Mythics Blog

Conducting an Agile Development like a Symphony Orchestra

Posted on April 11, 2013 by Sean Wang

Tags: Mythics Consulting

To successfully complete one iteration after another with short sprints, an Agile development should be conducted like a symphony orchestra - it requires high degree of concord and harmony.  Unlike other development methods where a project manager allocates resources, manages daily tasks and monitors project progress, an Agile development requires highly flexible and interactive approaches within the development team.

Once the Product Owner specifies the business requirements, the Scrum Master, who is an expert on the technical development process as well as the business process, will coordinate with the development team to rapidly deliver iterations of the product, often through continual changes.  Since the team assigns tasks among its members and also monitors the project’s progress, the team members are normally highly technical which, of course, is a prerequisite for a successful Agile development but hardly a guarantee.

Just like a Symphony Orchestra on stage, an Agile development is highly visible within the organization as the team works in a near real-time environment.  So, to ensure a successful performance, the team must work in a high degree of concord and harmony.   The following are a few steps that can help to achieve this goal:

  • First, each team member must be highly technical in his/her area of expertise;
  • Second, each team member must be highly motivated for the success of the team, the project and the organization;
  • Third, the team should be harmoniously integrated to form the “dream team.” Each member should be adaptive to the others and to the continually changing requirements;
  • Fourth, the team should hold frequent, constructive communications to share lessons learned and to remove obstacles in order to reduce any potential risks to the progress of the project; and,
  • Fifth, the Scrum Master must skillfully bridge the business aspects and technical development. S/he should be the conductor of the project to ensure the maximum performances from each individual as well as the team as a whole.

Lastly, and most importantly, the Scrum Master should work with the Product Owner and other shareholders to ensure that changes are minimized within each sprint and the stage, i.e. the development platform/environment, remains stable throughout the development process.

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