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Agile Team as a Product?

James Carr (@jamescarr, http://blog.james-carr.org/) is an agile developer in Missouri, USA.  I met him through Twitter and hope to meet him in person one day.  A nice guy with usually good things to say!

This morning James posed a question about sharing lessons learned between teams:

Any quick suggestions on how to facilitate a retrospective over a team attending training to decide how to teach what they learned?  (http://twitter.com/jamescarr/status/1706359397)

Scrum and other agile methods promote the practice of regular retrospectives or team reviews at the end of each interation.  The team spends time specifically evaluating things that went right and wrong during the last development sprint.  This way the team learns to get better and better over time.

If your company has several or many teams, wouldn’t it be good to spread the lessons each team learns with all of the other teams?  And, if you have a new team with developers new to agile practices, wouldn’t it be good to prevent them from “re-inventing the wheel” on their path to being a great team?  Certainly these are great goals.  To the question posed by James, what is good way to pass on this information?

As I attempted to respond, a thought struck me about new agile teams and how they can learn to be great agile teams.

  • During or just after a retrospective, write down the team’s lessons as an agile story on a story card, following the template wording using roles.

As a <role> I/we should <learned behavior> so that I/we can <benefit of learned behavior>.

  • Set aside a wall, literal or virtual, on which these story cards are placed.  The wall must be visible to all teams.

These lesson stories become a “Product Backlog” for producing the ideal agile team!  Heck, a department director could be the “Product Owner” and prioritize the lesson stories for the teams to ensure they are applying the lessons!  I get excited just thinking about the learning culture this could create!

I need to figure out how to do this with our teams!

I have not tried this yet, nor have I heard of the idea anywhere else.  I’m sure there are many ways to share lessons learned between teams.  Comment below on your thoughts of this “Team as a Product” idea or other ways that help share lessons between teams.

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