We’ve all been there, trying out new things with teams. Some work best, others take longer. But one thing I have noticed over my years as Scrum Master is that there is a set of quick wins. These quick wins are something that can help a team on the first Q they start doing scrum.
If you want to learn more about some of them, I already have slide decks prepared. Fill free to reach out and I will share them with you.
So what are the 5 quick wins I see that can help any scrum team? Especially if they are a young scrum team.
Over the years I’ve become more and more in love with Shu Ha Ri, and I believe these 5 tips will help your team on the “Shu” step.
You should not run a marathon before you know how to walk.
#1 DAILY SCRUM FOCUSED ON DEPENDENCIES AND SPRINT GOAL.
It happens a lot, especially with a young team, that everyone feels like the daily is a status reporting meeting. Although I see the value in keeping your peers up to date with what you are doing, I feel that if that needs to happen during the daily, we as a team have a big communication problems.
By focusing on the Sprint Goal, how we are going to achieve it today and what is blocking us, a team will greatly improve the quality of their Daily.
There is, of course, room for improvement and change to the format of the Daily, but that won’t be a quick win.
#2 SCHEDULE MEETING OR WORKSHOPS AFTER DAILY SCRUM
I’ve talked before about context switching, and how bad it is. You can find more information all over the interwebs and even on the website and book of Jeff Sutherland. Nothing burns more time than moving from development to meeting, to development, to meeting.
If the development morning phase of your team is already cut due to the Daily, it is better to use that “cut” already and continue with a meeting or workshop right after. The context is already switched.
Another quick win for me is to schedule them for the end of the day, but that can be different from colleague to colleague. The safest bet is always after the daily.
#3 GET A RETRO BOX
This one is super simple. Just reuse any box you have and make it into a “retro box”. What do I mean by this?
A retro box is a place every team member can put a note for the retro. I had several teams say that they feel sometimes they forget things before the retro. That is fair, if we are doing a 2-week sprint it is extremely likely you are going to forget about something. This way, it will be saved in the box, when we do the retro we give the notes back to the writer if it still makes sense he/she mentions on the retro, otherwise, we can scratch it.
This does not substitute communication and talking with your peers, but helps with dealing with a context switch. If you think of something you can quickly just right it in a piece of paper and put it in the box. I got this idea from GTD and the “capture” step.
#4 FORGET ABOUT SPRINT COMMITMENT, FOCUS ON ACHIEVING THE GOAL
Very controversial I know, especially if you are from the old days of project management. I do believe that teams can also commit to a sprint backlog, but I think that can only happen after they are stable enough on reaching their sprint goal.
Remember Shu Ha Ri. First, we learn how to Obey the rules, and the rule is ” Each Sprint has a goal of what is to be built “. Start small, and when the team has confidence in that, start pushing for a bit more and more. Continuously improving on their performance.
#5 CHECK YOUR HAPPINESS METRIC
I’ve heard a lot of comments over the years. “We don’t need to be happy, this is work”, or “A team doesn’t need to be happy, they need to perform”. Fair enough, but why would you want to be unhappy?
A happy team is a high performing team. This is super easy to ask, just do it at the end of the retrospective. Ask your team on a scale of X to Y how happy you were with the previous 2 weeks.
You can go deeper and ask about the company, team and sprint work. Or you can higher level and do like I have been doing recently. Just ask for an overall feeling using a weather vote, from sunny to stormy, how are you feeling?
Do you have any other quick wins you tried with your teams?
I really think that if you try a couple of these with your team next Q you will see good improvements, and if not, you can always blame me. 😉