Questions for the Development Team

There is a very good blog entry located here which lists questions every development team and team leads should ask themselves during development cycles.

From the article:

Whole team

  1. What can we automate?
  2. where are we "Reinventing the wheel"?
  3. what are the tools that slow us down?
  4. what tools can we use better?
  5. are there bugs that I could have found earlier? how do I make sure I find them earlier?
  6. when do we find out we built the right thing?
  7. when do we find out our code\design sucks? how can we make that earlier?
  8. How do we show progress at the team level? at the management level?
  9. How many meetings does each dev have every week? how can we remove them?
  10. Are we building by feature or by layer?
  11. can we make all our team sit in the same place?

Team Lead

  1. daily: what bottlenecks exist in the team? what have I solved?
  2. will my devs be better in a month or two than they were before? if not, how do I make that happen?
  3. what prevents my devs from working? what am I doing about this?

Some of them are very useful, but I thought I’d expand on the list from my own experiences:

Whole team

  • What is our focus this week?
  • How do we effectively communicate who is doing what?
  • Do we have any change requests or outstanding requirement clarifications?
    • Can these be satisfied in a reasonable time frame?
  • Are we ‘on track’ to meet agreed deliverables?

Team lead(s)

  • How can we make our work more visible & available to the customer(s)?
  • What resources (physical/technical) do the team require?  Are they available/scheduled?
  • Do we have any ‘single points of failure’?  If so, how can this be mitigated?
  • Are client expectations being met?  If not, what can be changed to fix this?

It’s really important to understand what is a “team responsibility” versus a “team lead responsibility”.

Some forms of Agile development practice make this a little unclear, but in my experience, someone needs to be responsible for ensuring team goals and responsibilities are being met on a weekly (or daily) basis.

Some of this could be shared by a project manager as well as a team lead/architect, but the important take away is to ensure someone is asking these questions on a regular basis.  Keeping client expectations in mind is a critical step.

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