Search

How To Eliminate Burnout And Make Agile Teams More Productive

A recent survey shows 57% of Tech Workers are burned out by work. Likewise, there are several independent surveys been carried out which depicts the unfortunate part of tech life. A major contributor to the burnout involves wrong estimation and deadline. There are other parameters also involved which comprise of Office Politics, Repetitive work for a long time, Appraisal, etc. Let's keep aside the other parameters and talk around the major contributors of burnout which are-Wrong estimation, andDeadline.It often happens that a non-technical person, say for example, a Non-Technical Manager or Scrum Master or BA or Sales Team, without having visibility around the actual work proposes a ballpark estimate to the client. Often there is a situation where a client does the auction for the project. Hence IT giants in order to get the project give less estimate. Once companies get the project and execution for the same gets started then the member of the team who executes the project is exposed to a tight deadline and hence suffers from burnout. This, in turn, impacts their mental health and life.From a business standpoint, getting clients holds the highest priority. But a general thought which keeps on bugging me from time to time is "why should an employee suffer because of management?".Ideally, before giving the ballpark estimate to the client, a realistic estimate should be collected from engineers who would do the work. There are different ways of coming up with an unbiased realistic estimate.Some of the popular techniques are outlined below.Planning Poker:This is one of the effective ways of coming up with the estimate for a story. It’s been religiously followed by a team which truly works in Agile methodology. Each member of the team is highly involved in the estimation process. Getting everybody in the team involved in the estimation process is critical to come up with an accurate estimate.Planning poker: For a simple Sprint and easy EstimatesPlanning poker is a game that team members play during Sprint Planning meetings to ensure that everybody is contributing and his or her point of view is considered during estimation. It starts with one of the team member(#Moderator) reading the story/requirement, and giving high-level info around the ticket. The team focuses majorly on the WHAT part instead of the HOW part.To start with, each team member is given a set of cards or sticky notes with a number on them. This number represents story point, ideal days, hours or any other units in which team estimate. It is suggested to use Fibonacci but it is not necessary, one can use a specific sequence which may suit for a team. Our team used sticky notes having hours written that would be needed for the story.sub-task, starting 0.50h, 1h, 2h, 4h and so on. It worked for our team. Once the high-level requirement is read aloud and a team has the visibility around “What” needs to be implemented, then starts the game.The fun way for Agile teams to guide sprint planningTeam members are requested to pick up the card with the number written on it. Initially estimates from members to members can vary a lot, and as a result, estimates can be present all over the graph. Once all the members have voted, members having highest and lowest estimates explain their understanding behind coming up with their estimates. The expert having detailed knowledge about the implementation part can point out the hurdles which the team might face while implementing the story. Above discussion among the members brings up the clear picture around the requirement. Post discussion, based on everybody’s agreement, the Scrum master concludes the discussion and assigns a story point to the task. Through this process, members of the teams have clear visibility around the parameter list that needs to be considered while giving the estimation.  T-Shirt Sizes:This mode of estimation is quite popular these days within an Agile team. At times, it becomes difficult to estimate a large backlog having relatively large items. Especially when multiple Scrum teams work on the same product. Stories are estimated on the basics of t-shirt sizes: XS, S, M, L & XL. Like Planning poker, a Moderator reads the story and team focuses of What part. Post understanding What needs to be implemented team comes up with a size written on the card based on their understanding. Similar toPlanning Poker, members of the team collaborate among themselves and come up with a mutually agreed estimate.In addition to the above workflow, T-shirt scale also demands extra effort on the part of the person coordinating the Agile process. Since sizes cannot be put on the story, hence sizes need to be converted to numerical values for the sake of tracking effort over time and charting an estimated velocity for the team.Bringing it all together By using the above estimation techniques, we can come up with an achievable estimate and can accordingly communicate the same to the client.However, from the business point of view, to get the project from the client, we can propose a different figure to them (like it been carried out currently which I feel is wrong). As we have a clear visibility around the estimate, so we can add the buffer resources that will be required for successfully delivering the project.Hence coming up with a realistic estimation with the help of different estimation techniques and proper planning will result in minimizing the burnout of team members and help them live a happy life.Please share your thoughts in the comment section, we can connect on LinkedIn and talk more. If you enjoyed this post, spread it to your connections on LinkedIn or other channels.Thanks!!
Rated 4.0/5 based on 2 customer reviews

