schedule 02:30 PM - 02:30 PM place Esquire

The term "cross functional team" has been made popular by the Agile movement. In cross functional team, we put people with different roles to work together for a common goal/purpose.

I have seen this worked really well in many agile teams. People are no longer on silo and everyone have better understanding what each other's role is and consequently, what each other do. This leads to better self organising within the team.

However, I strongly believe we can take this concept to the new level. The concept of cross functional team should be extended to not just the team but also to the individuals within the team. Scott Ambler wrote an essay on "Generalising Specialist". The term T-shaped developer was introduced by Mary and Tom Poppendieck in her famous book "Lean Software Development". By nature, people don't like to get out of their comfort zone, hence the tendency to keep working in area that they are familiar with. When leaders can create an environment where everyone is encouraged to learn, grow and make mistakes, amazing things can happen.

In my experience leading teams, I have witnessed many transformations that enabled individuals to go beyond their traditional role, such as a manual QA assuming Scrum Master role, a BA doing deployment, a developer doing QA for a story, etc. Not only this enablement help develop the individuals to widen their horizon and skillset, it also helped the productivity of the team through better collaboration. When a team reach this stage, we no longer have problems such as "The QA has nothing to do because there are no stories to test", "The developers have nothing to do because the cannot keep up", "The deployment took longer than expected because the Ops person was not aware of the special configuration".

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • Key issues observed with a team of specialists
  • Key benefits of a team with T-shaped people
  • Challenges in shaping a team of specialists to a team of T-shaped people and how we overcame those challenges
  • Q&A

Learning Outcome

  • The benefit of having T-shaped people in your team
  • How to turn your specialist to a T-shaped people
  • How to breed a culture of learning and growing

Target Audience

Iteration Managers, Scrum Masters, Team Leaders, Delivery Managers

schedule Submitted 4 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Ellen Grove
    By Ellen Grove  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Thanks for posting your slides Herry!

  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Herry, I like the title of your proposal, however I feel it might not communicate the focus of your talk. From what I understand, your talk is focused on "genralzing specialists" or T-Shaped Developers. Personally I think its an important area, esp. when teams are moving to an agile culture. 

    I would suggest you refactor your proposal to make this a 20 mins experience report and focus on your personal experience of how you guys created genralizing specialists in your team, what challenges did you face and how did you over come them?

    Once refactored, I think your proposals would be a great fit under the scaling agile adoption theme and would request you to kindly move it to that theme.

    • Herry Wiputra
      By Herry Wiputra  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh,

      Thanks for your comments.

      You are right, my talk is focused in building a team of generalised specialists or T-shaped engineers/developers to remove the mini waterfall tendency that usually happens within a team that is new to Agile.

      I am happy to make it into an experience report but I feel that it may not be sufficient to convey my message on the importance of growing a generalised specialist so your team can be a laser focused team where everyone can contribute in every aspect towards achieving the goal of the team. I will definitely discuss the challenges that I faced in this talk too. What do you think?

      In regards to the theme, it can fit both "Scaling agile" or "Beyond agile". I originally had it as "Scaling agile" but Vivek kindly suggested that I moved it to "Beyond agile" which I think is a better fit for this topic. A lot of companies feel that they have done Agile when they are doing standup, retro and cross collaboration team a.k.a the "Shu". Using the example of taking the collaboration of Agile team to a new level, I like to challenge the audience that we can get beyond "Do Agile" and more towards "Be Agile".

      Herry 

      • Naresh Jain
        By Naresh Jain  ~  3 years ago
        reply Reply

        Thanks for the prompt response, Herry.

        As an experience report session, you would be expected to write a 2-4 page experience report, which would be publised by the conference. You would be able to capture all your learnings in this report. In your 20 mins talk at the conference, you can focus on the key learning. Between the experience report and the talk, I'm sure you will be able to stronlgy convey your message.  And in fact, reach more people beyond the conference attendees.

        Also IMHO, the topic of genralizing specialists is clearly Agile 101 stuff. People have been talking about this stuff for over a decade now. Its a different issue that many companies are not practicing many Agile basics. However that does not justify the topic to be under Beyond Agile theme.

