Thursday, March 17, 2011

Agile Principle 4: Cross-Functional Collaboration

Let's take a look at the fourth underlying principle of the agile manifesto:
"Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project."
What does that really mean? What are the implications for our daily business? Let's analyze this principle and see where this gets us.
  • "Business people" - there are people with a vast knowledge of the product's target markets, its users and customers, and its needed features. These people should not be the developers of the product as they normally tend to implement developer-centric, fancy things. The 'business people' should be the ones grooming and prioritizing the product features of the largest customer and business value.
    Values: Respect, Communication
    Principles: Active user involvement, Economics
    Practices: Real customer Involvement, Whole Team
  • "Developers" - in terms of "product developers" not solely coding software developers. This includes also testers, technical writers, interface designers, business analysts, and whatever role is necessary to give input and create a working software product.
    Values: Respect, Communication
    Principles: Diversity, Humanity
    Practices: Whole Team
  • "must work together" - it is not helpful to let experts work on their own and pass over their finished results to the next expert in a process chain. Their output rather should be the result of strong collaboration and communication.
    Values: Communication
    Principles: Diversity, Mutual Benefit, Collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders
    Practices: Whole Team
  • "daily" - collaboration and communication do only work well on a continuous basis. The Product Owner has to be present and available to the team during the whole iterations, not just at the planning and review meeting.
    Values: Focus, Commitment
    Principles: Flow, Iterative
    Practices: Sit Together, Osmotic Communication, Daily Scrum, Whole Team
  • "throughout the project" - collaboration and communication do not happen during specific project 'phases' only. They need to happen right from the start until the end of the project.
    Values: Commitment, Focus
    Principles: Frequent Delivery, Flow, Iterative, Collaboration and cooperation between all stakeholders
    Practices: Team Continuity, Energized Work (Continuous Pace)
To say it in three words, the fourth principle is about Cross-Functional Collaboration.

Also read in this blog post series:

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