Monday, October 23, 2006

Daily Team Builds

This year I was again at the JAOO conference in Denmark. Even though I didn't blog anything from the site there were many things I picked up from there.

However, the idea for the practice titled in this blog post came to being from a discussion we were having together with Jakub, a collegue of mine from Reaktor, about agile teaming aspects at our hotel's bar. Jakub had an idea about having the team members reporting their 'daily build' status during the Daily Standup/Scrum meetings.

The 'Daily Team Build' goes as follows. Each of the team members would in turn show out either a red or green card. Green card would mean that the member is doing fine (has a good feeling, nothing major is bugging, has been productive). Red card on the other hand means that there has been major blockers, stress, useless meetings or something else that is causing the team member trouble. The Red card portrays something that the team (and the possible scrum master) should solve as soon as possible to get the team members productive. If the card were red the member should also write on the card why the card is red, so that we can keep track of things that have been bugging us.

The cards would then be posted on some visible place to show how has the team been. Cards show out a status of the team during each of the iterations days. Like a continuous integration build, you don't want your team build to show red. If there's some red then there's something urgent to fix.

I think this is a very good supporting practice because:
  • Issues that hinder the team's productivity back are made visible, thus helping in continuous improvement.
  • Feedback is given about changes in the team's environment.
  • It provides very valuable information for the team's retrospectives/reflection workshops.
  • It helps to spot recurrent and time-dependent problems (for instance problems during sprint planning, end-of-sprint problems).

Here's a picture of the Team Build for our team's ongoing sprint.

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