How To Eliminate Burnout And Make Agile Teams More Productive

186
How To Eliminate Burnout And Make Agile Teams More Productive

A recent survey shows 57% of Tech Workers are burned out by work. Likewise, there are several independent surveys been carried out which depicts the unfortunate part of tech life. A major contributor to the burnout involves wrong estimation and deadline. There are other parameters also involved which comprise of Office Politics, Repetitive work for a long time, Appraisal, etc. Let's keep aside the other parameters and talk around the major contributors of burnout which are-

  • Wrong estimation, and
  • Deadline.

Burnout And Make Agile Teams It often happens that a non-technical person, say for example, a Non-Technical Manager or Scrum Master or BA or Sales Team, without having visibility around the actual work proposes a ballpark estimate to the client. Often there is a situation where a client does the auction for the project. Hence IT giants in order to get the project give less estimate. Once companies get the project and execution for the same gets started then the member of the team who executes the project is exposed to a tight deadline and hence suffers from burnout. This, in turn, impacts their mental health and life.
BurnoutFrom a business standpoint, getting clients holds the highest priority. But a general thought which keeps on bugging me from time to time is "why should an employee suffer because of management?".

Ideally, before giving the ballpark estimate to the client, a realistic estimate should be collected from engineers who would do the work. There are different ways of coming up with an unbiased realistic estimate.

Some of the popular techniques are outlined below.

Planning Poker:
Planning pokerThis is one of the effective ways of coming up with the estimate for a story. It’s been religiously followed by a team which truly works in Agile methodology. Each member of the team is highly involved in the estimation process. Getting everybody in the team involved in the estimation process is critical to come up with an accurate estimate.

Planning poker: For a simple Sprint and easy Estimates

Planning poker is a game that team members play during Sprint Planning meetings to ensure that everybody is contributing and his or her point of view is considered during estimation. It starts with one of the team member(#Moderator) reading the story/requirement, and giving high-level info around the ticket.
 
The team focuses majorly on the WHAT part instead of the HOW part.

To start with, each team member is given a set of cards or sticky notes with a number on them. This number represents story point, ideal days, hours or any other units in which team estimate. It is suggested to use Fibonacci but it is not necessary, one can use a specific sequence which may suit for a team. Our team used sticky notes having hours written that would be needed for the story.sub-task, starting 0.50h, 1h, 2h, 4h and so on. It worked for our team. Once the high-level requirement is read aloud and a team has the visibility around “What” needs to be implemented, then starts the game.

The fun way for Agile teams to guide sprint planning

Team members are requested to pick up the card with the number written on it. Initially estimates from members to members can vary a lot, and as a result, estimates can be present all over the graph. Once all the members have voted, members having highest and lowest estimates explain their understanding behind coming up with their estimates. The expert having detailed knowledge about the implementation part can point out the hurdles which the team might face while implementing the story. Above discussion among the members brings up the clear picture around the requirement. Post discussion, based on everybody’s agreement, the Scrum master concludes the discussion and assigns a story point to the task. Through this process, members of the teams have clear visibility around the parameter list that needs to be considered while giving the estimation.  

T-Shirt Sizes:
Different sizesThis mode of estimation is quite popular these days within an Agile team. At times, it becomes difficult to estimate a large backlog having relatively large items. Especially when multiple Scrum teams work on the same product. Stories are estimated on the basics of t-shirt sizes: XS, S, M, L & XL. Like Planning poker, a Moderator reads the story and team focuses of What part. Post understanding What needs to be implemented team comes up with a size written on the card based on their understanding. Similar to

Planning Poker, members of the team collaborate among themselves and come up with a mutually agreed estimate.
In addition to the above workflow, T-shirt scale also demands extra effort on the part of the person coordinating the Agile process. Since sizes cannot be put on the story, hence sizes need to be converted to numerical values for the sake of tracking effort over time and charting an estimated velocity for the team.

