Project Management

Agile Swarming: Teaming for Success

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.

One of the principles of Agile development is to determine the products, features and user stories that will provide the most customer value, and deliver them as frequently as possible while maintaining a high level of quality. A method that teams can use to improve their delivery, and their team work, is a concept called swarming. Swarming involves having multiple members of a team, or the entire team, work together on the highest priority item in a sprint and maintain focus on it until it is completely done. Once the highest priority story is done, the team can then move on to the next highest priority, or simply end the swarm and go back to the normal mode of operation.

In a standard agile planning session, the team—working with the product owner—selects a set of stories that will be added to the current sprint. Usually, the team identifies as few as six, or as many as 15 stories or more, depending on team size and the size of the stories themselves. All of these are added to the sprint, with the expectation that all of them will complete by the end of the iteration.

The stories are then broken down, tasks are created and assigned, and the team begins to deliver them. A high-performing team will connect daily, or even several times a day, to make sure that everyone has what they need, to coordinate delivery of their tasks, and to ensure that no one on the team is …

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