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Real life tips: Do’s and Don’ts for Scrum implementation – Meetings

The Daily Standup – Do’s

Do it. And keep it short. “But we got this problem and we really need to get our heads around it!” Do so, but do not waste other people’s time. Usually, fixing a problem doesn’t involve every single team member. So, while it is important to let everybody on the team know about this problem, it is not important to let everybody know how you think you are going to fix it. A Daily Standup is nothing more than keeping everybody up to speed on what was done the day before, what is planned for the actual day and letting your team members know if you either need help with something or are able to help out because you have slack. Pro tip: Have a “follow up matrix” available next to your taskboard so you can quickly connect the necessary people for a follow up meeting.

The Retrospective – Do’s

Again, do it. Regularly. A colleague of mine once told me about a phone call with a client who said: “We neither have the time nor the budget to do retrospectives.” Her reply was strikingly simple: “So, you’re telling me you neither have the time, nor the budget to get better?” And that pretty much wraps it up. A retrospective is the opportunity to foster continuous learning and improvement. “Yeah, I’d really like to not do retrospectives, because we did it in my last company and they were always planned for one hour but really took three and in the end we didn’t have any action items.” Well, you just managed to formulate the problem and the solution in the same sentence: If you do a retrospective, there has to be a facilitator (hint: ScrumMaster) a timebox and an agenda. Part of that agenda is, for each and everyone to think about and write down action items that they are willing to commit to in the next sprint. And since we are talking about continuous learning: whatever doesn’t make the cut in that retrospective, simply makes the top of the list in the next one. You also want to do retrospectives if only a fraction of the team members is present, because there is never ever a time when you won’t find anything to improve. Get every voice in the room. Almost every team has this one person that has great ideas but barely speaks up because she is too shy or gets bullied for wearing weird clothes. Creating an environment where everyone is safe and every opinion is valued and appreciated is one of the key principles of retrospectives.

The Retrospective – Don’ts

Don’t invite line managers unless the team asks for it. Having superiors in a retrospective has an effect on the flow of ideas because on top of potential pressure to speak up in a group and having to sound really smart, team members then start to put every word on a scale in order not to step into a pitfall and maybe jeopardize their next pay raise. What happens in a retrospective stays in a retrospective – except for actions that come out as a result. If you go on bragging about how crazy your colleagues went and who has trouble with whom you will jeopardize the trust that has been established in this environment. Only results matter – so if you have identified issues that require management attention you can, of course, address the required parties in order to get impediments out of the way.