Agile Resources: Consistency, Flexibility or...?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When organizations begin to implement agile, the advice is always to allow agile teams to remain stable wherever possible. It’s one of the reasons why organizations tend to roll agile out on a team-by-team basis—it not only helps to create the sense of team among the people performing the work, it also provides a common framework and experience that team can grow from.

Of course, the need for strong teams is not unique to agile. Project managers have understood the importance of building high-performing, engaged teams for a long time. The difference with agile is the self-empowered or self-managed concept. That’s the heart of what makes agile successful—autonomy to manage and deliver the work in the way the team feels is most appropriate. But it also creates a vulnerability when the team changes.

It’s well understood that changing resources on teams—whether that’s a removal, an addition or a substitution—is disruptive. Team performance will suffer while the group adjusts to the change and becomes comfortable with the “new normal.” In agile teams, the relationship among team members can be extremely close as they rely on one another not just to perform their tasks, but to plan and manage the entire project.

ScrumMasters and project managers should still be available for support, but there can be a sense of a …

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