In week 3, the team will begin to start working with the project’s code in Sprint 1. This is the time to start helping practice the task and time management techniques of Scrum and to put them into use.
This week’s theme (and the chapter’s title) is “Time” …. as in time management. In Scrum, I think one of the major innovations is that the time is sharply constrained (or “time-boxed” as Agile practitioners call it) and a sense of urgency develops. When people have a limited, manageable amount of time in which to get a bunch of tasks done … they often can get more done than they first expected. I’ve found that to be true of myself when I adhere to the Pomodoro Technique, and it has often helped production teams increase efficiency, as Sutherland describes in this chapter. So, really, it is the combination of time and task management that makes Scrum teams accomplish such feats.
This week, think of these aspects of time, task, and team management. Consider how you might approach being a leader among equals and guide the less experienced team members to working together as an Agile team:
- Self-imposed time pressure coupled with a commitment to achieving a specific set of tasks. As they are getting started, it may be challenging to develop a set of tasks, mostly relating to understanding and refining the project requirement, that is ambitious to be motivating but not so large that they get discouraged. How do you approach establishing and maintaining the balance? What tools and ceremonies can you use to aid the team?
- Sutherland warns against the possibility of the daily standup meetings turning into a report of a bunch of individuals who think of themselves as working separately. Especially in a remote working environment, it is also possible to find the team breaking into sub-teams. How can you help them avoid this mistake?
- How do you plan to prioritize the project requirements and estimate their difficulty or the amount of time they will take? What worked for your prior teams … or what didn’t work that you want to avoid?
- While time on task is important, the team also needs to invest in getting to know one another in order to function as a team. What can you all do to foster team spirit? Get creative!! For a while, my family was using online board games (boardgamearena.com) as a way to “be together apart”. There are some ideas to spark discussion at this site: How to Foster Team Spirit in Remote Teams. Unfortunately, unless you are all Maori, the Haka is not an option, but I think you can come up with something.
As always, your journal should reflect your thoughts on the reading and your past experience. What did you plan to do this week …. and what was the result? Remember, there are no wrong answers, just continual growth as a leader in software development.
Submit your reflections in PioneerWeb. I expect at least a couple of pages, but more is certainly ok.