The Watershed Week
This was a week of some rapid progress.
The CEO of the organization who has been traditionally hand holding every effort from HR hiring to process implementation to resource scheduling to client satisfaction was on a leave and it was left to the employees to manage the organization all by itself.
Three of the developers [1 of whom was participating in the session] caught hold of a project manager, process analyst and CTO in the conference room to discuss their problems and issues. It was a landmark moment for all of us. The group discussed issues ranging from not enough learning, not enough guidance, not enough leadership and not enough clarity. The CTO and Process Analyst explained the what steps are being taken to overcome these precise issues. They also sought their help in taking initiative and coming up with something very innovative. We promised to meet in another month’s time to discuss if we have made any progress at discussing these issues.
In the same week. one of the new teams was also formed. The new project lead has already undergone the SCRUM process training and this helped her understand issues. Most importantly, she had a place to turn to to help her in the transition to Agile. One of the projects which had gone really bad was turned around by her team using project and sprint backlogs to guide their development process. There are some issues with her team which she needs to still tackle. However, we are on good footing because the team is talking, discussing and ready to take more work and action.
In the same week, we also had a discussion with one more project team through CTO to define the project backlogs for all new projects. We almost made it compulsory to start all new projects with a project backlog. In fact for one of the projects we are doing a full “story writing workshop”. I had some time from doing the normal quoting/ writing proposals to help teams discuss and define their backlogs and user profiles.
In the same week, we reviewed number of software’s like Rally, SCRUM team Add-on, Planning Poker, Excel, SCRUMWorks, SCRUM Wiki and XPlanner. We have zeroed in on XPlanner and we will be customizing this for our own organization. All this coming without any push from my side was the most heartening aspect of all.
In the same week, teams found out innovative ways to put their backlogs online – Google spreadsheets, simple interfaces, excel sheets, scanned sheets et al. Creativity, willingness to experiment, willingness to learn and importantly, willingness to share were the critical aspects here. However, this is still limited to only some sections of the organization and not the complete organization. Our challenge is to make this fire spread far and wide.
And last of all, this was the week where we discussed story points with a customer and decided to pick up work only for given story points in a week. It was a watershed moment in our history.
Sometimes I feel, are we going too fast 🙂