Resources for teaching/coaching Scrum Values to Junior Developers

Last post 03:10 pm June 30, 2020
by Wendy L. Grapentine
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08:08 pm June 28, 2020

Hello, 

I am looking for advice/resources on how to teach/coach Junior Developers Scrum Values.

I have a team that consists of primarily junior developers coming from an IT background rather than a coding background. 

Some observations have been made by the PO as well as the one more senior dev on the team that there is a pronounced lack of personal ownership of work from the junior devs on the team. (Specifically, the following: they lack passion/curiosity/drive when it comes to trying to solve problems on their own before seeking help from the senior; they do not seek to learn anything beyond what they are told; even after months in the role, they continue to repeat basic mistakes and require an inordinate amount of "hand-holding" to get any work done. Etc) 

We will be developing a more formalized procedure that stipulates that the Juniors must document what they have done to research the issue (google, stack overflow etc) BEFORE seeking the senior dev's help..Etc.

Additionally, in thinking about the issues from  Scrum Master perspective, I think it would be beneficial to teach/coach the Scrum Values to help develop a sense of personal-ownership in their work.

Do you have any advice or resources that would be beneficial to that end?

(My impediments in the process are: the team is 12.5 hours ahead of me in India AND, everyone is working remotely due to Covid-19)

 

08:10 pm June 29, 2020

We will be developing a more formalized procedure that stipulates that the Juniors must document what they have done to research the issue (google, stack overflow etc) BEFORE seeking the senior dev's help..Etc.

I'd suggest going the other way. Seek less formality and less procedure.

Challenge any distinction between "junior" and "senior" devs. The very idea of seniority has created a culture of deference, and now you see the consequences. Scrum Team members should learn to collaborate with each other, and to seek each other's help.

10:36 pm June 29, 2020

+1 for what Ian has said.

Are the Development Team held accountable as a team? From what you've said, the Product Owner is making assessments of specific developers. Perhaps giving feedback to the team as a whole, rather than focusing on individuals will help eradicate the culture of deference, and create a safer environment for them to emerge as a self-organizing team.

(My impediments in the process are: the team is 12.5 hours ahead of me in India AND, everyone is working remotely due to Covid-19)

Ouch! That time gap sounds difficult, but maybe there's an opportunity here. Given the current working situation, are you and the rest of the team able to adjust your working hours, so you have at least part of the day where you're all working together?

Also, having everyone remote can be a real blessing in this context. You no longer have a remote, co-located subset of the team. Everyone is remote, just like you, and that inherently brings you closer to the rest of the team.

10:49 pm June 29, 2020

(Specifically, the following: they lack passion/curiosity/drive when it comes to trying to solve problems on their own before seeking help from the senior; they do not seek to learn anything beyond what they are told; even after months in the role, they continue to repeat basic mistakes and require an inordinate amount of "hand-holding" to get any work done. Etc) 

I'd also like to tackle this from a different perspective. You mention the team being in India. So the difference in culture could have a significant impact. Not only the difference between the cultures of two regions, but perhaps also the cultures that have developed over time in two different offices.

Does your organization appreciate an experimental, iterative approach towards continuous improvement?
That is a question you should ask yourself critically. If the answer is no, perhaps the team are already living up to the values of your organization.

For the remainder of this post, I'll assume you answered yes.

Do the team know that they are expected to continuously improve; and has anyone ever discussed what kind of continuous improvement is valued (e.g. technical, focus on business value, eliminating waste, providing better transparency, etc)?

What are the impediments, perhaps cultural, financial or psychological, that prevent such an attitude from flourishing? For instance if individuals are chastised for not getting a task done by a certain time, or rewarded for shipping as many things as possible, those are probably going to be a higher priorities for them than looking at long term effectiveness.

12:03 am June 30, 2020

I am wondering if this is less about "how to do work better and create better products for our customers" and more about the wrong people in the role.

03:52 am June 30, 2020

Thank you for your advice. I am new to the Scrum Role as well so I am still learning!  In thinking on the situation some more, I think I need to start everyone with the basics of Scrum.  Currently the team does not know Scrum or Agile.  Also, other than Daily Scrums, and an occasional Retrospective, the team has not been following Scrum with respect to any other events because the PO did not think they were ready, but, I think we can start.  I will also need to have a heart to heart with my PO who has been off working on other projects.  If we are to succeed as a team, we all need to huddle up and start working as a team!

Any recommendations or resources for teaching the whole Scrum process?