How often did you hear in a project, when it went wrong: “Yeah, no surprise for me”, or “I told you…”. Very frustrating because those team members had the information they did not share with the rest of the team. What can you do to prevent this from happening?
First of all, make sure you have a working environment where people feel free to speak out their opinion! This is essential for me, and a must-have for every project/team. If this value is not in place, your project will always fail.
Create a simple dashboard that you update regularly. I read about this idea in Lean from the Trenches from +Henrik Kniberg.
As soon as your deadline is know, you regularly vote on how realistic it is to make the deadline.
For example, the release date of the new version is February 1st. January is the hardening sprint, fixing the last bugs, testing the final installation, creating release notes etc. You prepare a large paper sheet or use a whiteboard. Clearly, describe the goal on top of the paper! For example: “Release version 2.4 to customers on February 1st”.Every team member has to vote how realistic the plan is after the daily scrum. You vote between one and five. If a team member votes one, he is confident the release will be there on time. When a team member votes five, he has totally not faith in the release date. You could start daily or just with three times a week and to the end vote every day.
When all team members vote in the same area, no worries. Except when they all below three in the last week. When they all vote in the same area, all information is probably on the table. It is up to the team, scrum master, project manager, release manager, product owner, to take action.
When some team members vote below three, and some above three, it gets interesting. What information is not available to whom? Is the tester not informed the bug is already solved, did the architect found a major issue in the framework, did someone request leave in the next week? In this scenario, the discussion should start, and information should be exchanged.
Does this save your project? No, but it will help improve transparency in the project. And having transparency is required to have a successful project.
By an explicit vote, all team members have to share their feeling, and also all the information they have. By using this system you will probably no longer have the situation that some team members will say on the release: “Of course we did not release. Because….”