Friday, June 5, 2009

Stay focused!

In a team that I am coaching at the moment a problem with focus came up as they got closer to the end of an iteration. In the retrospective the team talked about the loss of energy and motivation towards the end of the iteration and decided that they had probably undercommitted and decided to shorten the next iteration since it contained less work and the goal was to get the software released. They estimated that they would be done in a week.

As the estimated week came to an end they again experienced a loss of energy and motivation. We had a discussion about it. If the length of the iteration did not stop them from loosing focus at the end then what was?

If I look at a typical iteration it contains larger chunks of work at the beginning. Towards the end the chunks get smaller; defects, adjustments, updates to documents and models and new small chunks keep appearing as the team runs test sessions. The problem seems to be that the smaller the chunks of work becomes the more the team loses focus.

In this case we solved it by shortening the lenght between team synchronization, from once a day to twice a day and that seemed to solve the problem. A simple solution to a difficult problem...

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