The Agile Team Handbook

Jan Beaver

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You've joined an Agile Team - congratulations! Now what? Many organizations making the transition to Agile assume that Team Members can simply learn all about Agile from others: the ScrumMaster (if you're using Scrum), other Team Members, through osmosis, or some other undefined means. The truth is, Agile frameworks like Scrum or eXtreme Programming (XP) are quite simple in the abstract, consisting of just a handful of roles, meetings, and artifacts. In practice, however, Agile is exceedingly difficult. And while there are plenty of training opportunities available for ScrumMasters and Product Owners, very little attention trickles down to the true engine of any organization using or moving to Agile: the Agile Team Members.

One purpose of this handbook is to address that glaring omission. As a companion to Agile Team Training, this handbook is a, well, handy resource providing guidance, practical exercises, and room for recording marginal notes and other thoughts. Detached from formal training, this handbook is designed to provide as much practical help as possible to Agile Team Members, both the freshly minted and the grizzled veterans of many product development cycles.

Another purpose of this handbook is to serve as a guide to organizational agility. Yes, the Agile framework you adopt whether Scrum or otherwise is important - but the framework itself is not the point. Using Scrum or another Agile framework puts an organization and its Teams in a great position to advance toward agility. However, practicing Scrum by rote, even if the organization and all Teams follow the rules of Scrum to the letter, in no way guarantees a successful Agile transformation. So yes, learn Scrum or XP or whatever Agile framework you choose to implement. Practice it until it becomes muscle memory. But then apply Agile values and principles to move beyond the framework and its practices and into agility. Put another way, the practices are the road, not the destination.