5 dysfunctions of a team

An agile team should work together and achieve the goals that it has defined in a timely manner. However, there are numerous dysfunctions, which can keep the agile teams away from achieving the results in a timely manner. That’s why it is important to have a clear understanding about these 5 dysfunctions of a team and take appropriate steps to eliminate them.

Lack of trust will be the first dysfunction of a team. It is not just referring to trust, but vulnerability based trust. The team should trust each other. This can be done when the team members have a clear understanding about the strengths and weaknesses of each and every one.

The second dysfunction of a team is lack of conflict. Trust is needed by an agile team, so that they will be able to engage in conflict. In other words, it would ensure ideological and constructive conflict.

The third dysfunction would be lack of commitment. The team members should have a strong understanding on how commitment would build on trust, which is based upon trust.

Fourth dysfunction of a team is lack of accountability. If the agile team is fully committed, all the people should remain accountable. This is something behavioral.

The last dysfunction of a team is all about results. This dysfunction is built upon all the other dysfunctions as stated above. In other words, this is where the team will be able to work together and achieve group results at the end of the day.

By having a clear understanding about the 5 dysfunctions of a team, the team members will be able to ensure productivity of a team. On the other hand, it would ensure the creation of a healthy environment within a team,  where each and every team member will enjoy working.

— Slimane Zouggari

Christopher Avery’s Responsibility Process

Christopher Avery’s responsibility process ensures how to be responsible when going ahead with an agile environment. We often see how the developers who work for agile environments are stuck in their jobs. They assume that they can’t change, and they are not in a position to go ahead with the change. By following the responsibility process of Christopher Avery, you will be able to overcome such situations.

In the Christopher Avery responsibility process, you will figure out that there is a massive difference between taking full responsibility and being 100% responsible. The responsibility process will help you to figure out how you will be able to practice responsibility. Then you will be able to achieve a more fulfilling life, as you are taking complete control over the life. It can also help a person to be more authentic and create more impact on the agile team.

The first step of this responsibility process is intention. This is where people should exercise the power of choice they have. Secondly, they need to practice awareness. This is where noticing attention would come into play. The third step in this process is to confront, which is to face the upset to figure out what is true.

No problem that a person faces can be resolved through the consciousness level that created it. Hence, it is important to improve the consciousness level at all times. Christopher Avery’s responsibility process can be practiced understanding how to work with responsibility. Then it is possible to overcome the challenges in life and ensure change. This can deliver amazing returns to the people who are looking forward to changing their lives and refrain from being stuck at one place for an extended duration of time.

— Slimane Zouggari

Agile Testing Quadrant

Agile testing will be a productive and dynamic testing type. The main objective of this testing is to go ahead with the testing work continuously with the development process. In here, the testers will need to remain in the ambiguity with related to the approaches and procedures to conduct agile testing.  While keeping that in mind, it is possible for the testers to take a look at the Agile Testing Quadrant. This is pretty much a manual or a tool that has divided the overall agile testing methodology into four different quadrants. Let’s deep dive and analyze each quadrant with examples.

The first quadrant of Agile Testing Quadrant is to ensure the quality of components and quality of code. This is done with the involvement of the developers. On the other hand, the testers will go through requirement document and come up with the most effective test cases as well.

The second quadrant of Agile Testing Quadrant is to focus on the busines driven test cases. In here, business requirements are focused to detail. During this quadrant, both manual and automated tests will be conducted to go ahead with story tests, functional testing, pair testing and simulations.

In the third quadrant of Agile Testing Quadrant, reviews and feedback from the previous testing quadrant or the phase will be considered along with the actual user experience delivered out of the software. This is where the real world user scenarios will be evaluated. Logical thinking of the tester plays a major role behind the success of this testing approach.

The last quadrant of Agile Testing Quadrant uses tools and technology to automate the overall process of evaluating a software development project. This is where the testers will tend to pay more attention to the non-functional requirements such as compatibility, security and reliability.

— Slimane Zouggari

Technical debt

Development teams in agile software development will tend to use simple and cheap technologies to proceed with their developments. Or else, they will tend to invest in additional resources to come up with better solutions. When you go ahead with low production cost and faster project implementation without focusing too much on the quality of software, you will have to deal with technical debt. In other words, technical debt refers to the cost that you have to bear for all the new work that has to be done in order to come up with a new solution, so that the system functionality can be retained.

It is tempting to use fast and cheap technologies as we are only focusing on the current situation. However, it can give life to lots of negative consequences in the future. It will not just be associated with rework. It can also include the cost that has to be born to refine and repair the product in future as well.

To refrain from technical debt, the agile software development teams should always keep in mind that there is a possibility for technical debt to incur. While keeping this understanding at the beginning of a software development project, it will be possible to take appropriate decisions. In other words, decisions can be taken in a controlled and conscious manner to eliminate technical debt from taking place in the future.

Technical debt can lead a development team towards wasting time, money, and resources unnecessarily. On the other hand, it would delay the delivery of product to the product owner. As a result, the product owner can get frustrated as well. hence, all development teams should be fully aware of technical debt and take appropriate steps to keep that away from taking place at all times.

— Slimane Zouggari

Defer commitment

At the time of starting a new agile development project, the developers often tend to make the mistake of shifting their focus on the technologies that they should use. This is where they will take a look at the solution, develop a proof of concept, and then pick the right technology. Only after few months of starting developments, the team will figure out that they have made an incorrect decision. This happens not because we take incorrect decisions. It happens because we fail to consider some of the decisions at all. This is why it is often recommended to try and delay decisions.

One of the basic recommendations that you can see in agile decision making is to defer the decisions and delay them. It is not the responsibility of the architect to make decisions. Instead, the architect should develop a structure, which is providing freedom to defer and delay the decisions as much as possible. When you delay a decision in an Agile environment, you will be able to collect more information, which can be helpful when making the correct decision.

When you defer decisions in the agile environment, you will not completely refrain from making a choice. You should have a place to start, so that you can work on the project. Selecting a technology is just one thing. However, committing to it will be another thing.

The software architects should be careful about the way how the system is designed to integrate some of the technologies. It is important to maintain flexibility in the solution, so that one integration can be replaced with another one in the future. This will help to get the most out of agile decision making process.

— Slimane Zouggari

Mikado Method

Software development team often try hard to fix things, while ensuring that nothing else would break because of the change they do. All the developers who wish to overcome this struggle in an Agile development environment will be able to adhere to the Mikado Method. That’s because Mikado Method can help them to understand how to morph an existing system sand get the desired output, without having to deal with any negative consequences.

There are four major methods associated with the Mikado Method. The first method out of them is to define a goal. You will define a goal and then think about what you want to achieve in the future. After defining a goal, it is possible to understand the starting point for a change. On the other hand, it is also possible to figure out whether the method can ensure success or not.

The second method is to experiment. This is where a series of attempts are being made to end up with a discovery, which would validate a hypothesis. When it comes to the software industry, the developers will do developments and experiment with the code. Along with that, it is possible to understand what changes would make the overall system break.

Visualizing is the third step of Mikado Method. This is where you will write down the goal and all the prerequisites associated with that goal. Along with that, you will draw something called a Mikado Graph. Then you will move to the last process of Mikado Method, which is to change and restore the system, where you get that back to the working state. When you are implementing a goal, you will visualize the needs that should be changed within the system to keep it away from breaking. If the code is not in a position to deliver expected functionality, you will have to undo it.

— Slimane Zouggari

The elephant and the rider

The elephant and rider is an effective method available to motivate and move forward an agile software development team. When the team lacks motivation, team leader will be able to take a look at this concept and practice it accordingly. This can eventually help the development team to conceptualize how to make decisions and create lasting changes.

According to the elephant and rider concept, rider is referring to the rational brain. Rational brain loves to contemplate the future. However, it tends to focus more on the problems, instead of the solutions. It would look for the analysis options and patterns and then make the plans accordingly. However, the brain will usually get frustrated due to uncertainty.

Elephant refers to the emotional brain. It is dealing with stress and fear. It is possible to spook the elephant easily. However, the elephant doesn’t want to do things that don’t offer immediate gratification. Hence, the elephant always prefers to look for pleasure, so that it can avoid pain. The elephant needs reassurance. On the other hand, it can easily get demoralized and overwhelmed.

