I thought it would be interesting to summarize some results from recent a retrospective conducted with a team new to Agile. After lots of discussion, back and forth and about 2.5 trees worth of post-it notes they settled on 3 items.
- The team does not understand the customer needs behind certain feature requests
- The team does not get enough detail in the story definition
- Team only has time to work on features and bug fixes but need time to invest in themselves, research best approaches and retire technical debt items
Success! We just had a critical component of the entire business process stop and reflect internally. They raised the 3 issues that concern them the most. 2 of those things were were directly customer focused and the other indirectly so.
So — great lesson #1 — your teams want to do the best for the company. Great lesson #2 if you give them a chance they can think critically about what they need to best perform.
The problems listed are typical when, as in this case, the development team is offshore and the customers, marketing, sales, support and product management are all elsewhere. What then, is a manager to do in this situation? I’ll leave that for the next post.