Agile is about Collaboration and Cultivation Culture
Many organizations are looking for that quick fix or that one 'magic bullet' tool that will solve all problems. In reality, you need a combination of process and people transformation tools to truly achieve a lasting and impactful transformation.
To achieve this, you need to consider a Process Transformation in addition to a People Transformation.
Let’s see below what the transformation goals would be for each:
- Having a clear definition of the work and its priority. Only working on high priority items.
- Breaking down the work into small chunks of value. Deliver value frequently.
- Getting frequent feedback and correcting issues/defects early.
- Limiting work in progress and multitasking.
- Engaging the customer throughout the entire process for prioritization and feedback.
- Providing high transparency, measurement and visibility into the progress and value delivered.
- Improving our ability to measure our team’s actual delivery ‘velocity’ to better predict future delivery.
- Using engineering best practices and test automation.
- Working collaboratively with each instead of in silos. Reducing handoffs and increasing communication.
- Improving the team’s ability to self organize around its work.
- Creating a culture of empowered individuals that are self-motivated to see their teams succeed.
- Improve the effectiveness of our group meetings and ability to manage dysfunctional behaviors.
- Helping teams take ownership of making frequent process improvements.
- Fostering an environment that encourages ‘Generalizing Specialists’.
- Helping teams gain the skills for conflict resolution and crucial one on one dialog.
A Great Product Owner is Critical
At Excel SoftSources, we believe that you need to actively manage any project you outsource with us. That is the great failure with traditionally outsourced projects. Writing requirements and “throwing them over the wall”, or over time zones, simply doesn’t work. That method fails time and time again.
In Scrum, the job of the Product Owner is crucial. They must understand what the end users need the software to do, and they must become the voice of that customer to the team. Most importantly, the Product Owner must have enough decision making authority to manage the priorities. The team will need the Product Owner to make final decisions about what feature is most important to work on next.
Our most effective projects have been the ones where we had a good Product Owner from the customer, who devoted 5-10 hours per week to our project. A good Product Owner will meet with the team daily on Skype and for weekly planning and demo meetings and they actively participate in the design and testing of the product.
We can mitigate some of the risk of uninvolved product owners through our excellent UX and design leads, who can also help represent the views of your users after we get to know your product and company well. But you can’t expect us to fill those role entirely and still deliver the product you want.
The most challenging projects we have run have undeniably been those where the customer did not provide as engaged a Product Owner as we asked them to. Don’t shortchange this role!