Build Effective Relationships

Unless you’re writing software by and for yourself, you will have to deal with at least one other person somewhere during the process. A grudging détente is not enough; you need to work together effectively. This means forming solid working relationships that are built on honesty, trust, cooperation, openness, and mutual respect.

You can’t force people to do this. The best your agile method can do is support these sorts of relationships. For example, one way to engender healthy interaction is to have people sit together and collaborate in pursuit of common goals.

It’s far easier, unfortunately, to craft your method in a way that discourages healthy relationships. An extreme example (sadly, one that actually happens) is forcing all developer communication with stakeholders to go through business analysts. As another example, a sure way to damage programmer/tester relationships is to require them to communicate solely through the bug-tracking system.

Blame-oriented cultures also sabotage relationships. Get rid of blame by introducing collaboration and avoiding practices that indicate a lack of trust. Rather than forcing stakeholders to sign a requirements document, work together to identify and clarify requirements and review progress iteratively. Rather than telling developers that they can’t produce any bugs and testers that they must find all the bugs, ask developers and testers to work together to ensure that customers don’t find any bugs.

It’s easy—especially ...

Get The Art of Agile Development now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.