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Tom discovered Agile Development in 2003 and spent the next 8 years, together with his team at www.biomni.com, improving their process and blogging about his discoveries. He has a particular interest in the psychology of keeping Agile agile and not letting it slip back into the evil old ways! He believes a Scrummaster should also be a developer and codes ASP.NET and C# most of the time. Tom is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 42 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

These Moments are Precious

05.18.2013
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The moments when excitement builds throughout the whole team at the delight of discovery and creativity are precious. These moments feel like play rather than work and they breed openness and courage. So what conditions must exist for these moments to happen? Here’s some ideas

  • A shared competence – The feeling that the team has or has the ability to learn all the skills they need to build a good quality product without accumulating technical debt, gives the team the confidence and courage required to innovate.

  • Freedom – Unconstrained by others,  a self organising, cross functional team has the ability to do whatever it takes to deliver solutions at pace, brings excitement. Where there are impediments a team needs the freedom to remove them before they cause frustration.

  • Collaboration – The ability to create things as a team that you couldn’t do alone and the fellowship that this brings is exciting. The sharing of discoveries and achievements accelerates learning way beyond anything achievable alone.

  • A good customer – nothing beats the instant feedback that a customer on the team brings. Sharing ideas, seeing the excitement as their expectations are surpassed is a fantastic motivator. A good customer is as committed as the developers and spend their day experimenting with whats being built, discussing options and sharing ideas with the team. The only thing better than a good customer on the team is 2 good customers on the team.

  • Great technology – Working with great technology is standing on the shoulders of giants, working with elegant, fluid api’s that allow you to create with ease gives the whole team a boost.

  • Surprises – Trawling through a long backlog tying to follow a plan is a very different experience to letting stories emerge from the collaboration of developers and customers. Working with only a loose plan but a strong purpose  means every day brings new and unexpected challenges.

The combination of a these factors allows a team to deliver any solution they can imagine rapidly. The consequence of this is they dare to imagine things that most teams won’t. This creativity is incredibly valuable and therefore precious. Just because its precious doesn’t mean we can’t attain this state more.

These moments are precious because, in most organisations, it’s not easy for all these factors to exist together and when it does happen it’s fragile. We must try though. None of these factors are impossible to achieve and even if you can’t achieve all, any of them will make work better. Perhaps if we can become more aware of them and track how well we are doing at achieving them we can do better . Should these factors be something we should try to measure?

Published at DZone with permission of Tom Howlett, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)