Chapter 61. Serve Your Team

Karen Gillison

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LONG BEFORE I HEARD OF AN AGILE[20] METHODOLOGY, I worked with the best project manager I ever met. Looking back, he was using prototype techniques from the agile approach. He viewed his job as a facilitator for the team. He saw his day-to-day duties as identifying and removing obstacles, and providing team resources. He was doing things that increase team velocity.[21]

There were no multihour meetings where you fight to stay awake until it’s your turn to provide a status update—the ones where you wish you could escape and actually write some code, so you will have some progress to report for the next meeting. Instead, we started each project with a kick-off meeting, inviting people with job functions from requirements to testing. The whole team met to get a shared vision and understanding of the project. Then, every few days, the project manager would come by for what we called “doorway” status meetings. Each teammate gave a brief update on what was complete, what was in progress, and what issues were critical.

This project manager tracked project status in a visual, obvious way. He had a master spreadsheet for all the assignments, listing who should complete them. He updated this document regularly, and posted a large printout outside his doorway. Having information posted where we could all see it was great for team communication. An added ...

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