Whenever I work with a new Agile team I have some stock “speeches” that I tend to give. One of my favorites “speeches” covers my expectations are for a newly formed Agile team, namely increased transparency and predictability. Notice that I did not say increased velocity. That may or may not come with time, but the first two hurdles are getting to a point where one can understand what is going on at any time – transparency – and what can be expected to be delivered over time – predictability.
One of the biggest hurdles to getting any software development completed is endless interruptions. Transparency provides a safe haven where anyone associated with a project can see where the team is at anytime so that constant status and interruptions can be calmed.
Predictability allows for less interruptions and allows those who need to plan the future of the product can reliably plan because they know that development will be able to deliver on what they say they will. Also, this should quell the critics that say that Agile cannot be used for long term planning. It certainly can. In fact, I would hazard to say that it can more accurately than traditional waterfall methods. The difference is that Agile recognizes that there will be changes over time where waterfall does not. You need to add a story (or drop a story), no problem, Agile allows for it. More importantly, when you do drop or add I can give you a good idea of when to expect delivery.
All this transparency can lead to very interesting discoveries. My next blog will cover The Harsh Spotlight that is Transparency. Keep an eye out for it.