So, creating a Agile team sounds good on paper, but making this a reality is often harder in most organizations. The hardest part of moving to dedication of team members is first believing that the benefits are worth enduring the pain that often accompanies this move. In the “pre-dedication” way of working, team members would move from team to team as the project heated up in a certain area or when a specific team needed the specialized skills only that team members possessed. These “pre-dedication” team members were also at the whim of the project manager who was bequeathed with the holistic knowledge of the “big picture” and could decide at any given moment that which agile project or which part of which agile project a team member was working that day. So, these team members would spend 25% of their time on Project A, 30% on Project B, 35% on Project C, and 10% on Project D. But, did anyone remember that all this context switching was an enormous drain on that team member and he / she was left with either putting in 25% overtime or being late on at least 3 of these 4 agile projects. As a scrum team member, a lack of dedication can kill your ability to deliver and not to mention your motivation to be at work.
So, how do you make sure your team members are dedicated to achieving the Goals? At the root of making this a reality, you need highly supportive leaders and a capable Product Owner who is highly available to the team. If you have leaders whom really care about supporting their teams, they will work diligently to get distractions off your team members’ plates and clear the path for dedication. This clear path only has the work associated with the committed Sprint Goals. Any other work that tries to make its way onto this path is rapidly swept away by leadership because they take on the tough business discussions clarifying how the team works and why that new work can wait until a future Sprint. Having a well-organized Product Backlog brings clarity of direction to the team doing Sprint Planning. With a Product Backlog that the whole organization understands and visibility into the results of the Sprint Planning, there are no surprises. With planning expectations leading to fulfilled delivery expectations, there is little reason to push additional work towards the team.
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