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Discussion on: Have you ever, or do you currently, work on an Agile team?

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Oracle Sean ♠️

I'll echo what others have said. Done right, Scrum can be a positive experience. Done poorly (like anything) it's a nightmare.

My very first exposure to Agile was attending a retro at a shop that did it poorly. It was a toxic environment to begin with. A wall was covered with post-its, most complaining about people and process, none constructive or professional. I learned people dictated their comments to a friend or partner or wrote with their off hand so the handwriting wasn't identifiable (with the exception of two resignation notices). That's not how to do it.

Since then I learned to appreciate the retro. It's an opportunity to constructively reflect, speak up and improve process. Some teams/individuals have difficulty with the idea, even feeling attacked. Having a capable Scrum leader helps soothe and moderate the conversation. A Scrum leader is more than a project manager or lead and I recommend finding someone with the training and temperament needed to manage the work and personalities. That person can make or break your Scrum!

To your question on cross-functionality, I'm a database engineer and not a developer and embedded with many cross-functional teams over the years. In a waterfall or traditional system I'm an SME, isolated from the day-to-day. My interactions are at a high level or responding to direct questions and my exposure is limited. In Scrum, I'm aware of everything going on and what's coming down the line. Scrum gives Ops/SME folks more view and voice in a product, project or application. That affords greater ability to intercept poor design and code decisions early, when there's still flexibility, vs. trying to accommodate bad code.

I've worked Scrum on Ops/DevOps teams, too, and while the implementation is usually different (longer sprints, 1x or 2x weekly vs. daily stand-ups, more Kanban style) I prefer it to waterfall. More awareness, more visibility, better measurement and reporting. My tech career goes back to 1989 and the (properly done) Scrum/Agile teams/environments were consistently more productive, performed better, got along better, and more enjoyable.