Overcoming Barriers to Effective Communications in Agile Teams

Communication is the foundation of success for an agile team. Agile teams need to set up effective communication channels and have a culture of constant communication for complete transparency.

However, there are often several challenges that act as barriers to productive communication and may lead to people problems as well as delayed or failed projects. In my article for TestRail https://blog.gurock.com/agile-barrier-communication/ , I have discussed some of the most common barriers to effective communication for agile teams, as well as how you can overcome them.

  • Physical Barriers
  • Cultural and Language Barriers
  • Emotional Barriers
  • Perceptual Barriers

Read the complete article here ->

Agile teams require constant communication, so it immensely benefits the team to recognize their barriers to effective communication and take some measures to overcome these barriers. Every step taken in this regard leads the team farther down their path to true agility.

My talk @Playscrum Meetup by Leanpitch- 20 July’19

I was invited to present a talk at this month’s @Playscrum Meetup at Bangalore, hosted by @Leanpitch technologies on 20th July

It was a small event with a great set of delegates who gathered to hear me talk about Gamification in Agile teams. Agile teams rely heavily on communication and collaboration among all team members. In this session, I talked about about ‘Innovation Games’ which help make all agile meetings and ceremonies shorter, crisper, more visual and open involving all team members.

It was an interactive session wherein we played many Innovation Games with the audience volunteers, which was a big hit with everyone. There was good participation, many great ideas and discussions in the group. Overall a good experience at my first Playscrum meetup in Bangalore. Would love to collaborate again soon!

Here is a glimpse of the event-


A Day in the Life of an Agile Tester

An agile tester’s work life is intriguing, busy and challenging. A typical day is filled with varied activities like design discussions, test planning, strategizing for upcoming sprints, collaborating with developers on current user stories, peer reviews for teammates, test execution, working with business analysts for requirement analysis and planning automation strategies.

In my article for Gurock TestRail blog, I have explored a typical day in the life of an agile tester and how varied activities and tasks keep her engaged, busy and on her toes all the time!

agile tester.png

Let’s sneak a peek into a day in the life of an agile tester — > You will go through the daily routine of an agile tester and will experience their complicated schedule in real time.

Read full article



The Real Key to Agile Success: Communication

Dear Readers,

I am glad to share that my latest article found its way to agileconnection.com !

Here are some excerpts from the article –

Many organizations have issues during the transition to an agile workflow. Some teams never quite recover from that transformation stage; they say they tried agile but it didn’t work for them, or they are still struggling to get it going. If we look for the real reason behind all these troubles, I bet the majority fo the time, it would be communication.

Agile is designed for smaller that want to get more done with fewer formal processes. Iteratively building and demonstrating the desired products for more immediate feedback is the goal.

Think about the common practices of an agile team: daily stand-up meetings, retrospectives after every sprint, pair programming and buddy reviews, collaborating with customers, and more face-to-face time instead of mountains of documentation.

What is the agenda behind all these operations? Frequent and open communication.

Agile teams are designed so that everybody is aware of everyone’s tasks, progress, strengths, and output each day. The difficulty is communicating all this information.

Let’s say a team was working on a sprint with some defined user stories. The team started working on their assigned stories, using what little was specified in the requirements and assuming the rest. Nothing much was brought up in the daily stand-up meetings, which were short and missed often. The developers worked on their stuff, and in the last few days of the sprint passed their code on to the testers, who began their test design parallel to the test execution. Most of the testing was done in an exploratory fashion, owing to the lack of information and time.

Of course, problems arose. Testers blamed faulty designs and the lack of information provided to them. In turn, the developers blamed the specifications. The manager—who was missing for most of the sprint—now appears and questions the team about the quality issues. Most of the user stories become spill-over items to work on during the next sprint due to the design changes needed.

Unfortunately, this is probably not an unfamiliar situation for many of you. An agile team can’t succeed if communication is lacking.

The team in the example earlier could have done much better if they had nurtured their communication skills. The developers should have discussed the specifications and pointed out missing or ambiguous aspects to the manager, who then would have talked to the clients to get clarifications. The test team should have been involved in all these communications, building their tests in parallel and getting them reviewed. Developers and testers should have coordinated their user stories to buddy test the features and get maximum issues resolved in advance. And everyone should have been participating in stand-up meetings to communicate progress and risks. If this had happened, by the end of the sprint the user stories would have been resolved, and the team could have delivered a better-quality product.

Naturally, it’s easier to look at a failed project afterward and point out what should have been done differently. How can you set your team up for success from the beginning? Before even seriously considering the logistics of agile adoption, you should start looking at all aspects of communication in your teams.

The assigned ScrumMasters must have the ability to communicate and manage the team well, as well as encourage teammates to speak their minds. The agile team may need some verbal or written skills training if they are not used to informal communications via chats, email, or short documents.

All communication within the agile team must be addressed to the complete team, including sharing any documents, release plans or schedules, review requests and feedback, risks or concerns, and even leave updates. This builds a complete sense of oneness within the team and maintains complete transparency at all times.

The managers and leads must ensure open communication and healthy feedback during all meetings and also encourage team members individually to share their ideas and opinions. Likewise, the team must be receptive to constructive criticism and ready to learn from their mistakes.

Only in such an environment will the real agile spirit thrive and teams will be able to find success in their endeavors.


Read the complete article and do share your thoughts!