Are we a leader? Have we got a chance to introspect? Are we in comfort zone?
These all questions came in my mind when I was promoted as lead in April 2017. I was working as senior engineer in an Indian software giant, let’s say ABC LTD( Company name is not being disclosed here because I don’t want them to know about it). As a senior engineer my KRA was great. It was something like feeling like champion in my working group.
It was appraisal season in April. I was told to lead the team. New project, new team and what not?
I started with first 15 days sprint and what?
It fails. Out of 12 story points, 8 needs to move to next sprint.
It was worst.
Now again, next sprint. 15 days and same story.
A month was over as a lead and it was time to have 1:1 with my boss. His first question blown my mind.
“What happened Nikhil? How a champion lost his sprints?“
“I don’t know sir.” — I replied.
He : “Do you need help?”
I : “I am not sure, I can’t make decision in right way. May be I am not fit”
He : “I have seen you buddy. You can do it. I have advice for you. Get rid of your image of lead. Remove your pressure and start from zero. Rather than doing retrospection of team, do some introspection. ”
Meeting ends, we came out and I was sitting and thinking about my performance. How it changed after I was promoted?
Basically, after promotion I was not following people practices. I was feeling like a lead but not behaving. Each of my team member was following practices in his own way. Even I was also random about following practices.
Now, I started streamlining the things, started from zero. My next mail to team was about following the git commit and Agile practices. 10 AM time was fixed for standup time. We, as team decided that, with our next sprint, our one task should not take more than 1 day. If it is taking more than one day, we will break it in small tasks so that it should not take more than one day. 5 PM was the time decided mutually for daily build release.
I started working in same manner and closely monitoring for all the team members. Now everything was getting better and it took 3 more sprints to fix every sprint issue and yesterday was my 1:1 with my boss. He said —
“Well done buddy.”
Here are some suggestions for newly promoted leads
# Choose short sprints
If you are newly promoted as lead, choose shorter sprint instead of 2 weeks or 3 weeks sprint. I started with 1 week sprint and it was very effective.
# Be punctual and make team punctual
Mutually decide a time for sprint ceremonies like standups, sprint planning other ceremonies and complete them within time limit. Most important, build to QA should be on time with daily QA release.
# Monitor every team member
Monitor each of your team member’s activity closely and advise them to make it better.
# Give some power to QA
Give power to QA so that he can make decision about build health.
#Use automated tools
Use continuous integration and code analysis tools to get the actual health of project.
And many more based upon your experience. This is based on my personal experience.
So, concluding above story I can say, action speaks not the title.