Establish Objectives and Feedback Loop

Learn about how to define the objectives and the feedback loop for agile process in a large team.

You should neither rant,
nor condemn,
but strive,
to improve the bad you see.
– Leo Tolstoy

Agile process in a large team

Agile processes were originally developed to support small teams. In order to make them work for large teams, they have to be modified. We need to exaggerate or institutionalize some of the characteristics of the process so that the values and underlying principles of the “Agile Manifesto” are still respected. Some of these principles need special support in large teams because they do not work as naturally in large teams as in small ones. For example, we have to take great care that project members still interact and communicate, despite working in different subteams.

Let’s look into the characteristics of creating and establishing an agile process for a large team. We won’t focus on the detailed process that every subteam will use because each subteam is a small team and is therefore able to take advantage of all kinds of agile processes. As an example, some subteams might follow Extreme Programming, while others might prefer to use Scrum. Instead, we concentrate on the process specialties that ensure that all the different subteams pull together and remain agile in their activities.

Defining the objectives

We can try this ourselves by interviewing the members of a large team and asking them how they know when they are done. We might be surprised at how few people will be able to give us an answer that involves fulfilling the objectives of the project rather than the deadline. This is because software team members are always extremely aware of their deadlines but not of their project’s mission.

Why are people so unclear about their objectives? Because the team is so large, developers do not feel they have to be aware of the objectives, thinking somebody higher up the hierarchy will know. Unsurprisingly, those higher up the hierarchy often do not have a clear and joint understanding of the objectives either. They just go about doing their small part without being aware of or instead caring about the whole.

Therefore, we have to make sure that all project members know the common objective defined in the mission statement. Otherwise, there’s a high risk that project members will not pull together, and will act instead as if they are working on different projects and not, as is desired, toward a common goal.

Get hands-on with 1200+ tech skills courses.