Matthieu's Playbook: Tried and True Patterns for Kickstarting Scrum Teams New and Old
You recently completed a two-day training, and you are now a Certified ScrumMaster. There's only one problem: what do you actually do next?
Part of the genius of the Agile Manifesto is that it doesn't tell you exactly what to do. It gives you a resilient foundation of values and principles that is grounded in discovered truths, and then lets you figure out how to apply it. Scrum describes process a bit more, but still leaves a lot of open questions. Again, this room to adapt is incredibly powerful. However, at the outset it can be quite daunting. Even after going through Certified ScrumMaster training, new practitioners may be a little lost as to what exactly to do next.
Over the years, I've built up a set of simple, concrete practices that I use both to get teams started and to help existing teams that are having trouble. Recently, I helped three teams get up to speed in quick succession. I wrote down these practices as a playbook. While I look forward to the day when these teams grow beyond my playbook and throw it in the trash, I have seen great results from starting with a small set of concrete practices. Come to this session and walk out with simple, specific things you can do to get your team flying.
Outline/structure of the Session
Note: The reality is that we don't always have the luxury of time. This session will include tips on which of these techniques to start with if you don't have the luxury of using them all.
- Start with the Ending
- Ideally: Set multi-sprint, medium-term goals (OKRs as the successor to release plans)
- At the very least: story writing is an art to be perfected; for now, just get the end part clear
- Set Yourselves Up To Succeed
- During Sprint Planning, build your sprint one story at a time to avoid overcommitment
- Cycle through four questions to build a reasonable sprint well understood by the whole team
- To Point or Not to Point
- Ideally: Build the team's "gut sense" of the size of stories through relative estimation
- At the very least: use count of stories as a way to measure completion
- The Daily Question
- Learn a simple question you can ask the team every day to increase their chances of completing their goals.
- Don't Sweep Things Under the Rug
- Discuss why it's so hard to tie off loose ends.
- Discuss why we care
- Learn ways of getting better at it
- Improvement is Hard Work
- Discuss what we can learn from an example of continuous improvement in a different discipline.
- Learn simple habits to drive that improvement
- Backlog Grooming
- 9 times out of 10, backlog grooming is the Product Owner and Tech Lead talking while everyone else looks at their phones
- Learn a small-group exercise that rapidly advances team understanding of stories while keeping everyone engaged from start to finish
Participants will leave with knowledge of how to use basic, concrete steps that can be used alone or in combination to drive strong improvement of their team. Includes steps for jumping to greater effectiveness at each of the following events:
- Daily standup
- Sprint Planning
- Sprint Review
- Sprint Retrospective
- Backlog Grooming
- Medium-term planning
Agile Coaches, ScrumMasters
The practices I recommend are aimed at giving you practical steps to take right away. If you have a team and want to get things off the ground, you have everything you need to take advantage of this practical session.