        If you agree to the above, request you to please make the changes to the proposal ASAP, we would like to accept it and announce the program. 

        Thanks again for your considerations.

        • Herry Wiputra
          By Herry Wiputra  ~  3 years ago
          reply Reply

          Thanks Naresh.

          I agree with your suggestion and has modified my submission accordingly.

          When do I need to submit the experience report by?

          Thanks,

          Herry

  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Herry - I was not able to relate the learning outcomes to the deck you have shared. T-shaped careers is an interesting topic (though has been around for ~20 years or more) and I do believe there is a great fit within agile teams. However, I would like to know specific examples of people that sort of metamorphised to T-shape career, what it took, what was their effectiveness, what were their motivation levels before and after such transformation, what the impact on the project and the business, and so on. Your presentation seemed to focus on how you ramped up the team, which is an interesting topic by itself, but doesn't talk about what you have mentioned in the learning outcomes.

    -TV

    • Herry Wiputra
      By Herry Wiputra  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi TV,

      Thank you for your comments.

      The deck that I have shared has nothing to do with it. It is more an example of another presentation that I have done in the past. The slide sections says that if I don't have any slides for this presentation ready, I can just upload any slides that I had in the past, hence what I did.

      This presentation is brand new and I have not done the slides for it. This is something that I have been very passionate about and now that I have done this few times in my career, I feel that I have enough examples to share it with others. All those things that you have mentioned will be touched in my presentation.

      Herry

  • Herry Wiputra
    By Herry Wiputra  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Vivek,

    It can actually fit both subject, but for what I want to talk about, I think you are right, Beyond Agile makes more sense.

    Thank you very much for your feedback. Much appreciated!

    Herry

  • Vivek Vijayan
    By Vivek Vijayan  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Herry 

    Great topic and very different! Do you think this proposal would be more apt for "beyond agile" instead? Your proposal does not seem to me that it deals with scaling but something that can be tried as a by-product of agile. Is my inference correct? 

     

    Thanks

    Vivek.


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    Despite being a CMMI Level 5 company, in the early 2000 business exigencies prompted Wipro to look towards a sustainable continuous improvement drive.  Wipro started it Lean-Agile transformation initiative way back in 2004-05. In the initial days, the euphoria of a new subject helped in the adoption. The evangelists came from the ranks and their success stories helped us in broadbasing the initiative. In the past decade or so the organization has grown 5 fold – not to mention the increase in the complexity of operations. The early adopters and evangelists too were not in a position to take ahead the journey. They often took up different roles either within the organization or externally. Knowledge became tribal in nature without there being a continuous cycle for continuous improvement. 

    This is a live case study of how the organization took ahead the transformation initiative and breathed fresh life into it, in an environment which was much more challenging. We built a cadence of Continuous Improvement by

    1. Adopting a SuHaRi model of Inform-Perform-Transform  
    2. Aligning the roles and responsibilities to aid Continuous Improvement
    3. Building a rewards and recognition programme for increased participation
    4. Involving Senior leadership to drive the cultural change by aligning policies and principles
    5. Measuring engagement and effectiveness – not only in terms of measurable metrics, but also in terms of intangible benefits
  • Liked Howard Deiner
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    Howard Deiner - Contracts in the Age of Agility

    45 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    “Fixed price, fixed deliverables, and fixed schedule” contracts are just about the worst way to write contracts involving software, yet they are the most popular – so what are some techniques to use to fix that?

    Organizations that perform professional services for software development or develop software on a work for hire basis are usually engaged bound by extensive contracts.  These contracts are typically characterized as “fixed price, fixed deliverables, and fixed schedule.”  These, of course, are the vertices of the “Iron Triangle of Software Development” and foreshadow a poor outcome due to issues that make the requirements gathering and project estimation phases that precede contract negotiation so prone to error.

    Given this, the question becomes one of “how can I engage clients in a way that allows us each to achieve our goals?”  If Agile and Lean methods are the status quo for good development practices, how can I write contracts for development services that embrace this mindset and let each side achieve it’s goals better?  This lecture and roundtable explores the many facets of this question and provides the attendee answers that they can use going forward.