The team here at Recomazing are huge fans of getting shit done. So when we came across the Atlassian Team Playbook via a recent blog post we were hooked. Andre, a Senior Dev Manager at Atlassian, was kind enough to sit down with us and share some top tips for anyone interested in running a world-class agile team.
Q: Andre, what exactly is the Atlassian Team Playbook?
A: For years we have been developing and fine tuning methodologies for how our internal teams work.The Playbook is our way of spreading the love and sharing this knowledge with the rest of the world. Essentially, it is a step by step guide to tracking your team’s health and the ‘plays’ that help you work together more productively.
Q: We really liked the reference to sparring in the playbook. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
A: Sparring originates from the design world, but teams at Atlassian are starting to use this technique to get peer feedback on technical design/approaches to larger pieces of work. It also works well for teams that do a lot of document-based work, like HR. For instance, before publishing a new company policy or job posting, spar on the copy with your team to make sure it’s clear and easy to understand. It’s a good way to get structured, constructive feedback (and criticism) on your work. Check out the playbook for best practice in running sparring sessions.
Q: What would you recommend to who someone is not sure how to start creating an agile team?
A: That is actually pretty common, in that, sometimes you know you are in pain, but you can’t pinpoint exactly why and solving the problem keeps getting put on the arse end of the to-do list. Start off by running a team health check (anyone can do it). This will help identify the source of your pain and hit the road to recovery quicker. Atlassian has customised Health Monitors for Leadership, Project and Service based teams.
Q: Andre, any final words of wisdom you’d like to leave us with?
A: Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ways of doing things as a team in the pursuit of efficiency. Pair programme for the whole sprint? Ditch JIRA and go to paper cards for a while? Have your stand-up in the park! “This is the way we’ve always done it” is a forerunner to stagnation. So even if you try different techniques as a team, but don’t end up liking them, it still leaves the team happier for having tried.
Hopefully you’ve found this really helpful. We certainly did. To see more of Andre’s recos, view his profile here.
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