Scrum is nothing new or something special for people in the industry. You can easily find a book or article to understand the concept and theory, so I’m not going to give you a definition of Scrum. Instead, I’m going to share my personal experiences applying Scrum to projects.
1. Support from management team
If you come from traditional software development background (e.g: Waterfall or CMMI), then using Scrum is a big change in mindset as there is no ‘manager’ role at all. This is a change that some people in the organization need to familiarise and accept (but in reality the manager still exists).
The reason we say there is ‘no manager’ in Scrum means it is not a top down approach where the manager receives the instruction and then they forward/assign tasks to the team. The manager can still give opinion/ideas or suggestion during his observation.
2. Develop a Scrum team
A Scrum comprises of less than 7 team members (cross functional) and in order to say whether your team is Scrum you can measures the followings metrics
Self-managing team: to build up a self-managing team is a very challenging task for the Scrum Master and for the organization but once you have this, then you have built a strong base to succeed.
3. Effective retrospective
I have seen a lot of boring and non-value retrospective meetings and some of the reasons are:
- Not recognising the value and meaning of retrospective
- Unprepared for meetings
- The meeting becomes useless when nobody want to share information due to the atmosphere or possibly culture
- People just don’t care what happened in the sprint
- People think everything is perfect and feel there isn’t to discuss
There are many techniques to do retrospective but here is one of techniques that we used which works pretty well in our projects: sticky notes retrospective
Here are steps I took:
Select your favorite colours (I usually prefer the 3 below):
- Red: negative
- Green: positive
- Yellow: neutral (could be an idea or general feedback)
Once we have the sticky note colours you like, buy a bunch of them and distribute a number of these 3 coloured sticky notes to everybody.
Set a timer (I normally give 5 minutes)
Please make sure they don’t copy each other when writing their thoughts
Make sure you use a count-down timer so people know when to submit their sticky notes.
Review sticky notes and group them
Once you receive all the sticky notes, review and group them together. You might see a pattern, just keep only the one best that covers the issue, and group the issues by category. I usually categorise them as -technical issue, communication, process.
You will be surprised of what the group may write about
I saw one note like this from a product owner who comes from United States of America “it works really well”. You will also will see people express their ideas better and more detail when they writing in a quiet room.
Stick them all on the board and discuss with everybody
Now you will see some very colourful notes on the board. Go through each of the notes with the team and remember, you don’t have to find a solution for the issue immediately but it is great if you can. The reason to write itdown as retrospective is not about ