Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today's Lesson Learned

I am wrapping up a project this week, and yesterday I brought the team together for our retrospective. One topic that came up was also brought up at my presentation at the PMI EMEA Congress in Amsterdam last week. The topic was how agile teams fit into a non-agile environment.

On this project, I brought my team in with me, agile and ready to go. My client said they were starting to use agile, but it wasn't widely adapted yet. The problem we had was at the intersection between our team and non-agile teams that were doing some of the development work for our project.

Since these other tasks were not complicated, I didn't take into account how long they could take. I also didn't account for the fact that these other resources were not dedicated to my project and had conflicting priorities. You can probably guess the results, we were held up waiting for delivery from these other teams.

So what do you do in this situation? In the future, I will be more actively engaged with these teams and not depend other group's managers to oversee delivery of their components. I'll make sure timelines are understood and deadlines are set. I know I need to engage these other groups sooner in the project and understand what their delivery approach is so I can follow any procedure I need to in order to meet my schedule. In addition, I'll think about contingencies in case there are delays with other groups.

Agile & non-agile can work together, but don't forget that everyone may not be moving at the same speed or the focus your team has on the project may not be the same as other groups that are supporting multiple projects.

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