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Transparency, when combined with goal-driven behaviors, acts as a powerful tool to motivate and guide development teams. Transparent, goal-driven behaviors are an integral component of all software development techniques, particularly when applying Agile techniques. Public, observable commitments are one form of transparent goal-driven behavior.
The process of team members reporting and planning work during the stand-up meeting is an important example of public commitment and transparency. In a well-oiled Agile team, each member of the team accepts work for the day; “taking” the work that is the highest priority or swarming to tasks where help is needed. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing and is free to help guide the process. The act of “taking” the work in public is a tactical form of commitment that brings to bear pressure to perform and support the team. Failure of an individual team member to do what they promised will injure their reputation.
Non-Agile project management techniques do not foster the same level of public commitment that the Scrum stand-up technique creates. Techniques that foster stronger commitment to the task at hand will increase the likelihood that a team will deliver what they promise. This will enhance the reputations of the individual, the team and in the long run the whole IT department. Publicly “taking” work during a stand-up combines transparency and commitment to create motivation.
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