When a team decides to go agile but its management fails to acknowledge the changes to each team member's role and provide support during the transition, frustration ensues. Find out how recognizing the needs of each new role can help smooth the way to a successful agile adoption.
"That was an excellent presentation," Anna said. "I finally understand the big picture of how each role contributes synergistically on an agile project."
"Yeah, I could really sink my teeth into all of those development practices," Devon said as he sunk his teeth into another chocolate donut.
Mandy, the project manager, was thoughtful as she sipped her tea. "I can't help feeling that this agile stuff is no different from what I've always done. Someone's just packaging it and giving it a special name." After another sip she said, "On the other hand, I've been hearing great things about John's agile project, so I'll go along with you two on this. I think we should give it a try on our new project."
At the project kickoff, Anna walked the team through the high-level business case and sketched out the core business processes. "It's important for you to remain anchored in these concepts, because it will feel like we're building a patchwork quilt with this iterative, story driven approach."
Devon jumped in. "Anna isn't going to write all of the requirements specs up front for us anymore. Instead, she'll outline the stories we need to work on for every iteration. We'll collaborate closely with her and Tess to capture the details as functional tests, and then we'll use test-driven development to create the code. At the end of the iteration we will demo the finished work." Then, breaking into a grin, he said, "And the best part is that we can celebrate with jelly beans for each completed story."
"As a tester, I'm excited to be a real contributor to the team from the beginning," Tess said. "And I'm going to jump in right now and make my first contribution. Devon just inspired me to name the team mascot-let me introduce Jelly-Elly." Tess plucked a small stuffed elephant off the toy shelf.
As the meeting came to a close, Mandy reminded everyone about the team golf tournament two months away, which coincided with the targeted release of milestone one. "Great job. We've got an overall vision for our first milestone and a good plan for our first iteration. I like this lightweight approach already. See you all in two weeks."
"Er, don't you mean 'See you tomorrow' for the daily stand-up meeting?" Tess asked.
Mandy stood up to leave the meeting room. "I don't think we need to take all of this agile stuff literally and try everything all at once. Let's see how the first iteration goes and take it from there."
As the iterations progressed, the morning line at the local coffee shop became an impromptu opportunity for members of the team to vent.
"Argh, I need an extra strong dose of caffeine this morning," Tess said. "Mandy still hasn't approved our request for new testing tools. She insists the ones we've used all these years are good enough. Test-first development is going a lot slower because we're using test-laststyle tools."
Anna agreed. "I need a hefty kick-start this morning, too. Since we went agile, I've been spending most of my time running between floors to talk with the developers. I often have to undo assumptions they made while they were waiting for me to show up. I've stopped counting the number of times I've asked Mandy to get the team located in one place."
"I know Mandy has asked you to continue writing use cases like before, Devon said cautiously, "but they don't make much sense to the developers. They're too patchy given the story-driven approach we're taking. Don't take this the wrong way, Anna, but I