Six Things To Do When Agile Newbies Join Your Team

So you are up and running with Lean-Agile but your team is still growing or there is some churn in the team. Either way new people arrive, often without an effective Lean-Agile background. What to do?

If you are lucky your Lean-Agile process will be so ingrained in the way you do things that you might not have to actually do anything specific with the new person. They’ll pick up the process as they go along.

However you might not be so lucky. Or you might not want to take the risk and be willing to invest in a form of induction for the new person.

Some of the Nine Things to do When Nobody on Your New Team Knows Lean-Agile still apply in this situation. Those activities involving the entire team aren’t really possible when a new person arrives later, after Lean-Agile has bedded in, but anything involving individuals is definitely possible. There are also some options that are more appropriate for a single new comer.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Arm wave
  2. Use your Lean-Agile coach
  3. Public training
  4. Learn by doing
  5. Buddy up
  6. Pair programming

1. Arm waving

Arm waving is cheap and easy and recommended when somebody joins an existing team. This is all about enthusiasm and explaining.

2. Use your Lean-Agile coach

As I have mentioned before I’m a fan of using a Lean-Agile coach during team formation. But I also like keeping them around for the duration. They are another source of support for newbies.

3. Public training

Quite often I’ll send a new comer to some form of public training. Although during team formation I might use the Lean-Agile coach for face-to-face training this isn’t so appropriate when there is only a single new comer. It is more cost effective to send to a publically available course. They’ll have the benefit of learning with others.

4. Learn by doing

People learn best by doing.

5. Buddy up

By this stage your existing team should be full of people familiar with your brand of Lean-Agile, so buddy the new comer with one of the old timers. They buddy will explain, guide, mentor the new comer. It helps if they sit together. If the new comer is permanent staff the most effective buddy is one of the local champions.

6. Pair programming

Pair programming combines “Learn by doing” with a “Buddy” – at least for developers. The newbie is more-or-less permanently in discovery mode so it is ideal to pair them with an existing team member to bring the new comer up to speed on the technology and/or domain.

Thanks to Mike Lowery for suggesting this topic for my What do I do When … ? series. Please drop me a line or add a comment if you’ve got a question you’d like answered.

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