Understanding Swarming in Agile
Swarming, in the Agile context, is a collaborative approach where team members with the necessary skills join forces to complete a task that is proving challenging for a single team member. This method is particularly beneficial in maintaining a steady workflow and ensuring timely delivery. It is a common practice in Agile and is especially prevalent among Kanban teams to uphold Work-in-Progress (WIP) limits.
Swarming Patterns and Roles
The application of swarming can vary based on the team's structure and roles. For instance, a user story with five tasks could be approached in two ways. In a traditional Scrum team, tasks 1-3 might be assigned to a developer, and tasks 4-5 to a tester. However, in a swarming scenario, all tasks would be listed, all capable team members identified, and a collective strategy would be agreed upon to tackle the work. This approach opens up a multitude of swarming variations, depending on the number of people identified as capable.
In this diagram:
The process starts with the backlog, where all the user stories are stored.
A user story is selected from the backlog for the team to work on.
The team then swarms on the selected user story. This means that all team members (developers, testers, business analysts) work together on the same user story.
Developers focus on code implementation, testers on testing, and business analysts on requirement clarification.
All these activities lead to the completion of the user story.
Conclusion: The Flexibility of Swarming
In conclusion, swarming is a flexible, team-based approach that encourages collaboration and helps maintain workflow and delivery schedules. It is not a one-size-fits-all strategy but rather a method that teams can adapt to their specific contexts and needs.
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