Rediscovering the Obvious

…stumbling in the footsteps of greatness

Teams are accountable…

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I just threw my opinion in to a discussion on the lonely coaches society, and realized my answer may be valuable to share here, as well. The crux of the discussion is around accountability, especially focusing on the absence of individual accountability. Here was my contribution:

… I usually use something like the following, stopping when I’ve capped the scale of the company I’m working in at the time. I’ll use SAFe-based language here, but I customize it for my audience’s environment.

People (or pairs) are accountable to their team, talking in a language of tasks. The cost of being wrong is very small, because you’re doing this planning and committing every day, so the consequence of being wrong is also extremely low.

Teams are accountable to their release train, committing in the language of stories, usually every week or two. The cost of being completely wrong is a bit higher here, but if a team is close to its commitment, either over or under, the consequences should be equally light.

Release trains are accountable to their portfolio, committing in the language of features, usually every couple of months, perhaps a quarter. The cost of being wrong could be higher here, because associated groups in the business will be making their own plans and commitments based on the trust established between the release train and their customers. The importance of transparency, and understanding what others are doing based on your commitments becomes much more important at this level, as the consequences of being wrong may be much larger. As an example, what’s the impact of having to cancel a trade show because the announced features aren’t ready?

Written by erwilleke

April 18th, 2013 at 11:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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