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Training Wheels Won’t Crash the Team

A lot of scrum practitioners believe that scrum only works when followed to the letter. And in some cases, that is actually true. But with teams that are just starting out with scrum, you have to allow for some empathy. In an article at Scrum Alliance, Tim Meyer shares a quick example of allowing a team to use some “training wheels” in the pursuit of becoming fully agile.

The Safe Way

Scrum dictates that the team self-assigns its stories, but Meyer was working with a team that liked for a project manager to assign them their tasks. Rather than throw the team into the deep end of the pool by forcing them to self-assign, Meyer opted to assign the team their tasks himself in the beginning:

Like the training wheels on bikes, team training wheels come at a cost. They usually slow down the team and result in inefficiency. They can also build bad habits. If I had continued to assign stories, the team would have remained reliant on me, as they had been on the previous project manager. But if done right, the “training wheels” can give the team time to experience and practice a skill before having to take responsibility for it. The best training wheels are temporary and provide help in a specific area — in this case, self-assigning stories.

Importantly, Meyer already had an exit strategy in mind when he first began assigning tasks. He gradually laid off of assigning tasks as the sprints went on, and as the team started to get a handle on how much work individuals could handle. Eventually, the team segued into self-assigning all of its own work, as Meyer had intended. Temporary training wheels just gave them a boost to arrive at that goal in a comfortable way.

You can view the original article here: https://www.scrumalliance.org/community/articles/2018/january/does-the-team-need-training-wheels

About John Friscia

John Friscia was the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success from 2015 through 2018. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and grew in every possible way in his time there. John graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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