Jan 22nd, 2021

Agile Tarradiddles

Satyajit Gantayat
Satyajit Gantayat

Satyajit has broad and deep experience in Agile coaching at the strategic senior executive level wh... Read more


Neena, the PMO Manager is on a mission. Her organization is aiming to be appraised at Level 5 of the CMMI. She must organize all the necessary documents needed for the next internal audit. This audit is important for the next external audit. The PMO has been working tirelessly for this for the last six months.

Neena has scheduled review meetings with the Scrum Masters of all the Scrum Teams working for all 4 Products. Today, she is meeting Suresh, the SM for a couple of Scrum Teams working on the e-Commerce website development project.

Neena: "Hey Suresh, let us do a quick review of your project. We had some action items from the last review. There are a lot of documents pending for your project to meet the PMO standards. According to the PMO, the health of your project is alarmingly red".

Suresh: "Sure, Neena. Nice of you for working so hard in reviewing our project and pointing out where we lack. But, our customers seem to be happy with the increment which the two teams are delivering. We do seek and get feedback from our customers after every sprint. And the feedbacks have been positive".

Neena: "I agree but that is not important. Anything could go wrong anytime and the customer can escalate the issues to the top management in such cases. We have to be prepared with all the necessary documents. Remember, prevention is better than cure".

Suresh: "But, the team is focused on creating value for the customer and since we have a mechanism to receive continuous feedback, we would know early if something goes wrong".

Neena: "That's not the point, Suresh. As per our standards, we must have all the necessary documents. I pointed out in our last review that the Risk Tracker, Corrective Actions, and Metric Tracker are missing for your project. Please get these documents prepared from the first sprint onwards. Otherwise, I will have to report your project as RED to the higher management".

Suresh (a bewildered SM): "Sure Neena, I will spend the entire weekend preparing these documents. Thank you for your help".

No offense to Neena's profession, her objective, or the organization's goal in getting itself CMMI certified.


Vijay is the Scrum Master for a couple of Scrum Teams that are building a mobile app for Booking Facilities. He has a list of impediments. A lot of those could only be resolved with the help of Senior Management. One of the impediments is the lack of UX designers in the teams. Without this specialized skill, a lot of user experience aspects in the mobile app would be missing. These are crucial for the product to be accepted by the users.

Vijay decides to talk to the organization’s Delivery Director, Raj and fixed a meeting.

Vijay: “Boss, I need to talk to you about some issues the Scrum Teams are facing to produce DONE increments after the sprints”.

Raj: “Sure, go ahead. But aren’t you the Scrum Master and supposed to help fix the impediments for the teams"?

Vijay: “That’s correct. But this problem is about a lack of specific skills. I guess we need to hire or get folks with these skills from other projects. UX is part of the Definition of Done and without these UX skills, the mobile app which we are building is not really going to be used by the users. And thus, I don't think we are going to add a lot of business value to this product".

Raj: "Oh, I see. As I understand, UX is just another technology. If a Java developer can learn how to develop an Android application, I don't see why someone from the existing team can't fulfill the role of a UX designer. Why don't you work with the Development Team to see if some of the developers could be cross-skilled? After all, the Development Team is supposed to be self-managed". Änd, please go through the Scrum Guide again to know more about self-managed teams".

Vijay: "Sure, Boss. Thank you for the suggestion".

Satyajit Gantayat

Satyajit has broad and deep experience in Agile coaching at the strategic senior executive level while also coaching and uplifting the capability of teams and individuals. An Agile Coach and SAFe® Practice Consultant with more than 24 years of experience.

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