Have you ever met the manager who is satisfied with the speed of development? I, personally, not. But sometimes it is even worse than just the speed…I had so many educational talks with the customers about the development work – why you can’t code 8 hours in a row and why sitting and staring at the wall or even playing table tennis can be a work too for the developer, as he is thinking over the issue during that time. Once one of the top managers entered my room shouting “They are not working! They are browsing Internet!!! What we can do with that?”
We talk a lot about developers in agile processes but sometimes almost forget about testers. They are usually rather calm and silent people, so they pass through all the project launch meetings and then come to me to ask the important question “Agile is great…But what should I do with my testing activities? What is the role of QA in agile processes?”
As usual, I start my answer with “Folk, it really depends… Let’s see what we might do this time”. So, I will try to describe what we tried and how we failed/succeeded.
I really love games, that is why I am trying to use them in my work life too. When it comes to the serious questions – adopting new processed framework or show the team why it is great to work in a team – I prefer to use games too. It is fun, it is easy and very engaging. When I came across lego scrum simulation by Alexey Krivitsky, I thought – “Bingo! That is what I need.” In addition – I really wanted to buy some lego and could not find any excuse to do that…So it was my chance.
I have heard from a lot of PMs that it is hard to involve the team into retrospective process. Team members are usually enthusiastic about discussing complaints, what the idiot is the customer (yes, I know that you don’t have that in your team, as all of you respect your customer, you have a great atmosphere in the team. But I do have these problems in my teams). When I try to ask the developers some more constructive questions – I get something like “Everything was ok” from the developer. How to get more?
Sometimes I am standing in front of the team, which is comfortably sitting in the chairs and looking at me, with their faces showing “Hm..one more meeting…what does that PM need? We didn’t have this crap with the previous PM!”. And I am thinking how to awake them, make the part of the process, share their thoughts (you’ll be surprised, how many great thoughts can developers come up with).
Hey, PM, how often do you hear “Those meetings make me crazy…They are so boring!” from developers? I hear this phrase while having my lunch in the office kitchen, while passing by developers, comfortably sitting on the sofa, and so on and so far… It can happen up to 10 times a day, if your company is big enough. So, PMs, let’s be honest, our meetings often suck.
I will try to analyze why that can happen and what can be done.
I definitely love that talks with people new to agile. I bet you came across that guy, great developer, really “star” in your company, who started the discussion with “Agile is a crap…Why do we need all this overhead,why I can’t just code?”. At that moment I usually open my mouth, having the intention to say something, but instead I remain silent, my face become red, blue, green and then red again. I would better keep my thoughts at that moment off this post 🙂
So, let’s talk about the misconceptions about agile I come across. Some of them are mine, as I am not a genius and started with agile as all of you.
Everyone is writing unit tests, everyone cares about their tech debt, everyone performs refactoring… Sure! Enter the nearest dev team room and ask them several questions:
- Do you do TDD?
- Do you write unit tests?
- Do you perform refactoring?
And you’ll hear the same I usually do – “No”. And when you ask “Why?” the answer will be “We have no time!”.
I am a cruel PM, one of those guys who keep saying to the teams: “We have no place for that in the budget!”. But it scares even me. So, PMs, stop blaming the teams, it’s your job to protect them and forget about “We have no time!”.