The day Superman abandoned us, and a new generation of heroes was born.
I know this title sounds like I’d talk about comics, but not this time. Sorry about that. This is actually a story about a team and how a really nasty situation helped the team understand the real meaning of working as a team.
Always in teams, we have people with less or more experience and it is good to have this balance, but, what happens when you have got a person that knows a lot and all the team depends on him to achieve the goals? When this happens, it normally means that superman is in your team. Sometimes, this is pretty cool, because when you don’t understand something you can go with him and get all the answers needed or even, in problems, you can be sure that everything will be solved.
But this is not good at all, even if in practice it looks like everything is fine, you need a change. Let me tell you a story.
This was a pretty new team, working to achieve some important deadline for an outside client, and if you have worked in the industry, sometimes, even if it is not recommended, we have to work with deadlines. I don’t recommend that but it is something that happens. The team was on track until that day. Clark, the oldest player in the team, suddenly quit the company and from one day to another they had one member less in their team. It won’t be a huge issue, but the real identity of Clark was Superman!
Almost all of the team members were new to the company (from one to three months) and they were all jr developers. The combination of this background in the team and our superman resigning, the tension in the team began to rise and the confidence to accomplish the goals and hit deadlines went dramatically down. You can see the fear in their faces, doubting their abilities and, of course, all this chaos and uncertainty was reflected in the results.
Looking at these changes and results, the Product Owner was scared of not accomplishing all the stake holders expectations. He went with the Scrum Master and asked for the implementation of a new event, “mid-day daily stand up”. A meeting focuse on having a checkpoint to see if the team is working enough to achieve the goals. Wisely, the Scrum Master suggested bringing this issue to the retrospective, where all the team presented their concerns and made some agreements to improve their ways of working.
For the following three sprints, the delivery slowly improved until the end of the fourth sprint. The team accomplish to deliver even more valuable features than in the past, when Super Man was part of the team. In the retrospective, they realized that this team was now a new team full of super heroes. The team start collaborating and become multidisciplinary to be able to help each other and accomplish all the goals. The team evolve to the next level thanks to a painful moment in the past.
Even in the darkest nights, trust in your team and let them shine.