We had a very insightful meeting on Friday in addition to the cupcakes that Landon Cline brought. Jason Bedell will be posting about how Creative and XD can work in an Agile environment, but in the meantime here are a couple of other topics addressed:
Standup Meetings – Teams may find that they slowly drift away from a strict daily standup meeting. Is this a bad thing? How does this affect the team and the project? We were able to use a couple of live projects for examples and determined that a healthy standup meeting was indicative of a healthy project. Teams that don’t hold standups will find that issues and blockers fall through the cracks, the whole team is not on the same page, and consistent velocity is difficult to maintain. Standups provide a great opportunity for every team member to share what they are currently doing and what may be keeping them from fulfilling both their and the teams committments. If you find that daily standups aren’t valuable for your team then you probably have other issues within the project such as poor or non-existent sprint planning, unsized stories, constantly changing scope, lack of team ownership, etc.
How to Let Things Fail – Rob Morrison mentioned that he had been on a project where, for many different reasons, the Agile processes were not working and yet nothing was allowed to fail. One example of this would be having too many stories to complete before a deadline and still committing to finish them all. Let me be clear… this project will still fail. Committing to all of the stories when you know that they can’t be completed merely shifts the pain point from a moderate pain today to a severe pain in the future. Perhaps a better title for this topic is “Don’t Avoid the Consequences“.
The best course of action in the example situation is to have open and honest communication with the product owner. Ideally, the team has a known velocity. They will only be able to complete the “normal” amount of work. The product owner can receive either all of the stories at a later deadline, or a portion of the stories at the current deadline. I wouldn’t call this failing. This type of situation is exactly what Agile intends to address and something like this situation can and will appear in virtually every project. Agile provides the principles to follow that will allow the rapid identification and quick recovery for commonly encountered project obstacles.