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A quick guide to build productive Agile Teams

Sandesh Govindaraju
I
October 20, 2020

There are many theories which will help you to build teams and this is one of the stories which I’ve personally experienced and recommend these to any new teams which want to build world class products and solve problems for customers. TL; DR ? Let’s dive into it!

Product is the medium between you & customer, help the customer feel your product

Let’s make sure everyone understands the core Agile principles!

It is evident in organisations that when a new joiner joins the organisation, we roll out lot of technical and product trainings, but don’t pay heed to help them understand Agile principles. Taking a small step to ensure the new joiner understands the Agile principles will keep everyone on same page and the number of follow-ups you do will gradually decrease.

Understand new feature with customer empathy and then think tech

Haven’t we seen most of the engineering team thinking in terms of pitching in as how many APIs should I develop in sprint planning session ? I agree, building scalable tech systems are important , but we have to shift in terms of asking the Product owner like what pain point are we solving ? Why the feature is prioritised now ? Did we trade-off any other feature over this feature ? These are some questions which the engineering team should focus even before they start the analysis. Take pride in your code & add human touch to the product you deliver!

Bonus item if you’re hiring

When you talk to a candidate who could be a potential colleague to you, are you checking only his/ her tech competency, aptitude and problem solving? If yes, please also check how good they are in breaking down feature into pieces and also how good they’re in estimating the work to be completed. A question to know what would be their reaction when there is risk in delivery will also help you if they’re pro-active in informing stakeholders about the possible delay.

When it is Continuous development & integration, why not take Continuous Feedback ?

I always felt this, instead of waiting for the sprint to get over, why don’t we act on feedback which the team feels and if it is actionable feedback, what stops you from fixing it? Retro boards help teams to recognise weaker areas and take actions. Keeping the retro board open and taking measures to solve drawbacks , right from the sprint start would accelerate the speed of the project as we fix the obstacles like we fix “Bugs”.

Build a conducive team environment

Teams should be discussing more about how to enhance the product by learning about the metrics. Mostly, engineers think that after features are released into production ,their job is over. But those teams who work to learn how their products are running in terms of ease of use, adaption will add more value to the overall project! One more trait which I feel we should move away is team meetings should more be on tech enhancements, building more confidence in deliverables but we end up talking about roles and responsibilities and debate over process.

How are you keeping your teams innovative and productive ?

Agile

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