In a recent blog post, Joel Semeniuk talked about something he called “Best Practice Debt” – referring to the ever increasing amount of work your team will need to consider as you put off following best practices.

The TeamPulse team has realized this as well, as this was one of the reasons we added Best Practice Analysis to TeamPulse early in the product release cycle. We found that even with our own teams, we needed to have an experienced and detailed oriented person look over our project looking for things that “smell bad” –sometimes even a great team doesn’t always consistently follow best practices.

Following best practices is also important for teams just getting started with agile or even with new tools like TeamPulse. In addition, we wanted to provide a feature where teams could incrementally choose what best practices they want to follow, as we have realized that it is sometimes very difficult for a team to start following all best practices all at once. This helps support what Joel refers to as “incrementally paying off your debt”.

With TeamPulse, you can choose what best practices you want the system to automatically track. We recommend starting with a small subset of practices, incrementally “pulling” in best practices as you go.


Note: As you turn on more and more best practices, TeamPulse will go through your project looking for all violations of the best practice – and the longer you go without finding these issues, the more work you will potentially need to do to fix all of the problems.

We encourage you to review the list of best practices you want to follow at least every iteration as part of your project/iteration retrospective meetings (you don’t need to be following Scrum to have retrospectives – as this is a good practice in any methodology you are using).

When should you use the Best Practice Analyzer in TeamPulse? Some teams use it every day to make sure that the data in TeamPulse is always healthy. Some teams run the Best Practice Analyzer before their retrospectives and planning meetings. We say that you should run the Best Practice Analyzer as often as it makes sense for you team – more importantly, however, you should fix the problems TeamPulse finds as soon as possible.

By incrementing the list of best practices in TeamPulse you will be incrementing your team’s behavior towards greater efficiency and waste reduction, helping to control Best Practice Debt.

We’d love to hear about some best practices that you are following as a team. Let us know what new best practices we can add to TeamPulse to make your team even more efficient!

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