Is Agile giving you personal fulfillment?
Years after the introduction of Agile development, many articles have been written about advantages of this software development methodology. Continuous delivery of working code, customer involvement and buy-in, quick response to a changing environment and self organizing teams are named among the many benifits. Agile is regarded as the optimal method to organize every IT organization. What strikes me is that only little has been written about the individual and Agile. When entering Agile and personal development in Google search, no results return. But isn't it that the members of the team are the once that have to strive for the agility of the method? And who will mentor them in doing this?
One might think that the Scrum master would have the role of mentoring any each member who needs personal growth, both technically as well as on a personal level. Cause doesn't the scrum master role have the same tasks as a team lead or project manager? Unfortunately this is not the case. By principal, the Scrum master is the facilitator of the group. The master is accountable for removing impediments for the team, so that the members can deliver the product goals and deliverables, not for people managing the once that need it. In practice, a Scrum master acting as a people manager might even result in conflicting responsibilities, unclear authority, and sub-optimal results.
So if no people manager is available in a scrum team, is each member expected to be senior enough to self organize and motivate themselves? You can imagine that in a team, not all individuals work with the same enthousiasm and drive, which can cause frictions and different expectations. In a waterfall project a lead or a mentor could perform this steering or give personal attention. Who is there in a Scrum team?
Another shortcoming experienced in Scrum is the continuous sprinting. Personally, I have been sprinting for almost 4 years. Sprints in scrum can be seen as an interval running program; imagine 3 minutes of jogging at a quick 8 mph pace, followed by 1 minute slow walking, then 3 minutes at 8 mph again and 1 minute walking, and so on. But unlike interval running, where the run might end in an hour, scrum sprints have no ending. As if you are sprinting forever and ever. Often Scrum members complain about tiredness, because of continuously having to meet deadlines, without having an final goal or objective.
You might think that tiredness and lack of personal development could be solved by rotating roles and responsibilities. Just change your role every often from developer, to tester, to functional or even to scrum master. But are these roles interchangeable? Can a tester be a developer or scrum master. Mostly the roles and knowledge are locked and irreplaceable, due to the specific skill set needed.
So what do you think can be done to both reach the common goals of the team as well as cater to the personal (development) needs of each member?