Continuous Synchronization

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German Version

Continuous Synchronization

Continuous synchronization in a team means having a close natural balance which results in team flow. Continuous synchronization is an objective of Agile Moves.

We consider being on equal ground, self-responsibility and the goal of continuous synchronization as the foundation for every agile development. In a continuously synchronized team, there is an open and transparent atmosphere and a reduction in friction, so that energy can be productively dedicated to achieving the team’s goals.

In contrast to traditional approaches for project based work (waterfall model), agile development places great value on the synchronization of all project members. In a traditional approach, synchronization only occurs at dedicated handover points. For instance, while developing software, when the specification has attained a sufficient level of maturity, the designers synchronize with the developers. At the end of development, when the software is given over to testing, the developers synchronize with the testers. According to the number of steps in the process, there may be fewer or more synchronization points.

Synchronization In Scrum

In Scrum, for instance, there is synchronization at the beginning and end of each sprint. Depending on the length of the sprint, all Scrum teams meet together every one to four weeks to form new plans for their work. At the end of the sprint, the Scrum team synchronizes with the stakeholders and among themselves in the retrospective. In the daily scrum, the development team synchronizes itself at least once a day. In extreme programming, the developers synchronize themselves through pair programming and code reviews, in Kanban through the Kanban board.

Less alignment in the team increases the risk of ‘working for the trash bin’. Solutions continue to be developed which are no longer needed, or two components which should work with one another don’t mesh. Because important information is missing, the work takes much longer. Considering the frequency of these problems in traditional development, the effort put into synchronization in agile development is more than justified. However, so far we’ve only touched upon synchronization points. In music, a different approach is called for.

Continuous Synchronization In Music

Musicians in a band or an orchestra don’t synchronize themselves at the end of a passage, a musical phrase or a measure. Playing music means being continually synchronized. Each person who has played music, even if it’s just clapping or drumming beats with your hands to a rhythm, knows the feeling of not being in rhythm anymore with the music. You can recognize when it sounds a bit strange, because you’re a little out of the rhythm, and it’s obvious when you’re really, really off. Likewise, you can also recognize when it’s exactly right, when the beat lands where it was meant to be. This applies to all types of music, and not only when you play a composition with other musicians which you’ve all rehearsed for a long time, but also when you freely improvise jazz or when you’re bawling out a fan song with a crowd in the football stadium. Regardless of what type of music, you feel yourself become a part of it when you’re in continuous synchronization with it. Yet, you can only begin to bring in your own music with the freedom which synchronization gives you.

Continuous Synchronization In Football

Football teams always enter into a game equipped with a fundamental order and a tactic. Every player holds a position which is associated with specific tasks. So if you’re part of a four-man backfield defense, you know what’s expected of you in specific situations. Through displacements on the field and the reactions of individual players to the flow of the game, this fundamental order is partially abandoned. Yet when the ball is not in play during typical situations like a kickoff, free kick, corner kick, goal kick or throw-in, each player returns to their position. The team also synchronizes itself during turnovers and interceptions, in order to adjust to new situations in the game.

The longer this synchronization is maintained, the better the team’s interaction. The players can rely on one another, because they know where the other team members are standing or where they are running to, how to advance the attack or block their own penalty space. In addition to the special skills of each player, how well the team plays is dependent on how long this synchronization is maintained. Just like really good musicians playing a piece of music, really good teams can maintain this synchronization throughout the entire game. This is where the battle sport of football starts to become a form of art.

Continuous Synchronization While Reading

Continuous synchronization while reading is referred to as ‘fluent reading’, and it is a skill which we have acquired over time. For example,

  • While reading this text, your sense of awareness is running in sync with the text.
  • When difficult, unknown words disrupt this sense and you need a moment to get back into the flow of the text, you gain a feeling for this synchronization.
  • This reading flow becomes a matter of course only after many years of continuous training.

Training Continuous Synchronization

It probably takes a little longer until teams are able to operate in sync. In any case, since you go to work every day, you can also use this time for training necessary skills with small, continuous steps (Move).

  • Focus your training on the points of synchronization first, and then move on to how long you can maintain this synchronization.
  • Use small steps (Move) when transitioning from individual synchronization points towards continuous synchronization.

The Effort Continuous Synchronization Requires

  • The effort expended on continuous synchronization of a song or orchestral piece, for instance, is actually minimal if all of the performers possess the necessary skills
  • The fewer skills the individual team members possess, the greater the effort to synchronize time and again at determined points.
  • Therefore, it’s important to first ascertain which skills the team and its members require in order to be able to continuously synchronize. Secondly, find out how present these skills are among the team and to what degree the team members have mastery of them. Next, determine how these skills can be specifically trained. The Workshops have been designed to aid you in this process.
  • All of these necessary skills are rooted in the team being on equal ground and can be trained in small steps (Move).