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Category: Agile

Bootstrapping an Agile Team [Part 1 – People]

In this 3 part series, I will explain some of the exercises I’ve been using to build common ground in teams that are newly formed or newly modified. The inspiration comes from finishing the agenda / planning for an off-site for one of my teams, which I’ve conducted for a few teams now.

Part 1 – Intro / Shared Understanding of People [you are here!]
Part 2 – Shared Understanding of Product (Vision, Team Purpose)
Part 3 – Shared Understanding of Process (How We Work)

At Spotify, our teams change quite frequently. There are many reasons for this but the most common reason is to organise ourselves to solve an important business problem. We believe in self-organising teams and we expect our engineers to decide who & what they need to best solve the ever changing business problems that we face. Teams will hire new people, have people move between teams, be disbanded or be newly created.

When a team changes (or is newly formed), the team loses shared knowledge & understanding. It is my belief that an effective team is a group of individuals that have a common understanding of:

People – Each other
Product – Their purpose as a team and/or the vision for the product
Process – How they work


Why we dropped Scrum for Kanban in our lead up to launch

Let me set the scene: It was around 3 weeks to the launch of our product (Expensive big bang PR launch) and the team are discussing the plan of attack for launch. We’re coming up to the end of our sprint and grooming the backlog so that it is ready for the next sprint, we’re also releasing the product early to a closed group (media/bloggers), so that we can get some early feedback. Apart from a couple of features, our last sprint of work is mostly related to compliance & legal requirements for launch, with the rest being bug fixes & polish.