Here is a story of a situation that we had to solve back in February. The background of this is our web site and our web site developer. Our web site developer was frustrated that he didn’t have a complete upfront design but the management take is that we have to be agile, get some parts done, time box the design and rethink as we go along, facilitate change and be lean with a YAGNI approach.
This is a typical Agile vs Upfront Design argument.
But the developer was frustrated, and kept on complaining – complaining is really bad, its an energy killer, completely opposite to our Integrity management and our Agile/Lean company culture.
Raise the issue
The first step is to raise the issue as one we need to solve, this is an important step as sometimes these issues can be ignored by the team and the management.
With the help of my coaching, I ask myself the following question.
Although I know that Agile is the better way, perhaps the signals we getting are true? Perhaps we do need more upfront design meetings? This was a breakthrough on my side, as I always thought that I was right, and now I opened the possibility that the developers are correct.
So, in our weekly Integrity Meeting I raise the issue, we had a small discussion and then we asked the developers to join us in the meeting and we asked them:
“We know that when we put our forces together – we can do the impossible, so how can we solve this? What do you need to complete the new web site? We are here to help, what can we give you to help you?”
When the developers started to complain, I explained, that the company doesn’t pay anyone to complain, it doesn’t help, we are paid to find solution. Please tell us exactly what you need and we will give it to you.
They told us the following list:
- Meetings – we need kickoff and brain storming meetings
- Page designs – we need page designs
- Who chooses – who has the final choice
- Text content writer – we need a content writer
- Graphics – we need graphics
- Back-office – we need someone to handle the Back Office
- Test – we need a test web site
We gave them all they needed.
- Meetings – we setup two meetings
- Page designs – we gave them the page designs (we had them already)
- Who chooses – we told them who has the last choice
- Text content writer – we told them who will write and when
- Graphics – we gave them the number of our graphic designer
- Back-office – we told them who our back office developer consultant is
- Test – we set up a task to build the test site.
Now I asked if they need anything else? If they have everything to create the new web site?
The answer was yes, they had all they needed to complete the site.
At the end of meeting everyone felt that we are doing the right thing – and that we solved it correctly.