Identified by Will Larson in An Elegant Puzzle, a team can be viewed as residing within one of four states.
- Falling behind
- Threading water
- Paying down technical debt
Successful teams should transition from each state to the next. To do so, there are a number of solutions that the system can provide.
A very, very brief overview follows. Read the book for more details, these are just personal notes.
|Falling behind||Increasing backlog, low morale and dissatisfied users.||Add people, and set user expectations. Inject optimism.|
|Threading Water||Critical work is getting completed, but no room to paydown tech debt.||Reduce WIP and provide space to improve team productivity.|
|Paying down technical debt||Reaping the benefits of repayments and thinking towards innovation.||Add time to continue repayments whilst still supporting users.|
|Innovating||Low technical debt, high morale and satisfied users.||Add slack to the schedule to maintain state.|
Climbing from one stage to another takes time, but it’s important to take a look at your team, to identify your current state, and to define an appropriate roadmap that helps you move towards the next state.