There’s a funny thing with us humans. Sometimes we get so occupied with the “what” that we overlook the “why.” Take the stand up. Tell us what you did yesterday, doing today, and what obstacles are in the way. But WHY are you there? This is the difference between understanding the mechanics of scrum and embodying an agile mindset. So here’s my why’s. Yours may vary.
This is our last responsible moment. We’ve put off making a decision as long as possible about what we should do next, and now it’s time to decide. It’s the entry point for work into our sprint backlog and the opportunity for the team to predict how much work can be completed by sprint end. We should walk out of this ceremony with a vision of what we’re doing over the course of the sprint and a set of goals that unifies us as a team.
It embodies this agile principle: “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.”
Daily Stand Up
Let’s talk about how we can help one another. Additionally, I’ll commit to completing a measure of work for tomorrow, and I’ll tell you if I met yesterday’s commitment. The best conversations will occur after we wrap up as we pair up to determine the specifics of how we can meet our daily goals as a team. Just as user stories start conversations about requirements, the stand up starts conversations about teamwork.
It embodies this agile principle: “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”
This is our opportunity to fail fast and fail early. Will the customers or stakeholders agree with how we solved their problems? Will they disagree and tell us how we can improve our product? Where the stand up is our opportunity to sync as a team, the review is our opportunity to sync with our customer. It is also a forcing function to ensure we’re delivering software that works. No smokes and mirrors here. No lipstick on our pig.
It embodies a few agile principles:
- “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”
- “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.”
- “Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.”
We demonstrated a kick ass product at the review, but how did it feel getting there? Being the best, fastest, smartest team is not a destination. It’s a journey. This is our opportunity to reflect on the sprint, but stay focused on the process, the pain points, and the learning opportunities. Save chatter about the product for another time. Be open, honest, and candid with one another. We should walk out of our retro with a better understanding of ourselves as individuals, ourselves as a team, and with actionable ways we want to improve together. We’ll hold each other accountable to these improvements next sprint.
It embodies this agile principle: “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”
Remember that scrum is an implementation of the Agile Manifesto. It’s the agile mindset that matters more than the mechanic itself. Finally, I doubt anything in this blog post is groundbreaking, earth shattering, or even inspiring. Instead, it serves as a reminder and also a challenge. Think your team members can describe the intent of your ceremonies? Find out. I bet you’ll be surprised.