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Discussion board 1 - Collaborative culture in Agile gives space to each member with interpersonal skills to think out loud and speak out their minds and works towards finding the best solution. Valuing individuals and interactions more than processes and tools is one of the four fundamental principles contained in the Agile manifesto, emphasized that one would understand that the success of the agile projects depends on the team, that is, the people, their open communication and collaboration among them to deliver not just a tested and running product but a quality and acceptable product.

However, Agile way of working doesn’t guarantee that there will be no problems. Lack of experience with agile methods, lack of management support, lack of agile-ready culture, unwillingness of team to follow agile, wider organizational or communications problem, groupthink are just few impediments to say about building a healthy agile collaboration (Boehm 2002; Haas 2007; Wysocki 2007).

Nevertheless, Agile teams need to deal with problems themselves, by recognizing the impediments, understanding how they are blocking the team, seek effective solutions to deal with based on the provided retrospective, daily stand-up, moving back-and-forth until more information is available and act upon it.

For instance, co-location is most important for XP teams, as XP teams rely heavily on extensive verbal communication and pair programming. In addition, collaboration tool-sets enhances collaboration, and these tools can either be non-technological like whiteboards, Kanban Boards, Post-it notes, etc., or purely technology based like Google Apps, DropBox, Trello, Asana, etc. Factors that affect selection are, team size and working style, ability to integrate with other tools, real-time collaboration, and so forth (Wood, 2016).

Thus, with the rapidly changing technology landscape, competitive pressures, and changing needs of the end users, I do see an ongoing hindrance to respond more quickly and effectively. Agile is extremely powerful, but creating a corporate collaborative culture is extremely difficult, which requires a firm vision, executive support, strong governance, learn and change culture, and a clear agile roadmap.

In one of my agile projects, I noticed that participation in daily stand-up has been declining and that team members have started reverting to email communication to accomplish tasks. Any suggestions on how do we handle this situation?


Discussion board 2 - Communication is the key for every project manager to be effective, especially in the explore phase. The end result of this phase is to “deliver running, tested, accepted stories” (Highsmith, 2014). To reach this end state, it is vital for the project manager to enhance team productivity without the sense of an overbearing manager. Highsmith (2014) states that a project leader needs to monitor the operation without micro-managing, primarily by establishing and monitoring performance goals rather than tasks. This overbearing tendency of manager’s can absolutely oppress the team and cause resistance in its flow. Instead, good project and iteration leaders remind the team about the goals from time to time by revisiting the key constraints and by reinvigorating the group with the ultimate vision and objectives of the project (Highsmith, 2014). Many text regarding agile always come back to this motif, having a vision. This vision will enlighten the team and allow them to review the end state as leaders will manage outcomes, and not activities (Highsmith, 2014).

As a pilot and flight instructor, having a vision is extremely important. In my current phase of instructing, I take a student who has never seen a helicopter and in ten fly days, have them solo the aircraft. Encompassing a vision helps bring out the end product of the pilot I want the student to become. This role takes consistent patience and trust. Patience in what I am explaining might take several versions before it connects to the student and trust in the training system which will adequately groom a young aviator into a helicopter pilot. In the aircraft, trust is built upon knowledge and studying the material which then progresses into the flights. In management teams, trust is the confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group (Lencioni, 2002).

As the syllabus progresses and personalities are understood, it is important to use emotional intelligence to understand the mood you, as the leader, portray to the people and to understand the status/state your people are in. Emotional intelligence is contagious and a leader’s mood will resonate with the team (Highsmith, 2014), thus understanding social interactions and most importantly, the people which you lead, are extremely significant.

As leaders and project managers, it is important to use the aforementioned tools in order to promote collaboration. Buckingham & Coffman (1999) state the manager’s role is to reach inside each employee and release his unique talents into performance. This is completed by fostering an atmosphere with an illuminated end goal based on trust with a leader that understands social interaction with a level of emotional intelligence.

Which trait would you emphasize over others? And why?


Discussion board 3

Part 1: Look in the literature and comment on:
The Agile Manifesto emphasizes value on individuals and interactions over processes and tools, specifically encouraging face-to-face communication as the most effective way of conveying information and collaboration between Agile teams (Agilemanifesto.org, 2015). Effective collaboration enables teams to develop workable solutions to complex problems. However, this is constantly challenged with large, distributed teams, forcing communications into different directions.

The following are examples of how agile theorists have advocated building collaboration and address their impediments?

Organizational Ideas

Clear objectives and separation of work: In order to ensure that teams are each driving solutions towards delivery, teams need to maintain a backlog.

Impediment: The backlog should not be confused with a "requirements document" (Agile Alliance, n.d.).

No departmental silos: encourage a culture supported at the organization level.

Impediment: The negative impact of departmental silos occurs when departments prioritize their own goals.

Multiple Product Owners Check-in: There needs to be a forum for Product Owners to discuss scope, acceptance criteria, and dependencies. This allows organizations to drive priorities.

Impediment: If there are multiple product managers working on one product, teams can easily be confused about the priority of their work (Brodzinski, 2010).

Cross-Team Release Planning: Regularly scheduled to map cross-team dependencies and help teams understand how all separate team efforts contribute and integrate into the final solution.

Technical Ideas

Knowledge databases. This is web-based and allows team members to share explicit knowledge. An example is a wiki.

Impediment: wikis are great for collaboration. Because anyone can contribute, the content may be inaccurate, outdated, and styling inconsistent (Georgiev, 2013).

Software Configuration management tools (SCM). Configuration management tools offer all the same perks and provisions that used to be done manually, now operated by machine..

Communication tools. Asynchronous communication tools include email, mailing lists, newsgroups, web forums and, more recently blogs; synchronous tools include the classic telephone and conference calls, chat, instant messaging, VoIP, and video conferencing (Lanubile, 2009).

Impediment: The downside is that employees are less likely to engage in social activities away from their computers. Watercooler talk now takes place by IM, rather than face to face. Many people sit at home talking via IM rather than on the phone or in person.

War room. Using a war room strategy at key milestones during an agile software project can be very beneficial because it allows for clear and quick communication between team members, “creates an environment where issues can be quickly identified and resolved, removes outside distractions, and promotes collaboration between team members” (Knox, 2017).

Impediment: Many businesses do not have the space available to construct a war room for all its teams, or even the highest priority team.

Part 2: Look at your current or past organization:

"We are spending more time collaborating. But what good is it doing us? How much does it cost? How will we know what all this collaboration is worth?" Reb Rebele, a researcher, asked during his master’s series presentation "Working Together: Using Data and Analytics for Better Collaboration and Culture" at the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition (Moss, 2018).

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Agile methods stress the importance of collaboration most importantly working with the cross-functional teams that would encourage communication with the business owners and also the IT teams. As one can observe, feedback, motivation and communication are the three Agile manifesto principles that lead to successful team collaboration.
Continuous collaboration between the team members help in great opportunities to measure the project success by getting feedback from customers at each life cycle of the project. Collaboration creates a framework for faster time-to-market and a nimble process to deliver successful project outcomes. For the collaboration to happen, daily scrum meetings are a must in agile environment. However when the team members get tired of daily scrum meetings, they tend to go to earlier methods like Email communication which will not be beneficial in an Agile environment....

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