Original date of note: 10/25/2009
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This is a note providing a set of diagnostic
questions with respect to observed BART (boundary, authority,
role and task) properties on an agile team.
I believe if enough agile/Scrum community
leaders and members pay attention to BART analysis, the agile/Scrum
work is advanced.
Specifically, BART analysis can help discover:
1. Important differences between stated
and actual ground rules used by the team;
2. informal roles;
3. Informally authorized roles and tasks;
4. How people on the team are "taking up"
formal and informal roles and associated tasks.
Canonical Scrum per the Schwaber-Beedle book
and actual working Scrum implementations are great places to
NOTE: BART properties populate
typical “working agreements” that are created on
agile teams over time. The following diagnostic questions help
to quantify what is going on within a team.
Note that BART properties
in Scrum are well defined as compared to typical organizational
context; that is, typical company culture.
Teams deal in the BART properties of the organizational
culture, the BART properties of Scrum and the emergent BART properties
they add to form cohesive team culture in the absence of
ground rules for a given role or task.
Teams for example may
choose (via “working agreements”) to institute
a working agreement about daily start time, perhaps allowing
a flex-time scenario on the team. In terms of BART, this
are formally authorized by the team to choose their start
time within agreed-upon boundaries.
o Are all formally defined roles in Scrum
taken up by specific individuals? Are all formal roles taken
up appropriately? That is, well within role boundaries, but also
taken up completely?
o Do any informal roles exist? If so what
are they? Does the existence of any these informal roles impede
the work of the team? If so how? Who is occupying any informal
o Is any one person taking up more than one formally defined
role in the Scrum implementation?
o If the team is an intermediate-to-advanced user of Scrum
and for some reason has added additional roles, are these
o Do all the team members exhibit great clarity and a shared
mental model of the stated task of the team?
o Is there a person or persons available to the team
who can distinguish all the different tasks?
o Does the team collectively believe that even repetitive
tasks are unique as of the moment they are executed?
§ This means the team believes that every
moment is unique, regardless of the seemingly familiar task at
o Is authority formally defined for each defined role?
§ If so, is formal authority:
· Clearly specified?
· Understood by all?
· Adhered to?
o Do team members:
§ Take up formal authority appropriately?
§ Do they work within the defined boundaries
of the formal authority granted?
§ For defined tasks with unclear authority
boundaries, how do team members define authority boundaries in
absence of formal definitions?
o What authority if any is observed associated with any
informal roles that exist?
o Are boundaries on roles, tasks and related authority:
§ Clearly specified?
§ Agreed upon?
§ Adhered to?
Fuzzy, ambiguous BART property definitions
tend to encourage unconscious behavior at the group level.
Clear, well-defined BART property definitions
tends to encourage the conscious attention of the team toward
the stated task; i.e. producing "working software".
Well-formed BART combined with Scrum's
'cadence' via time-bounded Sprints (iterations) tends to entrain
at the expense of team-level waste.
Advanced users of Scrum may choose to alter
certain BART properties of Scrum. For example some may choose
to add a ceremony, an artifact or a role to canonical Scrum.
That can be tricky. BART
can be useful for noticing how any tailoring of Scrum is affecting
your effort at the Team level.
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About the Author
Dan Mezick: An expert on
teams and a trusted adviser to CxO-level executives worldwide,
Dan consults on enterprise-wide culture change, implementing
Scrum, and the often difficult adoption of authentic Lean principles. Learn
more about Dan Mezick here.
He creates and teaches specific, useful tools
and techniques for facilitating successful enterprise-wide adoption
of agile and Scrum. Dan’s articles on teams and organizational
dynamics appear on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org, and AgileJournal.com. Learn
more about Dan Mezick's agile writing here.
He's the organizer of the Agile
Boston user group and a 3-time presenter at Agile2007,
2008 and 2009, an invited speaker to the Scrum Gathering (Orlando)
in 2010 and a news
reporter for InfoQ.com
Reach Dan at:
dan.mezick [at] newtechusa [dotcom]
You can learn much more detail about
Dan via his Agile Coaching page here.