Generation gap in Software Development

Running an “Agile Experience” training for University students at AGH in Krakow made me realize the young engineers see world differently. I always knew and was prepared to work with up and coming professionals, but what does it mean for the Agile team?


One of the rules during our Scrum Simulation Game is that we limit work in progress to just one item. The team can work on one item at a time and one item only. While this rule is usually easily accepted by thirty-something and forty-something corporate professionals it was a huge struggle for 22 y.o. engineers to be! The intent of pushing this Kanban rule to the extreme is to show that we can achieve faster cycle time, less unfinished stories and greater team work when we limit the concurrent tasks within the team. However the new generation prioritized team’s throughput over those things and was really ferocious when raising the issue during game’s retrospectives. The argument that the team could be much more effective if only we allowed for more concurrent tasks.

This repeated for 6 groups (18 Scrum teams) over and over again, leading me to further discussions. The conclusions I quickly drafted was that the new generation prefers isolated work and prioritizes short term wins over not so easy to see sustainable effects of knowledge sharing and collaboration. Talking more about it to Remik Dudek I also realized that the younger the professionals are the more open they are to form quick task force teams rather than long shot established product teams.

While I and people I work with daily usually present ‘my team – my castle’ approach with a strong statement that the longer we work together the more sustainable good results we can deliver this University group showed that they are much more open to so called ‘tent teams’. We form, we solve the problem and we go on for more challenge. And this was visible even when I tried to differentiate by the colors of personality. Usually more stable and security seeking personalities showed that they are up for this type of work as well.

This observations will definitely will change our way of working in the future and I am excited to see how Rules of the Game change for the industry.



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