Agile Done Right: An Interview with Darshan Desai


to track test cases and file defects, Scrum masters use the web view to manage the online task board and burn-down, and management uses the web view to look at status and trends. The key point is all these tools talk to a common Team Foundation Server, so the artifacts are linked throughout.

Each team/organization is free to choose the tools they want to use, however they need to keep in mind that using no tools or disparate set of tools (by discipline or job function) breaks down communication and introduces friction. Using the right set of tools enhances team productivity and streamlines the agile development process.

Noel : What are some of the best practices that you can see working well for many other companies looking to implement, or enhance their agile development?

Darshan : Firstly, the team and the management need to clearly understand the agile development process and buy into this. The different roles need to realize their responsibilities – product owners should groom the product backlog regularly, the Scrum master should bind the team together, and managers should internalize the difference between push vs. pull models in order to really empower the team.

There are more challenges and best practices such as: how to be effective if your team is geographically distributed, how to deal with engineering tasks (that is not directly adding customer value) in the product backlog, how does the role of testers change in the agile process, etc. We’ve overcome some these challenges and will share these experiences in our tutorial.

Noel : Are there any individual stages of an iteration that those new to agile will be able to see the greatest potential gains for their own companies or projects?

Darshan : Actually, it is hard for me to pick one stage over the other. If you practice agile the right way, you’ll immediately start seeing gains across the board.

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