My experience as an Agile Coach (not really…)

For the past 2-3 weeks, I have been working with a small PHP team in my company. I was asked to join the team in order to help them achieve the delivery goals (an area in which they were lagging a bit). It was nice and small team of 4 guys in the team. So thought why not I introduce the Agile practices to them and get the pending tasks rolling through small and quick iterations. As the rest of the company followed SCRUM, I slowly started introducing the Agile practices into the team. But one thing for sure was that I didn’t want to rush and bombard them with lots of practices and technical tools available for being agile. I initially helped them to understand the value of very basic things like the necessity and importance of TDD and Continuous Integration.

Then we started making the TDD as a must-have requirement for claiming a story/task as completed. As the team never did TDD before, they initially struggled a bit, but with some push and help from my end, they started getting comfortable with TDD and they ensured that for every new feature/functionality they add, they have got the required unit tests written.

Also I found, CI support for PHP is at very beginning stage, especially, we are not finding enough support for making CakePHP run as part of CI with Simpletest as the testing framework. So we are looking forward for the CI to get working soon with some custom implementation from our side. I am sure we would come up with something soon.

Apart from that, I was slowly injecting, the value of object oriented programming and started introducing them to the different code smells and ways to avoid them. This is making the code better day by day.

Currently, we planned to keep the iterations span for only one week and we decided to give a demo to our PO every thursday. Since the iteration is pretty small and we could see things getting completed in a week, the team as of a whole could see the value of following agile and they’ve started liking the concept of immediate feedback on the stories that they playing. For the first time, the team has managed to successfully give two consecutive demo’s in the past two week completing the iterations at the velocity of 8pts. BTW, the team also have started using pivotal tracker extensively for keeping track of the stories.

This role that I am playing is very new to me as I had always been a pure techie guy. But it gives me immense happiness to see a team recovering and growing at a steady pace.

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