Bringing it all together
 
By using the above estimation techniques, we can come up with an achievable estimate and can accordingly communicate the same to the client.
Bringing all togetherHowever, from the business point of view, to get the project from the client, we can propose a different figure to them (like it been carried out currently which I feel is wrong). As we have a clear visibility around the estimate, so we can add the buffer resources that will be required for successfully delivering the project.Hence coming up with a realistic estimation with the help of different estimation techniques and proper planning will result in minimizing the burnout of team members and help them live a happy life.
Employee burnoutPlease share your thoughts in the comment section, we can connect on LinkedIn and talk more. If you enjoyed this post, spread it to your connections on LinkedIn or other channels.

Thanks!!

Suraj

Suraj Sharma

Blog Author

Suraj Sharma is working as a Full Stack QA Engineer with leading IT farm and is striving for bringing change in Industry. Strong believer of "Learning or Decaying" mantra. Technology explorer, Blogger and part-time cyclist by passion. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suggested Blogs

Agile Scrum Roles And Responsibilities

Agile, Scrum, Waterfall, Kanban are different project management frameworks which are helping the companies to increase the productivity. These frameworks were created by the IT companies and especially web and application development companies because they needed a path but on which each and every employee can perform his daily tasks. However, out of these four frameworks, the Scrum is the most widely used framework in all the companies despite their nature of work. That is why in this article we are going to discuss the Scrum in detail to give you a better idea about this iterative framework which is making easier for the companies to complete their project. Scrum Objective: The basic objective of the Scrum is to keep the entire team on the same page throughout the project. The scrum framework allows the cross-functional work of the team of 4 to 10 members to provide the regular details and information sharing liberty so they can produce the best result. Scrum is a more like philosophical than the technical. It is a framework that can only be used as the guidance and there is no constant in it. All the success of the Scrum depends on the interactions among the stakeholders as it does the process. Scrum roles and responsibilities: The techniques of Scrum has become very popular and now considered to be the most important thing to do before starting any project. That is why the demand of the scrum masters and other professions related to the scrum has also increased, and people now are searching about the term scrum more. The scrum is a very specific and précised framework that is why it comprised on the following roles. Scrum Master Product Owner Scrum Team Stakeholders Because the term Agile is often get associated with the project managers that is why many people believe that the Scrum Master is also a term for the project managers. However, the Scrum Master serves very different purposes than the project manager. The Scrum Master works as a facilitator rather than the authoritative person who is responsible for the project delivery. The Scrum Master is a coach, motivator and problem solver who can only assist the team by using all his experience of Scrum framework. According to many Scrum Masters, applying Scrum within an organization is not the actual scrum process. You have to make the organization to accept your new role and then change its culture which is the most difficult thing to do in any company. The prominent role of every Scrum Master should be to enhance the power of the team by committing them to the sprint goals without any interference from the management. Let’s discuss the major roles of all the above points separately. Scrum Master: The Scrum Master is considered to be the top-dog in every organization because companies usually hire them and don’t treat them as permanent employ that is why they are with no authority. It is their duty to remove all the hindrance or obstruction in the way of achieving any goal. It is also their role to enforce scrum ceremonies and processes. They are the ones who commit to goals and deadlines on behalf of the team. Product Owner: The product owner is responsible for conveying the vision of the stakeholders to the team. They have the authority to alter the scope. The Product Owners are responsible for the return on investment (ROI) that is why they occupy an authoritative position in the firm. Because they convey the vision of the stakeholders that is why they are the voice of the stakeholders. Not only with the team, but they also communicate with the stakeholders about progress and problems. Scrum Team: The Scrum Team is responsible for all the activities that lead them towards their sprint goals. They have to work with the Scrum Master to prioritize the items from the product backlog in the sprint planning. Once committed, it is their responsibility to fulfil the commitment and deliver the agreed results on time with great quality. The Scrum Master is not responsible for keeping his team organized that is they it is the duty of the Scrum Team to get self-organized. They have to be agile in the office and have to attend every standup and other ceremonies. They have to participate in all the meetings despite their nature and have to ensure that all the findings of the meetings are getting practically addressed in the project. Stakeholders: The Stakeholder has to keep a healthy relationship with the Product Owner in order to share every detail regarding his project. The Stakeholder is responsible for conveying his wishes and concerns to the product owner or else the product owner would not be responsible for his project quality and time duration. The Stakeholder has to provide regular input to queries from the Product Owner. Prioritizing the work affectively with the Product Owner is another job that the Stakeholder has to do to ensure his project development. Keep taking updates or keep giving updates regarding any change in the plans.
Rated 4.0/5 based on 20 customer reviews
2181
Agile Scrum Roles And Responsibilities

