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Scrum: When a new person joins the team

It can be interesting when you consider how different Scrum is from the other software development methodologies. And I have seen interesting cases where have joined the organization fresh out of engineering college, and typically coverage of Scrum or other Agile concepts are not so common place in college syllabus. As a result, when such a person joins a new team, they consider the typical Waterfall development mechanism (if at all they are thinking about a specific methodology that they would like to use). The shock that a person can get when they join an existing team, and find a system where it is assumed that they have a high degree of responsibility about the execution work of the project, where the manager is less of a dictating manager and more of a coach (one would like this to happen in a Scrum team, but not necessary that something like this does actually happen). It can be a huge shock, and needs to handled well, introducing the person to such a system through a gradual process.
However, there are logistical issues about ensuring that there are enough processes to get newer persons into the team properly and ensuring that they are productive members of the team quickly. You would like to have training available for all members of the team. But in reality, the only control you have on scheduling training is when you are doing so at the start of the project, or have planned renewal training session at periodic intervals during the project. When somebody joins the team, this could be due to attrition where there is a need to replace somebody who has left, or this could be an expansion of the team. In such cases, the chances are more than even that you will not be able to arrange training to the same level that your team would have got at the start of the cycle. And when somebody new joins the team, they are expected to hit productive phase sooner, not having some of the honeymoon period that members of the team would have got at the start of the cycle. So what can you do ?
Well, you can do the following:
– When you arranged for the initial training, take copies of presentations, case studies, and all other such material that was used for the training. If you have the budget, arrange for the initial training to be recorded. All of these are useful to show to new members of the team.
– There will be members of the team who will have a higher level of knowledge of Scrum than other members of the team. Ensure that such members are available to give a presentation, focusing on typical areas that a new person would not really know and also on common issues that people have with Scrum.
– Understand that the person is new, and it would be wrong to expect the same level of productivity that experienced members of the team have achieved. However, also ensure that the team provides inputs and points out issues where they feel that there are things they can help (but need to be careful that they do not do this during the Daily Scrum meeting, need to ensure that the rules of the meeting being brief and to the point need to be kept).
– Arrange for formal training at the earliest. It is typically not enough to just assume that the points before this can do everything for the new person.

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