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Need arguments for not moving Team members arbitrarily

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  • Dean Johnson
    Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my Teams for several Sprints. I ve probably already lost the argument but I m trying
    Message 1 of 12 , May 18, 2010
      Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my Teams for several Sprints.

      I've probably already lost the argument but I'm trying to make the case that this is bad and note the consequences.

      Off the top of my head...

        * This breaks the Team's rhythm,
        * It hurts Team Velocity.
        * He's hurting the "gelling" Team's (We're almost 6 months into full switch to Scrum). 
        * He's not being disciplined and prioritizing his project like we ask everyone else to do.

      Please help me make the case.

      Even if I'm overruled this time, a solid enough argument may provide enough traction to head him off next time.

      Thanks.

      yours, Dean
    • Steve Ropa
      Hi Dean, I m going to play Devil s Advocate for a moment and ask if the VP has told you why he/she wants to pull the team member. Is it possible that this was
      Message 2 of 12 , May 18, 2010
        Hi Dean,
         
        I'm going to play Devil's Advocate for a moment and ask if the VP has told you why he/she wants to pull the team member.  Is it possible that this was the least bad choice?
         
        All of your arguments are quite good.  I wouldn't necessarily talk about hurting team velocity, because I don't like velocity to be thought of as something that can be improved, just observed.  I would perhaps show which stories might have to be dropped.  Perhaps if the team member is being pulled for the right cause, the VP might consider getting the things this developer would be working on into the backlog, so they can be prioritized among the stories they are normally working with.
         
        I threw a lot of conjecture in there, but I would very much like to know if the VP has a reason for the pulling of people.
         
        Steve

        Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 3:37 PM
        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Need arguments for not moving Team members arbitrarily

         

        Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my Teams for several Sprints.


        I've probably already lost the argument but I'm trying to make the case that this is bad and note the consequences.

        Off the top of my head...

          * This breaks the Team's rhythm,
          * It hurts Team Velocity.
          * He's hurting the "gelling" Team's (We're almost 6 months into full switch to Scrum). 
          * He's not being disciplined and prioritizing  his project like we ask everyone else to do.

        Please help me make the case.

        Even if I'm overruled this time, a solid enough argument may provide enough traction to head him off next time.

        Thanks.

        yours, Dean

      • Dean Johnson
        I take your point about Velocity. I may have a clearer argument by focusing on concrete Stories that will be compromised. It is possible that he has a good
        Message 3 of 12 , May 18, 2010
          I take your point about Velocity. I may have a clearer argument by focusing on concrete Stories that will be compromised. 

          It is possible that he has a good argument for this. I'd be happier if I (ScrumMaster), PO or Team had been included in the decision. So I really don't know anything about this project yet.

          Thank you for the feedback!

          yours, Dean


        • Steve Ropa
          Oh, well that s a whole different ball of wax! If it weren t a career limiting maneuver I would definitely tear into him on the fact that he didn t consult
          Message 4 of 12 , May 18, 2010
            Oh, well that's a whole different ball of wax! If it weren't a career limiting maneuver I would definitely tear into him on the fact that he didn't consult with the team that is being affected.  That's just not working and playing well with others.
             
            Good luck,
            Steve

            Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 3:54 PM
            Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Need arguments for not moving Team members arbitrarily

             

            I take your point about Velocity. I may have a clearer argument by focusing on concrete Stories that will be compromised. 


            It is possible that he has a good argument for this. I'd be happier if I (ScrumMaster) , PO or Team had been included in the decision. So I really don't know anything about this project yet.

            Thank you for the feedback!

            yours, Dean


          • Alan Dayley
            Dean, You already have a good handle on some reasons. You also already have some good response to your question. If I may add a some thoughts on such a
            Message 5 of 12 , May 18, 2010
              Dean,

              You already have a good handle on some reasons.  You also already have some good response to your question.  If I may add a some thoughts on such a subject from my blog:


              In re-reading that blog post, I noted that I did not address the damage to "team gelling" that such a situation creates.  I'm glad you already have that in mind.

              Alan

              On Tue, May 18, 2010 at 2:37 PM, Dean Johnson <dean.n.johnson@...> wrote:
               

              Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my Teams for several Sprints.


              I've probably already lost the argument but I'm trying to make the case that this is bad and note the consequences.

              Off the top of my head...

                * This breaks the Team's rhythm,
                * It hurts Team Velocity.
                * He's hurting the "gelling" Team's (We're almost 6 months into full switch to Scrum). 
                * He's not being disciplined and prioritizing his project like we ask everyone else to do.

              Please help me make the case.

              Even if I'm overruled this time, a solid enough argument may provide enough traction to head him off next time.

              Thanks.

              yours, Dean


            • Gary Brown
              Hello, Dean! Lacking sufficient information on what is the most important initiative in your organization, this VP could well be exercising his right as a
              Message 6 of 12 , May 18, 2010
                Hello, Dean!
                 
                Lacking sufficient information on what is the most important initiative in your organization, this VP could well be exercising his right as a GoldOwner to adjust priorities.
                 
