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Beautiful Teams by Jennifer Greene, Andrew Stellman

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Chapter 15. Building a Team with Collaboration and Learning

James Grenning

AROUND THE TURN OF THE MILLENNIUM, I HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE. I WAS BROUGHT IN TO HELP ONE of our clients get a new project started. They were new to object-oriented (OO) design, and I was supposed to help them get an OO architecture defined and an initial plan in place. As it turned out, I spent almost half a year with them every other week. This was a time of great learning for them and for me. Not only did we have some fine accomplishments, but we also spent some time in turmoil.

The company, call it By the Book Systems (BBS), was very structured and prided itself on its quality and conformance to its processes. Like many big companies, BBS sometimes did things that hurt itself. In this tale, we'll see some of the brave and great things that were done at BBS and some outright blunders that can kill team morale and stifle progress.

Starting a new project is fun. I've had the pleasure of starting quite a few projects in my career, and it was good to be part of a team at BBS. As a consultant, I am too often an outsider, being on the team for only short periods of time. In this case, I was with BBS almost every other week. So, I really became part of the team.

The team started small: initially Johnny (the systems engineer), Alan (the lead engineer), and me.

The first order of business was for Johnny to brief me on the requirements of the project. He had a 30-page requirements document written by the book with ...

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