Agile Notes (No. 9)

Every Friday, I send out an email highlighting a concept relating to Agile/Scrum/Continuous Improvement. Here we go…..

We are continuing with some notes from The ART of Avoiding a Train Wreck by Em Campbell-Pretty and Adrienne L. Wilson. ART is short for Agile Release Train and is a concept from Scaled Agile. We are in the home stretch with ART. Only a few more notes to go from ART.

Keep in mind, ART is about Scaled Agile (SAFe). It gets into running multiple scrum teams focused toward delivering a working product. There is PLENTY of great stuff in this book that can apply to plain vanilla individual scrum teams. The Dependency Card is one of them. To plan a Release or even a Sprint (increment) you will most likely have DEPENDENCIES on other teams. Maybe other Scrum teams if you are working with a shared component. Maybe an infrastructure team is needed to create a new QA environment or change network routing.

You can make this approach work for you in many ways. What if you run 2 week sprints and your infrastructure teams don’t run sprints at all? You can still secure their commitment to deliver their piece. All you would do is replace “Sprint Number” with a date.

If you run virtually and don’t have a shared Team Room, you can still find a way to share this commitment in public. Everything gets exposed to the light! No behind the scenes/behind the team dealings. If you are virtual, you can note the dependency in Jira (I’m sure you can do this in Rally but I live in Jira these days). You could create a top line section on your Program Wiki. You could create a separate slide if you <shudder> use slides to show status updates.

Ultimately, Dependency Cards support the No Surprises! Rule. As a scrum master, I want to know Blockers and Dependencies. I want to track both. I want to actively be working on both. I NEVER want to come towards the end of a Sprint or a Release(!) and out of the blue someone raises their hand and mentions that we are still waiting on …. whatever.

PLEASE, leave a comment. How are you dealing with Dependencies?

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