                We as software development teams (Whole Teams in the XP sense of the word) are only here to provide maximum business value as determined by our GoalDonors and GoldOwners.  They are not perfect and won't always make the best choices, but they are responsible and hopefully accountable for those choices.  We are paid to implement those choices not to judge them.
                 
                What are the positives?  This team member could learn a new part of the business or a new technology or a better way of testing or, or, or ...
                 
                I'm not saying that this VP is infalible or his/her motives are pure, but all learning is good and the impact to your current team will probably be minimal and is certainly explainable.
                 
                You might not want to hear this, but the folks on this team are not your children.  I truly appologize for that perhaps shocking statement.  I want to restate this, you and your team only get paid to come to your place of employment everyday to deliver the maximum possible business value.  Business value is what they say it is, not what you think it is.  Partner with them.  Deliver on your promises.  Inspect and adapt.
                 
                GB.
                 
                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 4:37 PM
                Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Need arguments for not moving Team members arbitrarily

                Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my Teams for several Sprints.

                I've probably already lost the argument but I'm trying to make the case that this is bad and note the consequences.

                Off the top of my head...

                  * This breaks the Team's rhythm,
                  * It hurts Team Velocity.
                  * He's hurting the "gelling" Team's (We're almost 6 months into full switch to Scrum). 
                  * He's not being disciplined and prioritizing his project like we ask everyone else to do.

                Please help me make the case.

                Even if I'm overruled this time, a solid enough argument may provide enough traction to head him off next time.

                Thanks.

                yours, Dean
              • Michael James
                In case all the other great answers aren t enough, there s a section in _Group Genius_ (Keith Sawyer, one of my favorite books for Scrum) describing a
                Message 7 of 12 , May 18, 2010
                  In case all the other great answers aren't enough, there's a section in _Group Genius_ (Keith Sawyer, one of my favorite books for Scrum) describing a relationship between team longevity and performance.  The bad news is he noted innovation seems to drop off after a couple years in the same team.

                  --mj

                  On May 18, 2010, at 4:36 PM, Alan Dayley wrote:

                   

                  Dean,


                  You already have a good handle on some reasons.  You also already have some good response to your question.  If I may add a some thoughts on such a subject from my blog:


                  In re-reading that blog post, I noted that I did not address the damage to "team gelling" that such a situation creates.  I'm glad you already have that in mind.

                  Alan

                  On Tue, May 18, 2010 at 2:37 PM, Dean Johnson <dean.n.johnson@ gmail.com> wrote:
                   

                  Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my Teams for several Sprints.


                  I've probably already lost the argument but I'm trying to make the case that this is bad and note the consequences.

                  Off the top of my head...

                    * This breaks the Team's rhythm,
                    * It hurts Team Velocity.
                    * He's hurting the "gelling" Team's (We're almost 6 months into full switch to Scrum). 
                    * He's not being disciplined and prioritizing  his project like we ask everyone else to do.

                  Please help me make the case.

                  Even if I'm overruled this time, a solid enough argument may provide enough traction to head him off next time.

                  Thanks.

                  yours, Dean




                • Peter Stevens (calendar)
                  Hi Dean, I think arbitrarily is a big word. People don t like change. 1 change in 6 months is not a lot. Making the changes in a planned manner (starting the
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 19, 2010
                    Hi Dean,

                    I think arbitrarily is a big word. People don't like change. 1 change in 6 months is not a lot. Making the changes in a planned manner (starting the next sprint, for X sprints...) is much better than grabbing someone on short notice, in the middle of a sprint.

                    Cheers,

                    Peter


                    On 18.05.10 23:37, Dean Johnson wrote:  

                    Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my Teams for several Sprints.


                    I've probably already lost the argument but I'm trying to make the case that this is bad and note the consequences.

                    Off the top of my head...

                      * This breaks the Team's rhythm,
                      * It hurts Team Velocity.
                      * He's hurting the "gelling" Team's (We're almost 6 months into full switch to Scrum). 
                      * He's not being disciplined and prioritizing  his project like we ask everyone else to do.

                    Please help me make the case.

                    Even if I'm overruled this time, a solid enough argument may provide enough traction to head him off next time.

                    Thanks.

                    yours, Dean


                    -- 
                    Peter Stevens, CSM, CSPO, CSP
                    www.scrum-breakfast.com
                    tel: +41 44 586 6450 
                    
                  • PeteCRuth@aol.com
                    Alan: Well done. One of the most important lessons I learned in a management consulting incarnation long ago was that while change is always disruptive of
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 19, 2010
                      Alan:
                       
                      Well done.
                       
                      One of the most important lessons I learned in a management consulting incarnation long ago was that while change is always disruptive of existing operations to some degree, the adverse effects of change can often be minimized through thoughtful integration with current processes in a manner consistent with today's agile principles. In fact, for my money, the application of agile principles will have a far wider influence on management in general than it will ultimately have in the field of software development.  
                       
