Intern Thank You Note ...
A college summer intern who worked on an agile team sent a thank you note. It's obvious that a well-formed agile team offers a great intern experience for the right candidate. Paired programming and daily completion of end-to-end work allow the intern to learn immeasurable design, architecture, and coding skills, mostly through osmosis:
Intern: "I am writing to thank you for giving me the opportunity to intern this past summer. The experience was of immense value to me, not only through the technical training I received but also through my exposure to agile management techniques and to the energy and excitement of a living, breathing start-up venture.
"I want to thank you for treating me as an equal member of the team and giving me the opportunity to make an immediate contribution to the company. By allowing me full freedom, you maximized the value I could add to the development team and helped me learn much more than I would have had I been constrained to more menial tasks.
"During my time this summer, I was impressed with not only your agile management techniques but also your skill as a manager. You gave the team 'just enough' management, empowering us to make decisions and generate new ideas while instilling in us a strong sense of the company's priorities. You accepted responsibility for any shortcomings (such as overextended sprints) and gave all credit for successes to the team. You played less the role of manager and more the role of facilitator by providing a positive working environment and any required resources and then getting out of the way. From what I've learned in my business courses, this seems to be an ideal way to approach management ... "
One of the inspiring outcomes of building a collocated team of individuals guided by common vision and goals is that conversations will appear that demonstrate team learning. This team behavior is one of the hardest implementation tasks of agile management. It can't be forced, but instead is an outcome that experienced coaches look for as validation that the agile engine is operating at its peak efficiency. Management should listen for conversations similar to those above as signs of a healthy team.
About the Author
Alan Chedalawada is president and senior consultant at Net Objectives. Alan has a proven performance record with corporations such as: EDS, Computer Associates, IBM, Cable Wireless, Telia, Deutsche Telekom, ATamp;T, Calvin Klein, OMO Norma Kamali, as well as several entrepreneurial startups. Alan's experience spans the manufacturing, telecommunications, technology, finance, energy, and distribution industries.