One of the best characteristics of agile project management, is the opportunity to obtain feedback frequently and apply changes based on what the team has learned. The key is asking the right questions, and using your project control tools, to ensure the project is being reviewed with a critical eye. In the adapt and close phase, we discuss the things that need to occur during the adapt phase. Here we will discuss some of the techniques available to obtain solid feedback. The first trick, is to not wait until the adapt phase to get feedback.
In the team room, have an area where team members can jot down lessons learned at any time. Insure the information is complete, so you have the context. Keep in mind, you don't need to know how you're going to resolve the issue. Just get the feedback written down. Sample items include, it's taking longer to complete medium sized features than planned. Daily stand up meetings are taking more than 15 minutes. I feel like I'm getting nowhere as new features surface all the time. Then, when it's time to have the Lessons Learned workshop at the end of the sprint, you'll have plenty of input to discuss. Typically, your in-sprint list of items, will spawn other Lessons Learned ideas from the workshop attendees.
Once you have all the lessons learned identified, prioritize the lessons learned feedback, based on the impact of the project, and then determine how to address each item. Focus on the team's high priority items. Here's an easy technique to prioritize the feedback. Let's say there are 30 items to prioritize. Give each workshop attendee 10 votes, and have them vote for the items they believe are most important to the project. They can spread their votes across several items, or put them all on one, if they want.
The top priority items are the top vote-getters. Now that you've prioritized the list of items that need correction, you'll need to identify the root cause of the problem, and how to apply corrections. Sometimes the solution is painfully obvious. Other times, it could be very difficult to determine the best way to address the problem. Your facilitation skills are needed at this time, to ensure everyone has a voice, and several good ideas are collected from the team. It's best to allow ideas to flow, and encourage creativity.
Crazy ideas can sometimes become great solutions. If possible, have someone from outside the team facilitate this workshop. This allows you to participate as a team member. If you want to determine the level of enthusiasm surrounding a solution while addressing lessons learned, I suggest you use the following technique, called the fist of 5. Each person votes using their fingers. 5 indicates they love the recommended solution. 4 means they're happy with it. 3 means they could live with it.
2 indicates they have reservations. And, 1 says they have grave misgivings. From there, you can can address the 1's, and 2's to determine their concerns, and modify the solution until everybody votes 3, 4, or 5. Whatever decisions are agreed, it is key for all project-related changes to be communicated to the core team, and extended stakeholders to ensure any new direction, is understood.
- What is agile project management?
- Selecting an agile project
- Scoping the project
- Designing your sprint structure
- Collecting requirements
- Running stand-up meetings
- Managing issues and risks
- Tracking lessons learned
- Responding to change requests
- Closing the project
- Spotting signs of trouble