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Peter Schuh coaches project teams and conducts trainings in the adoption and improvement of agile practices and techniques. He excels in both agile and traditional development environments (such as waterfall, heavy process and fixed cost). Peter is also the author of "Integrating Agile Development in the Real World," a field guild for software development professionals who aim to deliver useful and usable software in a timely manner. Peter is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 19 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Sometimes Help is Closer than You Think... If You Stop to Think

02.01.2013
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Just yesterday, Tuesday, our team was stuck on the wrong side of a very tight deadline. We needed to reach a significant milestone by the end of the day Friday. However, neither the team nor I had confidence that we would make it.

Now, just one day later, everything has changed. The entire team is confident that we’re going to complete this milestone with time to spare.

What happened?

Well, on Tuesday we already knew what the real issue was. A couple months back we decided to use a framework that was new to some members of the team. As it turned out, the learning curve was steeper than we’d realized.

Two developers are primarily responsible for the development work in this framework. Jim knew the framework when we selected it. Tim did not.

Jim had a lot of work on his plate, that he quietly likely could complete by the end of the day Friday.

Tim had less work to complete, but much of his time would be spent learning enough about the framework to get his work done. Tim was confident that, with assistance from Jim, he could get his work done on time. But the framework is not well documented, so Tim – and the rest of the team – had little confidence that he would be able to complete his task by Friday on his own.

At noon on Tuesday we hit on an idea. What if we found an expert on the framework to remote pair with Tim on Wednesday and Thursday? That expert could be located anywhere in the country, or even the world. We could possibly take out two birds with one stone. We could hit our Friday deliverable. And we could get some much-needed training on the framework for Tim.

By 5pm on Tuesday we had a signed SOW with an expert in the framework who was available to remote pair over the next two days.

And now it is Wednesday — just 24 hours later. Jim is on target to complete his deliverables for Friday. And Tim, after a day of remote pairing, is likely to complete his deliverables by the end of the day tomorrow, Thursday.

This happened because of the power of the inter-webs, a team that collaboratively thinks its way through tough spots, and management that is willing to back outside-the-box solutions.

Published at DZone with permission of Peter Schuh, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)