Dealing with less competent agile team members



  • The company uses JIRA for 3 week sprints.

    Team members are virtual with one QA tester who does all the testing that she documents as subtasks for each story.

    Developers must validate their changes by doing their own unit testing on the product and then she does the user acceptance testing with users. I know this is contrary to the agile guidelines but her limited technical acumen means she is incapable of doing anything more than user testing.

    She participates in all the events -grooming, reviews and demos. But she is heavily dependent on the other team members, calling several "hand off" meetings to go over the simplest changes and sending a high number of unnecessary chat messages and emails.
    These are disruptive and annoying.

    The dev manager will not do anything because she reports to the director (his boss) and he is the kind of middle manager who would never complain!

    What can we do as a team to manage this without this looking like a pile on?

    Every time she sends me a chat message I ask her if she would like any help. Usually the answer is "No, I just wanted to update you." and my response of "Ok, next time please just update the ticket" never works!



  • A remark first: this person is not "less competent", they simply have a different job than yours.

    Their job requires communication.

    The question is how to get them to communicate in a way that does not disturb you.

    You have told them what you prefer. They did not listen. The next step is to bring that up in whatever improvement process you have in place. A retrospective meeting for example.

    Don't point fingers and stay neutral. "I get a lot of messages" is an easier problem to solve than "Alice sends me a lot of messages". One is factual, the other is accusatory. Stay factual and you should be able to solve this in your feedback process.



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