17 October 2021

Agile communications

Agile communications

Agile Manifesto

  • The Agile Manifesto developed by the Agile Alliance covers 4 values and 12 principles.
    • The four values are :
      • 1) individuals and interactions over processes and tools,
      • 2) working software over comprehensive documentation,
      • 3) customer collaboration over contract negotiation, and
      • 4) responding to change over following a plan.
    • The 12 principles are :
      • 1) focusing on satisfying the customer,
      • 2) welcoming change,
      • 3) delivering working software frequently,
      • 4) ensuring that business people and developers work together,
      • 5) motivating the individuals involved in development,
      • 6) using face-to-face communication whenever possible,
      • 7) working software as the primary measure of progress,
      • 8) maintaining a constant pace of development,
      • 9) paying continuous attention to technical excellence and good design,
      • 10) aiming for simplicity,
      • 11) using self-organizing teams, and
      • 12) regularly reflecting on how to become more effective.
    • [Manifesto for Agile Software Development. Agile Alliance.]

Agile communication tooling

  • Empathy
  • Face-to-face communication
  • Leading
  • Regular communication
  • Environment
  • Information radiator
  • Osmotic communication
  • No-collocated / distributed team
  • Stand-up meeting
  • Team space

Empathy

  • Customer-programmer empathy and programmer-tester empathy help generate team trust on an agile project. [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]

Face-to-face communication

  • An open, face-to-face communication culture is the best suited culture for an agile team. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
  • Face-to-face communication enhances team collaboration. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]

Leading

  • As a team leader or agile project manager, you must facilitate communication between the development team and customer to ensure that requirements are understood and implemented correctly.
    • One of the four Agile Manifesto values underscores customer collaboration.
    • The team leader must facilitate this collaboration to deliver value.
    • [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]

Regular communication

  • An agile approach heavily emphasizes the need for direct customer involvement to ensure product quality and value.
    • One way to promote customer engagement is to have regular communication between the customer and team.
    • [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]

Environment

  • A warm, welcoming environment that promotes effective communication, innovation, and motivated team members is an important aspect to consider when designing team space.
    • Guidelines for a better agile team space include: collocation of team members; reduction of nonessential noise/distractions; dedicated whiteboard and wall space for information radiators; space for the daily stand-up meeting and other meetings; pairing workstations; and other pleasantries like plants and comfortable furniture. [Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great. Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber.]

Information radiator

  • An information radiator is a visual representation of project status data. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
    • An information radiator displays project status-related information, such as user story development status, burndown charts, and task boards. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
    • A visual representation or chart that shows project status regarding a tracked project-related metric.
    • An information radiator should be posted in a highly visible area that is easily accessible by the team and stakeholders. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
    • Information radiators do not increase the efficiency of software developers.
      • The use of information radiators on an agile project offer several advantages.
      • They reduce lengthy communication, allow for all team members and stakeholders to review project status throughout a project, and reduce the need of other more time-consuming communication methods, like e-mails or memorandums.
      • [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
  • All successful projects, regardless of management philosophy, require project planning.
    • The use of information radiators on an agile project offer several advantages.
    • They reduce lengthy communication, allow for all team members and stakeholders to review project status throughout a project, and reduce the need of other more time-consuming communication methods, like e-mails or memorandums. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
  • Information radiators improve team communication by reducing the amount of time spent explaining project status. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
    • Typical information radiators on an agile project include: project Burn-Down Charts, Tasks boards, Burn-Up Charts, and defect charts. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
    • Information radiators should be updated whenever the posted data has changed to keep all team members and stakeholders up to date. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
    • Typical information radiators :

Osmotic communication

  • Osmotic communication is a concept of communication where information is shared between collocated team members unconsciously.
    • By sharing the same work environment, team members are exposed to the same environmental sounds and other environmental input and unconsciously share a common framework that improves communication. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
  • Osmotic communication includes picking up visual cues, like body language. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
  • Osmotic communication helps ensure the natural flow of questions, ideas, and information sharing among the agile project team. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
  • A core principe of the Crystal methodology is osmotic communication. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]

No-collocated / distributed team

  • Video conferencing, e-mail and instant messaging are technologies that can provide some level of communication in the absence of face-to-face communication. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]
  • Video conferencing and instant messaging are technologies that can provide some level of osmotic communication. [Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game – 2nd Edition. Alistair Cockburn.]

Stand-up meeting

  • A stand-up meeting is typically held daily and is often referred to as the daily stand-up meeting. [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]
    • The term « stand-up » originates from the fact that ALL team members are encouraged to stand during the meeting to promote meeting efficiency.
    • The theory is that by physically standing no one will get comfortable enough to waste valuable time.
    • [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]
  • In the scrum-based agile project management methodology, daily stand-up meetings are referred to as ‘scrums’ or ‘Daily scrum.’ [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]
  • In the Scrum framework, daily stand-up meetings, or daily scrums, should last no longer than 15 minutes.
    • Some scrum instances use stop watches to track time and use a ‘talking stick’ to help indicate whose sole turn it is to share pertinent information. [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]
  • In a Daily Stand-up meeting team members discuss current progress and any issues or impediments that are impacting progress.
    • Each team member shares what he or she has achieved since the last meeting, what he or she will achieve before the next meeting, and what obstacles may prevent him or her from achieving progress. [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]
  • The key characteristics of a healthy stand-up meeting include :
    • peer pressure
      • the team is dependent upon each other so expectations of peers drives progress;
    • fine-grained coordination
      • the team should understand the necessity for focus and working dependently;
    • fine focus
      • the team should understand the need for brevity in the stand-up meeting so the team can be productive;
    • daily commitment
      • the team should understand the value of daily commitments to each other and uphold those commitments;
    • identification of obstacles
      • the team collectively should be aware of each other’s obstacles so that the team collectively can try to resolve them.
    • [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]
  • Fine-grained coordination, a fine focus, and daily commitment :
    • Issues that take longer than a few minutes to resolve in a Daily Stand-up meeting should be tabled and resolved between the appropriate parties after the Daily Stand-up meeting has concluded.
    • This ensures that the meetings are brief and productive.
    • [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]
  • The use of a stop watch is sometimes used in the Daily Stand-up meeting to ensure that the meeting is brief and productive. Typically, a stand-up meeting should last no longer than 15 minutes (i.e., a 15 minute timebox). [The Art of Agile Development. James Shore.]
  • A high-performance, self-organizing team should realize and correct the disruptive behavior. [Coaching Agile Teams. Lyssa Adkins.]

Team space

  • A high-performance, Self-Organizing team should realize and correct the disruptive behavior. [Coaching Agile Teams. Lyssa Adkins.]

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