Team Practices Group/How To Engage With TPG

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The Team Practices Group (TPG) was dissolved in 2017.

The Team Practices Group (TPG) facilitates the discovery and implementation of processes, methodologies, and approaches that work best for each group or individual. We also emphasize clarity, trust, customer value, and continual improvement. To that end, we work with individuals, teams, and groups within the foundation, on an as-needed/as-available basis.

TPG is able to perform various functions, like meeting facilitation or Scrummastering. When practical, we like to teach those skills to others, in order to increase capacity and empowerment throughout the organization. With that in mind, when you request help from TPG, consider whether it would be more effective and healthy for TPG to "teach you how to fish" rather than just "feed you a fish".

How to request help[edit]

To request TPG support in any of the team's skills, please email the TPG manager with the following information:

  • Type of support you are requesting
  • Duration of support including start date
  • Problem/issue you hope to solve with TPG support
  • Perceived benefit to your team, the foundation, or the movement, of solving this

We will evaluate requests and balance them with existing work and other requests. You will receive a response within a week which might contain questions for you, or information regarding the team’s availability to accommodate your request in the timeframe you indicated.

Please note that creating a task in Phabricator and putting it in the Team-Practices backlog may not result in quick action or response from the TPG, especially if the task does not contain a clear request of the TPG. See below for more on engaging with the TPG in Phabricator.

Example requests[edit]

  • Problem to solve: we have 7 backlogs and workboards and feel overwhelmed. Help us streamline them somehow.
    • Type of support: agile coaching on backlog design
    • Skills requested: agile coaching, process design
    • Duration of support: maybe a couple 2 hour meetings any time before end of the month
    • Benefit: a clearer way for us to manage our work and raise the visibility for requests from the foundation and the movement that might otherwise get lost or overlooked

  • Problem to solve: we just started using kanban, and want help organizing the team’s workflow to develop highest value work first
    • Type of support: agile coaching on Kanban process
    • Skills requested: agile coaching, Kanban
    • Duration of support: 1 quarter starting beginning of Q2
    • Benefit: team morale and improved customer satisfaction

  • Problem to solve: Maya just became our Scrummaster and although she has had some training, she could use support as she builds her skills
    • Type of support: coach our new non-TPG scrummaster get up to speed
    • Skills requested: agile coaching
    • Duration of support: months?
    • Benefit: Maya can be more effective sooner, and the team can have an easier transition to scrum

  • Problem to solve: We need to migrate to this new expense management software, and we’re not sure we can do it in 6 months and without major disruption to stakeholders
    • Type of support: help us figure out and execute a plan
    • Skills requested: project management
    • Duration of support: hopefully less than 6 months
    • Benefit: the project will be a lot more efficient and effective if it is run well which will lead to cost savings

  • Problem to solve: Our team has to work closely with another team, but they use different planning tools, so we’re having trouble coordinating
    • Type of support: simplifying communications and interactions between two non-engineering/technology teams
    • Skills requested: Cross-team communication and collaboration, Consulting and support for context-appropriate workflows, Team and Organizational Dynamics
    • Duration of support: maybe a week or two?
    • Benefit: improved collaboration, reduced churn, improved response time to customers

  • Problem to solve: Our team working on a high-priority product needs release management support from the TPG to meet our quarterly goal
    • Type of support: release management
    • Skills requested: Cross-team communication and collaboration, risk mitigation, General Group facilitation
    • Duration of support: one quarter
    • Benefit: We increse the odds of successfuly delivering our high-priority product.

Guidelines for Phabricator tasks[edit]

The TPG uses Phabricator to help prioritize and track its day-to-day work. If you have a small task for the TPG, please feel free to tag the task with 'Team-Practices' and clearly describe the action you would like the TPG to take. The TPG will generally de-tag itself from open-ended tasks without any clear ask of the team. Note that the team attempts to triage its backlog of tasks in Phabricator once a week, but the team does not guarantee a timely response for tasks tagged with 'Team-Practices'. For non-trivial tasks, time-sensitive tasks, or requests for a deeper engagement with the team, please follow guidelines in 'How to request help' above.

Is the TPG a dependency for your team's quarterly goal?[edit]

If the answer is "yes" or "I'm not sure", please follow the guidelines for "How to request help" with as much lead time as possible.