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Do You Have a Team of Independent Enquirers?

2 August 2016

Robin Hackshall
Enigma Consulting and Solutions

Over recent months, I have been looking at a number of behavioral qualities that members of a software development team should be able to exhibit. They include: The final behavior is that of Independent Enquirer. Some of the criteria that describe an Independent Enquirer are listed below:
  • Offers an opinion about an issue and explains his or her thinking
  • Takes enough time to make sense of a problem
  • Is curious about new things and asks questions to find out more
  • Can think of instructions for others to follow
  • Explains why he or she prefers one or two ideas that are proposed
  • Suggests a question that can be investigated
  • Plans and finishes a task within a given time frame
  • Uses more than one piece of evidence to support his or her findings
  • Breaks down complex ideas into steps
  • Recognizes that sometimes you need expertise from others to help solve a problem
  • Plans a longer activity, breaking it into a manageable number of steps
  • Sets targets for completing work and works toward them
  • Uses feedback from a range of sources to help solve a problem
  • Plans a complex task, anticipating blocks and finding ways to overcome them
This behavior is similar to that of a Resourceful Thinker. Although a Resourceful Thinker will think of new ideas to solve a problem, an Independent Enquirer displays analysis and planning skills to break ideas down into small steps, setting targets for the completion of that work. This correlates with the breakdown of epics into user stories or the selection of user stories from a product backlog to go into a sprint backlog. Furthermore, during a planning session, when a team has identified user stories to be completed in a sprint, they should review them to determine whether there is a likelihood of those stories being blocked during the sprint, with a view to finding ways to overcome them.

If you have read my previous articles, you'll know that the teachers at my daughter’s school use the criteria listed as assessment criteria for the Independent Enquirer skills of 5- to 11-year-olds. The purpose of teaching these skills is to empower the pupils' learning.

If a group of 5- to 11-year-olds can display these skills, then so can the members of a software development team.

©Focus Education Ltd. 2014

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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