Agile, Scrum, Waterfall, Kanban are different proj... Read More

4 Tips To Pass Agile Practitioner Exam

There are many companies in the globe that are adopting Agile project management methodology. This is mainly due to the various benefits provided by this methodology such as breaking down large tasks into smaller parts, continuously evaluating the various stages of the project. The techniques in Agile also adhere to the various demands of the customer. Since money is a major factor for any organisation, Agile also aids in the preparation of the budget for every stage of the product. In order to successfully implement Agile principles in a project, you will need PMI ACP certification. You will have to undergo PMI ACP training in order to write the certification exam. For the training, you can either attend PMI ACP certification training in a classroom or opt for PMI-ACP training online. In order to successfully pass the certification exam, follow the steps mentioned below. 1) Time Management Time management is key to carry out any task. Ensure that you do not start preparing for the examination a day or two before the examination date. This examination cannot be aced by last minute preparations. If you’re actually serious about the exam, start preparing for it at least 3 months in advance. You need not spend 5-6 hours daily on your preparations. 2-3 hours on a daily basis for 2.5-3 months should be sufficient to ace the exam. The material and concepts covered in the Agile Practitioner Exam is extensive. You also need to have in-depth of many concepts in order to solve the difficult questions in the examination. Ensure that you spend more time in the preparation of these concepts. In order to thoroughly complete the preparation for all the necessary concepts, you will need to refer various study materials. It is vital that you allot sufficient time to each of these resources. 2) Practice papers Once you’re thorough with all the concepts necessary for the Agile Practitioner Exam, you can start attempting practice papers. Practice papers contain questions that are asked in the actual examination. There are many websites that offer free practice papers. Ensure that you sit in a quite environment and time yourself in order to get a feel of the actual examination. Following such a procedure will ensure that you are less tensed on the day of the exam and that you can confidently complete the examination. If you feel that you’re proficient in a few topics and want to test yourself on those topics only, there are concept-specific questions available online. These questions will help you test your knowledge on the selected topics. 3) Understand the concepts Many candidates who take up the Agile Practitioner Exam tend to memorise the difficult concepts instead of thoroughly understanding them. This might help you for a short period but, in the long run it will do more damage than good. You will definitely forget the concept in the examination and will not be able to solve complex problems because you haven’t understood the basics. Hence, it is vital that you understand the basics in order to ace the examination. 4) Forum There are many support groups and forums available on the web that are meant for candidates taking up the Agile Practitioner Exam. You can find the PMI-ACP Support Group on LinkedIn and various other study groups which consist of active members who have either written the Agile Practitioner Exam or are planning to give it soon. With the help of this platform, you can seek help to understand the concepts that are difficult for you and in return you can answer questions in the concepts that you find easy to solve. These groups are helpful for anyone writing the examination for the first time. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you have 100 different study materials or spent 100 hours for the preparations for the exam. The only things that matter are the number of concepts you clearly understand and the quality of your learning in the hours you spent. These are the actual factors that make a difference on the day of the exam. Ensure that you do not study new concepts in the eleventh hour as this will only lead to confusion and not better results.
Rated 4.0/5 based on 20 customer reviews
4 Tips To Pass Agile Practitioner Exam

There are many companies in the globe that are ado... Read More

Which SAFe Certification Is Right For You?

