A powerful development team must include all the necessary members to make decisions, and make them on a timely basis. Every business has encountered the IT staff claiming “it’s not the hardware, it’s the software.” while the development team says, “it’s not the software it’s the hardware.” Meanwhile the owner and users say, “I don’t care, just make it work.”
User involvement is one of the key principles to enable this, so the user or user representative from the business must be closely involved on a daily basis.
The project team must be empowered and have complete ownership to make decisions and take responsibility to deliver the product. Any interference with the project team is disruptive and reduces their motivation and ability to deliver.
The team must establish and clarify the requirements together, prioritize them together, agree to the tasks required to deliver them together, and estimate the effort involved together.
It may seem expedient to skip this level of team participation at the beginning. It’s tempting to get a subset of the team to do this (maybe just the product owner and analyst), because it’s much more efficient. We have all been trained over the years that we must be 100% efficient (or more!) and having the whole team involved in these steps seems very expensive and feels like too many chefs in the kitchen.
However this is a key principle that should not be overlooked. It ensures the buy-in and commitment from the entire project team from the outset; something that later pays dividends. When challenges arise throughout the project, the team feels a real sense of ownership. And then it’s doesn’t seem so expensive.