How to make SCRUM work for your Customer - Using real life examples
Throughout the years, I've realized that teams are becoming more and more aware of how important is to properly embrace SCRUM. Using proper engineering techniques like continuous integration or automated testing, not disregarding the retrospectives or have effective planning meetings with the customer, are some of the most frequent examples.
Despite all of this, there’s one aspect that I believe it hasn't been properly tackled by most of the teams: The customer engagement in the context of SCRUM. How many times the Product owner shows himself in a planning meeting without knowing exactly what he needs to do or what he should have prepared? How often is customer’s internal communication completely absent, preventing them to agree on the user stories and how they should describe them to the team? These are just some examples that undermine the efficiency and effectiveness of SCRUM , having it unfairly blamed quite often for the failure (or limited success) of the projects.
With this session, I'll share the strategy that I've been using (and recommending) over the last several years to engage a customer. The key focus is to make sure that he's is not only familiarized with the team’s tasks and activities but also with his own tasks.
Outline/Structure of the Talk
During this session I try to bring some concrete examples on how to properly explain SCRUM to the customer by using analogy with real life examples, like a trip by car. Please note that I will not give a plain explanation on the SCRUM concepts, as I assume that the audience will have them.
The focus will be in four different aspects and for a session of 75 minutes it should go like this:
0:00 - Introduction - The importance of engaging the customer.
0:05 - Introducing SCRUM key concepts to the customer -
- The wonderful trip (The release plan)
- Places to visit and things to buy (The Backlog)
- How long we'll be travelling (Explaining Rough Estimates and points)
- A typical trip day (Sprint and velocity)
- sightseeing and souvenirs (describing user stories)
0:30 - Introducing the Calendar of activities (based on Mitch Lacey's Calendar - 14 days sprint calendar)
- Planning meeting, the critical event
- The Stories workshop and the backlog management
- Grooming with the team
- Prioritizing the Backlog
- Reviewing the sprint (review meeting)
0:60 - Additional Feedback during the Sprint - An additional way of collecting feedback from users
0:65 - Booking customer's schedule
0:70 - Q&A
At the end of the session, I always recommend the use of the calendar described, as it's definitely a great tool.
- Learn how Important is to properly introduce your costumer to scrum by describing and exemplifying the key concepts with examples from your daily life;
- Learn How to make very clear to the customer his responsibilities and the team's responsibilities by adopting a well defined and structured calendar of events;
- Learn how to ensure that the customer commits his time for the required activities by booking his a schedule in the right moment;
- Learn an additional way to collect permanent feedback from the customer with the additional feedback mechanism used during each sprint.
Scrum Masters, Team members, Product Owners, Stakeholders in general, Managers, IT Directors