If you’re aiming at gaining enhanced knowledge on Scaled Agile Framework and other product development principles, a SAFe certification is definitely the best choice for you. A prior knowledge of Scrum and a 5-year experience in software development, project management, testing, business analysis, or product management will help with a better understanding in the course. Executives, managers, leaders, directors, and information officers across all industries will benefit from this course. After the completion of this course you will have a full-fledged knowledge on how to apply SAFe and Agile on your projects, support an Agile transformation on your organisation, and keep your team members motivated throughout the project. Agile offers various courses for SAFe certifications. But which is that one course that’ll actually make a difference in your career. Here’s a list of courses that you can choose to get SAFe certified: Implementing SAFe 4.0 With SAFe Program Consultant (SPC4) Certification This course is best suited for internal Agile exchange agents and consultants who want to learn and implement SAFe in their organisation. The main aim of this course is to lead a transformation of the enterprise through Agile, implement SAFe in their enterprise, nurture managers and executives in leading SAFe, act as a SAFe Agilist, Train teams with SAFe ScrumXP, and act as a Scrum practitioner. The first two days of the course gives you an expansive knowledge of Leading SAFe. At the end of these two days, you will learn how to act as a certifying agent for SAFe Agilists. You’ll also learn how to implement Agile into your existing projects and transform it through SAFe. You’ll receive a thorough knowledge of how principles like Agile Programs, Agile Architecture, and Agile Program Portfolio Management can be used to enhance your team’s quality. The last two days deal with Agile Trains and how you can use them to identify, plan, and use, them with SAFe programs. After the four days, you can attend further briefings with artifacts and templates, to identify value streams, plan and execute major events, prepare the enterprise, launch Agile programs, and implement effective processes and measures. Leading SAFe 4.0 With SA Certification If you’re an executive, manager, or consultant looking to learn about applying SAFe and lean in product development workflows, this course is ideal for you. Centred mainly around Lean and Agile practices of SAFe, you will learn about SAFE, how to embrace the values of Lean and Agile, implementing Release Trains, and learn how to plan and implement Agile in your projects, on the first day. The second day you’re exposed to execution and release of values, building of an Agile Portfolio, and leading an Enterprise with the principles of Lean and Agile. SAFe 4.0 Advanced Scrum Master With SASM Certification ScrumMasters, team leads, managers, Agile coaches, facilitators, and process champions will get a maximum benefit from this course as they use their expertise and practical skills to provide their teams with an Agile/Scrum-friendly environment. With this course you’ll mainly learn to work with SAFe, it’s values, Lean-Agile principles, Agile and Scrum anti-patterns, Kanban to provide a smooth workflow, quality engineering, DevOps, and Agile architecture. You’ll also learn how to build high performance teams, and get to attend Adapt and Inspect workshops. SAFe 4.0 For Teams With SP Certification This job is tailored for stakeholders of Release Trains, who learn how to become an Agile team, and build backlogs and plan and execute iterations. You’ll mainly be briefed about SAFe, and further taught how to build an Agile team, plan and execute iterations, and execute program increments. SAFe 4.0 Product Manager/ Product Owner With PMPO Certification Best suited for product owners and managers, business owners, program managers, product line leaders, and business analysts, this certification gives you an understanding of how you can work together with associates in a Lean-Agile software enterprise. At the end of this course, you will be able to educate your team about the roles of Product Managers and Product Owners in the enterprise, Agile software requirements, and stakeholder management as well as how to manage backlogs and deliver features in the enterprise. In the end, you can choose an apt course with some amount of research. Depending on your current designation, the future role you’re aiming for in the organisation, and how you would like to help it grow are some of the factors that help you determine the best SAFe course for you.
Rated 4.0/5 based on 20 customer reviews
Which SAFe Certification Is Right For You?

If you’re aiming at gaining enhanced knowledge o... Read More