Synchronized Sprinting

Bart has been in ecommerce for over 20 years, and can't imagine a better job to have. He is interested in all things agile, or anything new to learn.

Asked to align its sprint calendar with others in the organizations, an agile team’s initial reaction was to resist. But upon further discussion, the team decided there were three situations where this action could, in fact, improve dependency management and transparency with customers and executives.

Recently, one of my teams received a mandate to align its sprint calendar with other teams in the organization, effective immediately. I say “mandate” because it wasn’t really a request or a suggestion; it was clearly put forth as a constraint on the team. The team (and I’ll admit I felt the same way) immediately had an allergic reaction; prescribing arbitrary rules from on high to an Agile team completely misses the point of the process, and hurts the self-organizing advantage of Agile. They immediately asked me what to do with this mandate. Their inclination was to ignore it, or minimally comply with it, but not to embrace it without a good reason.

Upon further reflection, the team decided that the mandate was a good one, but poorly communicated. While everything in Agile can be changed, and should be altered to match the needs of the team, it is important to remember that most teams live in an ecosystem that has needs beyond a single or even a small group of teams. Small changes in how a team operates, such as starting sprints on a Wednesday rather …

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"A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions."

- Anonymous

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