embed – sprint 1

This week the project manager arrived to complete the small team I am in. What makes our project interesting is we are going to be “embedded” with the customer (who is internal). As far as can tell this is supposed to be the ultimate environment for successful agile software development. I intend to write about my experiences here.

The other interesting news is I will be the team leader. Whilst I was a team lead in my previous job it was really only by default and I intentionally avoided this position when I came back from my travels. Now I’m more than ready, but there will be plenty of challenges along the way and I’ll do my best to write about them as well.

We’ve completed one sprint and already I’ve found the customer (to be known as Mike) to be very resistant to getting involved in the process of creating their product. Mike clearly has a very busy job and is hoping we’ll just be reporting back once every couple of weeks with lots of amazing things that exactly fit his expectations (as we have amazing mind reading skills). We’ve asked him to get involved with planning, retrospectives and stand ups and he’s expressed a keen desire not to be involved. It will be very interesting to see how we will get around this resistance. To create brilliant software the customer has to be involved and I will consider it a personal failure if we do not succeed in drawing them in.

On the team lead front, unsurprisingly, I have found I am spending very little time coding and have been struggling to keep on top things. You simply cannot do everything that is asked of you so to keep my head above the water I’ve been concentrating my efforts on recognising what is most important and doing that well. This is quite a skill as some people are very good at making a lot of noise, whilst other more important issues may timidly bubble under the surface (waiting to explode like a geyser). I’ve also tried to delegate as much as I can to the other members of my team which makes me feel uncomfortable, but I know it has to be done. The urge to constantly check up on their progress is hard to resist but they’re good people and I trust them so I’m doing my best not to be too much of a nag.

Over the next few sprints I’ll be focusing on getting Mike more interested in taking part and bringing our PM (who is new to agile) up to speed. Hopefully I’ll also get to cut a bit more code…

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