In this week’s retrospective, everyone expressed how good the week felt. Across the board it was positive. Everyone felt productive based on a general lack of interruptions, which was great to hear.
For sprint 11, held from 3/11/2015 – 3/17/2015, we completed a total of 444 points.
That’s a slight uptick from our previous velocity and is most likely due to the contribution of a newly hired team member. It looks like we’ve started to turn on the corner on her training and she’s starting to add additional capacity for the team.
Last week I wrote about how we had not properly adjusted our velocity to account for this new hire’s training, but after talking in our retrospective, it looks as if we’ve now adjusted appropriately. That included some time devoted to training, as well as some velocity adjustments to account for that training.
But as the team also vocalized, some of our capacity increase was also due to a week with less interruptions and fires that took us off our initial sprint plan. Instead, we planned our sprint, executed on the plan, and were more productive because of it.
The takeaway from this week though is the continued need to empower new hires.
We touched on it last week, but as a group we took some time to talk about training in our sprint 11 retrospective. We discussed how at times we were putting off interns and new hires for tasks they may not be able to do. They would ask if a task was something they could do and we would push them off to something else, instead of taking the time to teach them.
Having a cross-functional team with people who can wear many hats is what makes our team successful. We should encourage their initiative instead of stifling it. We should applaud their effort instead of turning them away. But that means sacrificing our own time and energy, which can be a challenge for many people.
It is easy to look at the short-term loss of time or use the common ‘It will take me longer to teach you how to do than just do it myself.” But the long-term benefit of getting these newer folks ramped up with skills and knowledge is where the true value is. The sooner they are working autonomously and contributing to the team, the sooner we open other employees for larger, more complicated tasks and projects. That is when we will reach new levels of productivity.
As a team, we decided that we are all accountable to help our newer folks learn new skills. We all understand this is a short-term individual sacrifice that will help us all benefit in the long run. We agreed to not say no. We will all supply coverage if one of us ends up sacrificing time and is no longer able to complete a time-sensitive task or project. We will work together to encourage their ambition and help them get up-to-speed faster.