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Growing Successful Agile Teams and the Responsibility Process

Effective agile software teams require everyone involved to take a high level of ownership and responsibility

Tom Lacy

on 23 September 2013

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Transcript of Growing Successful Agile Teams and the Responsibility Process

Growing Successful Agile Teams and the Responsibility Process
-Tom Lacy (2012)

What does success look like?
Happy and growing client base
Internal release goals achieved
Team morale is high - "We won!"
Little to no technical debt added
What does the team look like?
Small - around 7 team members
Work together daily
Right talent and attitude
What is management's role?
Need to live on Responsibility Island first!
Ensure the right talent is on the team. Hire, retain, coach, motivate.
Ensure the team has the right tools and environment
If the team doesn't need help, then don't
Business stakeholders need to be engaged
What should we measure?
Adoption and use
Client Satisfaction
Technical Debt
Velocity and maintenance
What does the team act like?
They do what they are not told to do
They work on anything to help the team
They take ownership and responsibility for the success of the team
Where does it start?
Discussion points around testing:
What role does test automation play?
When should you automate and why?
What does "done" mean?
Ignoring the existence of something
"That really isn't a problem"
"This isn't my issue to deal with"
Holding others at fault for causing something
"If they would have done what I said, then..."
"I'm waiting on requirements"
Using excuses for things being the way they are
"That is just the way it is around here"
"We weren't given enough time"
Laying blame onto oneself (often felt as guilt)
"I'm just not good at this"
"I messed this up like usual"
Doing what you have to instead of what you want to
"I guess I'll go to this weekly meeting even though I have no input, what a waste of time"
"I need to fill out these lengthy and redundant performance reviews"
Owning your ability and power to create, choose, and attract.

The KEY is to be aware of where you are mentally when things go wrong and work your way back to
Responsibility. The KEY QUESTION is "How am I creating, choosing, or attracting this?"
No one thinks much about personal responsibility when things are going well. When something goes wrong
large or small (lost keys or lost retirement account), the Responsibility Process “kicks in.” Your mind goes to
Lay Blame. If you accept Blame as a sufficient answer, then you will act on that blame. If you don’t accept it,
then your mind offers you an excuse (Justify). And so on. Thus taking personal responsibility is a step‐wise
linear process of refusing to accept and act on a series of irresponsible thoughts that your mind offers up.
Giving up to avoid the pain of Shame and Obligation
"This just isn't worth it"
"I can't take this any more"
"Good luck folks, see ya..."
Full transcript