CHOW #71– Unlimited Uses of Limiting WIP

BlockBusters is a team using Kanban. They have been getting noticed of late for missed SLAs and defective deliveries. There were some changes in the team as new members have joined the team and some additional support work has got added to their existing work. In the last couple of retrospectives team members have brought out several points about some of them not being aware of all aspects of work, some members pointing out that they could have helped and so on. It seems to be clear there is scope for improvement in several aspects. Some action items identified are – team members should undergo training on specific areas, some experienced members to be brought into team and so on but Scrum Master feels not all of them are under their control and wants the team to see what they can do differently as a team. Can you help the Scrum Master and team to identify what all they can try to improve?

Suggested solution:

Looking at the situation it is clear that there are many areas where the team has scope for improvement. While the team members are identifying areas such as training and bringing in additional resources, Scrum Master is right in asking the team to identify areas of improvement within the existing team. Some of the areas where team can improve are:

Improving collaboration across team members

Looks like some team members are knowledgeable about many things and it would help if they are encouraged to pair up to work on tasks. This would help in knowledge transfer within team and also helps in reducing defects which seems to be one of the concerns. Pairing up helps in better reviews and after some time, they would be able to speed up deliveries as well.

Improving visibility

The fact that during retrospectives some team members thought they could have helped shows there may be poor visibility of work assignment, issues and progress. Else the team would have discussed these things during the iteration itself. Hence working on improving their value stream, making issues and status of work more visible would definitely help the team to focus on meeting SLAs.

Peer reviews

Increased defects could also be due to absence of or ineffective reviews. Identifying right people within team to conduct peer reviews would help the team to reduce defects.

These are some areas where the team can focus and these are well within the team’s control.

What do you think?

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