                      Now if we can only get the HR Compensation Committees to see the light...
                       
                      But that's a different topic!
                       
                      Regards,
                       
                      Pete
                       
                       
                       
                      In a message dated 5/18/2010 4:36:28 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, alandd@... writes:
                      If I may add a some thoughts on such a subject from my blog:
                    • Gogineni Venkateswarlu
                      Hi GB, Dean et al, The key point need to be noted in this context is the ownership. In agile methodology, ownership plays vital role compare to traditional
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 21, 2010
                        Hi GB, Dean et al,

                        The key point need to be noted in this context is the ownership. In agile methodology, ownership plays vital role compare to traditional models. Authoritative role is less in Agile compare to traditional models. In this case VP may be playing authoritative role and hurting the team. It is just a my guess.....

                        Please feel free to comment .......

                        Thanks & Regards
                        -GV
                        --- On Wed, 5/19/10, Gary Brown <glbrown@...> wrote: 

                        From: Gary Brown <glbrown@...>
                        Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Need arguments for not moving Team members arbitrarily
                        To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                        Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 6:02 AM

                         

                        Hello, Dean!
                         
                        Lacking sufficient information on what is the most important initiative in your organization, this VP could well be exercising his right as a GoldOwner to adjust priorities.
                         
                        We as software development teams (Whole Teams in the XP sense of the word) are only here to provide maximum business value as determined by our GoalDonors and GoldOwners.  They are not perfect and won't always make the best choices, but they are responsible and hopefully accountable for those choices.  We are paid to implement those choices not to judge them.
                         
                        What are the positives?  This team member could learn a new part of the business or a new technology or a better way of testing or, or, or ...
                         
                        I'm not saying that this VP is infalible or his/her motives are pure, but all learning is good and the impact to your current team will probably be minimal and is certainly explainable.
                         
                        You might not want to hear this, but the folks on this team are not your children.  I truly appologize for that perhaps shocking statement.  I want to restate this, you and your team only get paid to come to your place of employment everyday to deliver the maximum possible business value.  Business value is what they say it is, not what you think it is.  Partner with them.  Deliver on your promises.  Inspect and adapt.
                         
                        GB.
                         
                         
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 4:37 PM
                        Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Need arguments for not moving Team members arbitrarily

                        Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my Teams for several Sprints.

                        I've probably already lost the argument but I'm trying to make the case that this is bad and note the consequences.

                        Off the top of my head...

                          * This breaks the Team's rhythm,
                          * It hurts Team Velocity.
                          * He's hurting the "gelling" Team's (We're almost 6 months into full switch to Scrum). 
                          * He's not being disciplined and prioritizing his project like we ask everyone else to do.

                        Please help me make the case.

                        Even if I'm overruled this time, a solid enough argument may provide enough traction to head him off next time.

                        Thanks.

                        yours, Dean

                      • JackM
                        So technically speaking you don t want to mess with the team composition or the committed stories. As this will impact the pact which the team signed off on
                        Message 11 of 12 , May 21, 2010
                          So technically speaking you don't want to mess with the team composition or the committed stories. As this will impact the "pact" which the team signed off on at the beginning of the sprint. However, stuff happens, priorities change etc. So this needs to be viewed the broader company context. So what I would do is have a meeting with the team, discuss the impact of the loss of a resource. Move some stuff around that can be moved, de-prioritize what can't be managed anymore and move on.

                          If the team wants to be a stickler on this, abort the sprint but this is too harsh in my opinion.

                          Hope this helps
                          Jack
                          www.agilebuddy.com
                          twitter.com/agilebuddy
                          blog.agilebuddy.com

                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Dean Johnson <dean.n.johnson@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Our VP of Technology has a project and wants to pull a member from one of my
                          > Teams for several Sprints.
                          >
                          > I've probably already lost the argument but I'm trying to make the case that
                          > this is bad and note the consequences.
                          >
                          > Off the top of my head...
                          >
                          > * This breaks the Team's rhythm,
                          > * It hurts Team Velocity.
                          > * He's hurting the "gelling" Team's (We're almost 6 months into full
                          > switch to Scrum).
                          > * He's not being disciplined and prioritizing his project like we ask
                          > everyone else to do.
                          >
                          > Please help me make the case.
                          >
                          > Even if I'm overruled this time, a solid enough argument may provide enough
                          > traction to head him off next time.
                          >
                          > Thanks.
                          >
                          > yours, Dean
                          >
                        • Mark Levison
                          Dean - you got some good points at the time your asked your question, I just noticed it again today and realized a recent blog post might be interested: Adding
                          Message 12 of 12 , Jun 6, 2010
                            Dean - you got some good points at the time your asked your question, I just noticed it again today and realized a recent blog post might be interested: Adding New People to Your Project: http://agilepainrelief.com/notesfromatooluser/2010/06/new-people-on-your-project.html - interesting because removing people have the same effect as adding people.

                            Cheers
                            Mark Levison
                            Blog | Twitter | Office: (613) 862-2538
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