I have had this problem from a different angle. When asking some employees for their daily/weekly commitments, some employees take the task breakdown too far and have a really long list of stuff that they commit to. Its is normally a long long list full of small tasks.
For Example, Lets take a team who has a weekly commitment to validate the Disaster Recovery Program (along with other commitments)
On Tuesday standup one employee says that he intends to:
- Unpack a new detachable disk
- Plug it on the network
- Ask IT to help configure it
- Run a backup
- Install a new restore VM
- Run a restore on another machine
- Validate the restore VM
This is fine and it is a good way to manage oneself, but the team doesn’t really have to know about this, is such detail.
Group the items
The manager/team at this point should say: Ok, lets group that. So you intend to:
- Verify that the SVN backup works.
That person can (and probably should) make the list for himself, so that if he sees that he is not going to fulfill his commitment, he can tell the team
- I will finish the backup only by tomorrow noon
At which the team might find a way to complete its weekly tasks anyway, and no event goes up the stream, or they might have to tell management about the new time table.
When raising the event use the grouped task
The commitment to management was validate the Disaster Recovery Program this week. If the team can still do it, so there is no need to tell management. If they can’t, they say:
- We won’t finish the DRP validation, this week, it will be done by Monday Evening.
Here management doesn’t get the noise but get the status of the tasks without needing to go to any meetings at all. At this point the manager will try help solve the delay.
In the chart above the tasks are broken as we go right, When a delay event is risen the tasks are grouped as we go left.
If we manage to solve it (above), all is fine, if not (below) management can make the right choices as it knows exactly what the status is.
No need to wait till the end of an iteration to know where we stand and no need to go to standup meeting of all the teams.