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Pre-assigning Work to Team Members (Agile Transformation Pain Point #14)

Rachael Wilterdink Rachael Wilterdink  |  
Dec 13, 2018
 
This pain point is something you definitely don’t want to do.

Agile and Scrum teams are meant to be self-organizing. They should volunteer to pick up assignments, not be assigned.

Development team members are volunteering to do stories, and they might want to learn something new –let them do that. You want to let that team to manage itself. Volunteering also lets people have opportunities to grow by learning to do something new.
 
pre-assigning work to team members
 

Avoid expertise bottlenecks

Otherwise, if you pre-assign stories to someone based on their expertise, you're robbing another team member of the chance to learn. You’re also doing yourself a disservice by creating a bottleneck where only one person has certain knowledge and expertise. You want to spread that knowledge across the team as much as you possibly can.

Again, just because one person has that expertise doesn't mean they shouldn't be actively trying to train someone else. Pair programming is a good way to go: team up a senior person with a junior person, or someone with database skills with a developer, or someone with one development language with another development language. Spread it out and let people learn.
 

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This is the fourteenth of 20 blogs on 20 Agile Transformation Pain Points (and how to avoid or manage them). To read them all right now, download our free eBook.
 
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