How small Agile teams succeed – & win wine of the year!

How small Agile teams succeed

Photo: Tim Williams, Flikr

Late last year, Australian wine critic James Halliday, selected a micro winery’s 2014 Shiraz Viognier, as Australian wine of the year. Asked on radio, how the tiny Serrat winery’s $40 bottle of wine, could compete with big wineries, he responded, “it’s attention to detail”. That of course got me thinking about how small Agile teams create quality.

James Halliday expressed better than I, why small creates greatness.

“You have to get the vines absolutely performing at maximum, in terms of quality, not in terms of yield. Because they are by their very nature, small, you can move very quickly. There’s just a very small number of people in the decision making process. There’s no chain of command, or stuff like that. So they decide… let’s pick tomorrow, and no one’s going to say otherwise. Whereas in a big company, you get log jams of grapes coming in from all over the place.”

Small Agile teams succeed because with small there is big communication:

  • Decision making about how to build is by the team
  • The Scrum Master knows where each team member is at, and supports individuals achieve excellence
  • Handoffs are conversations that focus on what’s happened before, and what happens next
  • Each person cares about quality
  • Small can move fast and flex as required

Is small better than big? Well, in terms of wine, it’s certainly cheaper than the $875 a bottle Penfolds Grange that was runner up!

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