This blog has recently covered a series of tips on agile development, rather than product management tips.
My view is that if you have a good understanding of agile ways of working, you’ll have a better appreciation of how you can work with a product team to get great results.
If a product team starts talking about process a lot, this can be a sign that the process isn’t quite right. Giving teams the space to discuss process can be beneficial.
But if it’s taking over other sessions, a bit of careful moderation may be necessary. Steering discussions, such as suggesting that process matters are taken offline, can help.
There’s another type of process discussion beyond talking about things like the purpose of standups. When cards aren’t moving across the board except when someone prompts the assignee to do it, this can slow things down.
In the previous post we looked at the pull model, which can be an excellent way for teams to take ownership of the process and keep cards moving along smoothly. However, it does need a bit of discipline and might not be the best option for a new or inexperienced team.
Another approach is for the team members to declare when their card is ready to move along, and simply move it. Though, if this is moving a card along for someone else to then pick up, this is more of a push model than pull.
They can tell the team that the card needs to be looked at in its new status – perhaps by asking for reviewers. But this can be done asynchronously, on Github and in a team’s Slack channel.
Standups are a great place for the team to call out when they’re blocked – if they’ve not already mentioned it offline. But standups become less useful if the team keeps having to be nudged to move the cards along – or if someone does it for them.
In short – the team shouldn’t spend too much time talking about process, ways of working, moving cards along if this takes away from discussions about what they’re doing – and how they’re doing it. However, it’s important that the team can still voice their opinions and concerns at the appropriate time – which is a good use of the retrospective.