Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tools not rules

Last two weeks were like a hurricane. I had many discussions with lots of people. It was fun and interesting but I stumbled upon few questions again and again.

Tell us about some of the best practices you followed in your team.

I was not sure how to approach? The practices were only best in that context. Which was best for that team might not be suitable for your team. But people love best practices, isn’t it. I think it requires us to understand that calling something “best” might be misleading. I believe understanding, what we are doing and why we are doing, would be more effective. Suggestions???

Another question was “ How did you folks follow Scrum process in your team?”

Very valid question :D, I explained how we started and what was the end state of our team. Mostly I heard, “You did not follow Scrum”.

For example - You did not have cross-functional team. 
My response was, “In that organization the QA was a shared service”. We could not have them full time as part of our team. We could only have them shared. We tweaked few processes, which was suggested in Scrum to make better use of our time. Isn’t Scrum an empirical process? Unfortunately I could not sale our Scrum to them. To me it’s thoughtfulness and common sense to focus more on WHY we must do certain things rather than just following the rules and rituals. But I may be wrong?

Another example - You did not follow story points?
Yes we did not, in that project, the code-base was new to entire team and we start with our hour/days estimate, since team got that right vs. story points. Slowly we got better and started doing estimation using story point. It seems they did not like us deviating from Scrum. 

It is more important for some folks to follow the process properly. Don’t get me wrong! I want to do that too!!! I don't like Scrum buts too? But I am baffled, what should a tool do? Shouldn’t it enhance our ability to achieve a goal or??? I hammer is a good tool for putting nails but might be a bad idea for putting screws.  Every team and environment is different so our processes have to be different too, isn't it? We should always start with prescribed way if possible and adjust as you go. Again not sure whether it’s my understanding of process or tool is wrong. 

Thoughts or comments