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Problem Solving Techniques

Establish that you are going to ask a bunch of questions, some naive, some pointed, but that your goal is to help them re-verify their assumptions, not to promote an alternate idea or to criticize their approach. Ask lots of “why” questions and continue pushing back towards the root problem. When a problem seems too big to hold in your brain, it’s tempting to seek respite by focusing on manageable meta-problems. While those problems may need solving, they are distractions from the real issue that is blocking progress. Make them talk through each decision and ask stupid questions. Apply extra scrutiny when the developer clearly thinks a decision was easy or obvious.

Reflective listening - This is a communication technique where you repeat back a summary of what the other person just said to you to confirm understanding. Another benefit in this situation is that having the person to hear their own ideas in another person’s voice/words may make it easier for them to be objective. Lead them to the answer. If they simply aren’t making progress and you know a good answer consider leading them to the answer with a line.

Agile Team Motivation

If a team want to achieve something they will find a way to make it happen. Conversely if the team don't want to achieve a goal, there is no way they will. Therefore, the single biggest factor which contributes to productivity is the motivation or morale of a team. Treating employees like volunteers means engaging with them and making sure they want to do what they have been asked to do. It would be better yet let them select what task they do Celebrate the success of every launch/release, even if only in a small way, but draw attention to the fact that the team were successful. Allow everyone to feel great about what they have achieved. Praise team members and offer some gold cards like compensatory off.

Agile Failure Modes

Most of time team is struggling to get enough shared understanding to deliver a working tested increment of product every couple of weeks. With Scrum, we know we need clarity, accountability, and the ability to measure progress on frequent intervals, Once Scrum starts to go mainstream, all people remember the rules but they forgot the meaning behind the rules. Common failure areas are:

  • Culture doesn’t support change - Try to keep cross-organizational uniformity and use PMO as enforcers

  • Lack of retrospectives Action items generally get lost, hence they should be tracked in system with due date assigned, and should be tracked in reports

  • Lack of collaboration in planning – Lack of communication and hence lack of collaboration

  • PMO or scrum master should force to sit in one common room during planning week, where they are forced to collaborate and communicate

  • Tsunami of technical debt - Stop and clear, one should not process till WIP or technical debt reach to level where it can be controlled