simple questions which would open up the team members, like

      • How is it going?
      • Why are you interested in going agile?  

      This would open up the team members, would help the coach find out the expectations, the team does carry, from adopting the agile methodology. At least one or two members would have doubts whether there is anything for them in the process and might ask such questions. It would be good to make notes (to revisit later). The team would share the problems they are facing if any. It would be good to make notes on the white board or flip chart as the conversation would go on.


      Here comes the dilemma: Should the coach try to dig deeper about the problems the team shared or should he move on with another set of (simple) questions. The problem with digging deeper into the problem areas is: one, it is too early to talk about problems and two, it sets the wrong expectations that agile might fix anything. IMHO, even asking about problems the team is facing is not worthwhile at this moment. It is good enough to take some notes if the team shares some of those on its own.


      IMHO, it would be prudent to move ahead with some more simple questions (depending on how the interaction is shaping up with the above two questions though). Questions might be like (some of these ‘Adam’ shared in his response):

      • (Question for the team) Do you know the customer (the team might not be aware of the term ‘product owner’)?
      • Who estimates the requirements (Again … the team might not be familiar with the term ‘user stories’): Whole team or only some of the people in the team?
      • Who makes the commitment about the timelines … (whole) team or the project manager?
      • How often do you release (to production)? If you wanted to release more often, could you? Why/why not?
      • (Question to the customer/project manager): Do you know how much the team can deliver each month/quarter (Velocity)?
      • How often the team conducts the project status meetings?
      • How often the customer changes the requirements?
      • How often the team makes a demo of the work to the customer?
      • How often does the team look back at how it is doing?
      • How many defects they have in the system, how does the team address those defects?
      • etc….


      It would be easy to handpick 4-5 questions…  The responses would provide enough information, would help the coach build the right expectations and would ensure the team gets motivated which is probably the objective behind asking some questions in the beginning!


      Looking forward to hear from the team!





      From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of woynam
      Sent: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 8:42 PM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Introducing agile to a new team



      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Henrik Kniberg <h@...> wrote:
      > On Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 3:06 PM, Plamen Balkanski
      > <plamen.balkanski@...> wrote:
      > > 1. Are you prepared to face the truth?
      > I'd rephrase that. Sounds very religious. If someone said "are you
      > prepared to face the truth" when introducing something new to me I'd
      > be very turned off.

      'Reminds me of the scene in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Luke goes to Dagobah to find Yoda, and become a Jedi. When Yoda asks Luke if he's ready to start his training..

      Luke: "I'm not afraid!"
      Yoda: "Oh, you will be. You will be."

      > > 4. Will you be prepared to do everything that needs to be done to
      > > complete the work in the iteration even if it is not in your comfort zone?
      > Not sure what your expected answer to that question is, but I'd answer
      > No. Let's say the sprint burndown shows that we aren't going to
      > complete the work we committed to. We might be able to complete it if
      > I bully my teammates into working lots of overtime and writing fragile
      > code that will break next sprint. In that case I'd prefer to work with
      > people who say "that's out of my comfort zone and I won't do it, let's
      > descope the sprint instead".
      > I like your other questions though :o)
      > /Henrik
      > --
      > Henrik Kniberg
      > http://www.crisp.se/henrik.kniberg
      > +46 (0)70 492 5284

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