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Dan Fox

Software developer interested in learning New Things and applying them in Real Life

Lots is spoken about team culture in agile development. A lot of it isn’t really agile-specific… it’s just the nature of a team trying their best to deliver something. If you watch a football team play (soccer if you’re on the other side of the Atlantic) they work together as a team - if someone is struggling then the other players will work to ensure they have the protection and help they need. Similarly in software, if someone is struggling then people will rally around to help. It’s often attributed as a trait of agile of agile development (swarming) but in reality it’s simply the culture of any software team that wants to deliver a good product.

What’s often overlooked though is that that very same culture can apply to the relationships between software teams as well as between individuals. The teams can be working together to achieve something as a whole - in an enterprise application that might be a number of changes that need to be made across the enterprise by different teams in order for a feature to be delivered. Often such changes are co-ordinated in more of a project-delivery kind of way, but there’s felxibility in the way the teams work for crossver and communication (in fact, this is essential for the very same reason many companies prefer agile development over a waterfall process).

If one of these teams in the enterprise begins to struggle, there’s no point in other teams moving onto the Next Big Thing. Instead, take those principles that you know and use on a daily basis - standups, swarming etc - and apply them to teams. If a team is struggling, help them… it’s in the interest of everyone. Developers on other teams already know the project, they’re not starting from scratch. So why just let a team lag behind? Get involved and help them. Take work off them. deliver the feature - not just the changes to your codebase that you’re responsible for - because delivering the feature actually delivers value - the very thing at the heart of the agile manifesto.

It’s a little bit like a fractal of culture - if you’re prepared to help the girl/guy sat next to you with their code, be prepared to help you wider team, and your wider team should be prepared to help the department, the department ready to help the organisation… it goes on. Embed this culture in the individual, nuture it through the business and reap the rewards.