Local Adaptive Step

Every team wants to do good job, but almost always they face with some adversities. These may be: unclear requirements, delays, communication issues and so forth.

Let’s say a team wants no extra features during an iteration. This is quite logical expectations, but… things are more complicated. Extra tasks comes from PO, PO is pressed by CTO, CTO is pressed by CEO and CEO is extremely pressed by impatient client.

So, applying the system thinking to this picture it turns out that cause of problems defined by a team might lay in The System organization, not always in the team itself. That’s useful point of view and it helps to find a solution in many situations.

However it works, a team or a team leader might not have the authority to reorganize The System. Even if one were a client is mostly beyond of one’s influence. So, from one side a team is sure the problems are: clients or salesmen or management:). It wants all of them to change and to follow strictly the Scrum, Kanban, RUP or whatever guideline. Sometimes it’s possible, but those are rare cases. Frustration grows up. What to do then?

Maybe start thinking locally, here and now

Let’s forget about formal methodologies for a while and think about a team as an agent in the context of some organization.

Now we may observe a team is responsive to surrounding forces.

Instead of implement a methodology causing lots of organizational change (and also mess), let’s do a local adaptive step toward the state of balance.

A local adaptive step is actually searching for a balance between all forces surrounding a team. Do whatever needed. You need for Use Cases – do Use Cases, need for formal docs – write a formal docs, don’t need for iterations – don’t do it at all!. So, a team is not expected to be agile, but it’s expected to be balanced.

There are some of my insights on constraints a team have to be assured to do a local adaptive steps.

  • a team is fully responsible for expected results of its work
  • a team is free to make all decisions needed to achieve results
  • a team is free to reorganise its structure and process of work