Experiments Per Week

It strikes me that a team subscribing to the Agile Manifesto should be changing constantly. Woody Zuill often discusses an important principle arising out of the Agile Manifesto “Responding to Change over following the plan”:

To improve a team must frequently question their most deeply held beliefs.

A corrollary to that is that a team must:

The more often that a team devises, utilizes, and reflects on experimental changes to their processes on a project the better.

This statement leads to a fuzzy metric that I’ll call Experiments Per Week (EPW). EPW can be used to gauge the health of a team as it works on a given project.

Devise

First team members need to think of an experiment to run.
Experimental changes to consider:

  • Change size of team
  • Cancel a meeting
  • Restrict email use
  • Change pair structure (Mob Programming, pairing previously unpaired roles, etc.?)
  • Stop Estimating

Utilize

Enough team members must buy into trying the experiment for it to be successful. For personal experiments the only one to buy on may be an individual. For larger experiments more team members need to “sign-on” to try the experiment.

Reflect

The end-of-experiment reflection time could be called a debrief, a retrospective, or something else. But after a fixed amount of time to try the experiment the team must decide how it went.

  • What went well
  • What was different
  • What were the surpises
  • Did we add value
  • Could this experiment be broadened or changed to reflect new circumstances?
  • Should we try the experiment again

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