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#1 NeoTifa   User is offline

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Team Dynamics and Plagiarism

Posted 24 October 2015 - 09:26 AM

So I posted this on fb and wanted your guys' inputs too. Sorry, it's not the most eloquent thing, as I was typing in a passion, but still, I hope you get the point.

Frame of context:
-Making a Mario clone for class
-Had a shitty 2 weeks (tons of work overtime, had the flu off and on for 6 weeks but worse the last week, brother 1.5 hrs away had a baby, broke up with my bf of 2 years, etc.)
-I've been in charge of Items and Enemies since the beginning
-I worked ahead in that area and laid the framework for plenty of future enhancements/storycards
-Implemented item and enemy movement 2 sprints early, got bonus points for it.

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What do you do when your teammates keep you out of the loop and then take storycards you've already laid the framework for and implemented 2 releases early (and got bonus points for) and assigned them to themselves, inflated the work anticipated, and are basically getting in your koolaid? We've basically had assigned roles since we started. I did items and enemies, 1 does mario, 1 does level/env, and 1 does controls and physics. Since I didn't have anything for my part I took on collision detection, but I didn't get it done because I had a LOT going on the last few weeks. In real life, teams don't meet all their commitments every sprint. Sure it looks bad, but it happens EVERY release, there are at least 5 cards that don't get done. I only got half done, and then they meet (without me, I was working for 32 like hours straight) and assigned tasks without my input and they basically reassigned all tasks, and they literally only having me doing the card I missed last sprint. They took my items and enemies from me. The fuck? Who do these assholes think they are? I just had a really bad 2 weeks, it's not typical. What ever.


TL;DR: team met up without me, assigned tasks and reassigned roles without my input, and 1 guy basically planning on stealing credit for stuff I already did.

I know this is only for school, but how does one handle this?

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Replies To: Team Dynamics and Plagiarism

#2 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: Team Dynamics and Plagiarism

Posted 24 October 2015 - 10:04 AM

I think I've said this before, but this sounds like lousy team dynamics, and it sounds like people who don't understand agile methods. The point is to get more work done - points are not a way of "keeping score", they're a way of estimating the work that's going to get done in the next sprint. So it sounds like the team as a whole is thinking about this the wrong way.

I'm not sure I understand this part in particular:

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team met up without me, assigned tasks and reassigned roles without my input, and 1 guy basically planning on stealing credit for stuff I already did.


Is this work you'd committed and got through code review? Is this work that you were doing on some branch which they went into and started working on? What happened here?
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#3 NeoTifa   User is offline

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Re: Team Dynamics and Plagiarism

Posted 24 October 2015 - 10:24 AM

When I created Item and Enemy for Sprint 1, I did it with movement in mind, and even when I populated them on the screen, the moved in 1 direction at least. I had the foundations laid for when physics and collision detection were brought in the picture. That was all implemented and put into the first release, which gained us bonus points for being early. So, this sprint (3) there were 2 cards for item and enemy movement. Guess what? I already did it. It was fully functional. However, since I didn't go to class Thursday because of work, they stayed after and planned for this sprint already by assigning tasks, and it looks like they completely reassigned roles. The controller guy is doing the levels and parallax scrolling, the Mario guy is stealing my items and enemy's, the the level guy is doing Mario. They only assigned me the collision detection from last sprint that I didn't get done. They did not wait until we could all meet to get my input. They just completely pulled the rug out from under me and I feel with Mario guy taking my cards THAT I ALREADY DID EARLY, I feel really betrayed.

Also, I'm familiar with agile, as I do it at work. These guys don't have any experience, and are just hacking things together instead of creating frameworks. I think 1 guy might have had a summer internship, but still. I mean, you can throw lumber into a pile all day long, and it might provide shelter for a time, but if you wanna add you're gonna have to start over again (which is what's happening with Mario). They're looking at their feet, and I'm trying to look 10 miles ahead. What's mostly pissing me off is them trying to claim work I've already done.

This post has been edited by NeoTifa: 24 October 2015 - 10:26 AM

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#4 jon.kiparsky   User is offline

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Re: Team Dynamics and Plagiarism

Posted 25 October 2015 - 12:10 PM

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Also, I'm familiar with agile, as I do it at work.


I understand that - but with Agile, it's always about the team. You get Agile, but now it's part of your job to help the rest of the team get it. (or else, live with the frustration of a team that's working against itself) In a sense, you're becoming the Agile coach. The trouble is, it doesn't sound like this is something your team is willing to accept, because, again, they don't get it. So maybe the problem here is, how do you get these guys to understand how this ought to be done? This sounds like a software engineering course, and team dynamics are certainly part of software engineering - perhaps this is something for you to consult your prof on. It seems to me that maybe you and your team are not aligned on the outcomes you're optimizing for. You're shooting for "get the project done and done well" and they're more interested in "get credit for pieces of the project". If you approach your professor to ask about this, at least they'll understand that they've failed to really get this point across, and it'll probably improve their course in the future, and perhaps they'll have some good pointers on how to address this sort of problem. (which may well come up again, in some form, in your career)


I'm not sure that I can give very good advice without knowing more about the different players, but my approach in general would be to improve the estimation process, and to catch this sort of thing in code review. Clearly if you've already implemented this, then there shouldn't be new stories about it, so those should have been marked as "done", or simply deleted.
If people persist in playing games with the sprint, then you might have to have a conversation with them - probably they're not understanding things the same way you are, and you need to figure out what they're thinking and come to some agreement about how the rest of this project is to be developed.
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