Monday, October 26, 2009

Need for matured developers in Agile Teams – A Myth

I have heard many times from in-experienced scrum coaches saying Agile projects need matured team members.

The Big myth
The above statement is as big a myth as the one which says Agile projects follow no documentation

The answers I got…
I had asked one of those in-experienced scrum coaches the following questions,

  What do you mean by Matured team members ? 
  Why do you think Agile projects need more matured team members ?

The answers surprised me a lot, the answers were

   Matured team means, a team with more experienced people  
   The reason we need matured teams is because, concepts like self organizing teams and self managing teams are easily understood and implemented  by experienced developers as compared to juniors.

They also say that the junior developers mis-use the freedom and trust shown in Agile projects and so, they are not suitable !!

Does maturity comes with Age ?

My view is, maturity to a person does not come with age or more experience at work.  Secondly, concepts like self organizing and self managing teams need the fundamental value, trust to succeed than any software development skill or experience.

I strongly believe that, individual team members shouldn’t be blamed. This is because, the culture followed within the team is strongly influenced by the person leading the team.

According to the greatest thinker, Peter Senge,

We must look beyond individual mistakes or bad luck to understand important problems. We must look at the underlying structures which shape individual actions and create the conditions where types of events become likely

So, if a junior team member is not doing his/her assigned job, instead of blaming him/her, we should look at the system which is driving this character within them.


Success of Agile projects does not depend on the experiences of the team members but on the fundamental value driving the system.


Paweł Lipiński said...

I've read your post with quite an astonishment. Do you mean (especially with the last sentence) that you believe that ANY team of developers will achieve a success in ANY project having a good 'value driving the system' (whatever that completely unspecified thing is)?

Check out the agile manifesto principle #9. How can a team of unexperienced developers gain technical excellence?

I don't say agile methods fit only experienced teams. I say ANY method needs an experienced team (which is not equal to "only experienced developers" - there may be some unexperienced ones.) Success of a project cannot be ensured by any process / method - these are only tools. And as you know we value people more than tools. You cannot ensure building a good house by having only good process and tools. In the end these are the humans who put the whole thing together.


Venkatesh Krishnamurthy said...


Thanks for the comments. I totally agree with what you are saying and also would like to add that a project neglicting either the junior/inexpereineced developers or the senior/experienced developers would fail. We need to have a good mix of both types of developers. My point in the article, don't ignore juniors include them too !