The rider is sitting on top of the elephant and it looks like the rider is setting the navigation. Therefore, people usually tend to misunderstand that elephant is bad and rider is good. We all should overcome such emotions. The emotions are responsible for providing us with motivation. Instead of taking control over the emotions and forcing them to remain silent, the elephant and rider should both collaborate each other. Then they will be able to refrain from struggling and cater to the desires pf each other. This method of thinking will motivate and an agile team and ensure the success of it.

— Slimane Zouggari

4 rooms of change

4 Rooms of Change is a proven psychological theory. We can often see how this theory is being used along with agile software development to ensure the best returns with change management. Let’s deep dive and learn more about what this psychological theory is all about.

When a software development team starts working on a new software development project, they will not be able to see the change. This is where the team will stay in the Contentment Room. The current situation will deliver a satisfying experience to all the team members. No team member will have the need or desire to change anything as well.

However, things will change along with time and this would trigger the team to move into the next room, which is the Denial Room. It becomes essential for the software development team to adapt according to the change. This is where the team would ask why it is important to adapt according to the change. Resistance to change that arises in such a situation will lead the team towards getting into the Denial Room.

Once the change is accepted, the development team would get into the Confusion Room. This is where the team goes through an emotional journey that is filled with anger, fear, and many other related emotions. That’s because the team is facing a new situation and they don’t have a clear understanding on what would happen next.

With commitment and dedication, it is possible to move to the next room, which is the Renewal Room. Everyone will have adjusted mindsets when getting into the room. In other words, they are ready to embrace the new challenges. The entire process represents the journey associated with change management in agile software development.

— Slimane Zouggari

Understanding ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework

The ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework is breaking down agile coaching to 8 different competencies as well as a coaching stance. There are three different domain competencies in this framework. They include transformation mastery, business mastery and technical mastery. Technical mastery focuses on the technical aspects of the software, such as software craftsmanship and architecture. On the other hand, business mastery is referring to product innovation, process innovation and operational innovation. Transformation mastery refers to facilitation, organization change and leadership.

Teaching and mentoring are two prominent competencies that you can find within the ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework as well. Teaching is all about the ability to reach people. It can be about teaching a team member about agile values or how sprint planning works. On the other hand, mentoring refers to the sharing of knowledge through experience.

You can also find facilitation and professional coaching as two competencies in ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework. Professional coaching has the ability to help the agile team to find solutions to most of the problems that they are facing. This is accompanied with facilitation. Facilitation refers to the process of holding impartial stance. For example, agile coaching will need to facilitate the agile development team via a retro. However, it is important to remain impartial throughout the process. The objective in here is to hold the agile team and keep them sticking to the agreed guidelines.

The last competency associated with ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework is Agile and Lean Practitioner. This ensures that any person who wants to become an agile coach should have a deep understanding on agile and lean. Any person who wants to become an effective agile coach will be able to follow ACI’s Agile Coach Competency Framework and get the most out of it.

— Slimane Zouggari

Trim the tail

One of the key objectives of Agile software development is to reduce the time taken to go to the market while maximizing value. This is where it is important for the development teams to focus on things that can add more value. Trim the tail is an approach that a software development team can follow to get the job done while ensuring the best return.

Trimming the tail is a strategy that is associated with three different parts. The very first step would be to figure out the known social risks and technical skills. This has to be done as early as possible. After understanding the risks, it is possible to address them while running the tested features in smallest way possible. This should be done prior to the developments. In other words, this process has to be completed while the items are still on the backlog.

The second step in trimming the tail is to figure out the backlog items that are in a position to deliver the highest business value. Along with this understanding, it is possible to assign a high priority to the work and get them done in an effective manner. They will be implemented by the development team while running the tested features in the simplest possible way as well.

The final state associated with trimming the tail is to defer feature improvements and quality improvements back into the work queue, so that the development team is working to improve the overall value of the system. In here, the development team would implement a walking skeleton of the system and then proceed with the other developments, which can add more value into it. This will help them to release the basic product to the market that can add value to the business and introduce new features to it along with time.

— Slimane Zouggari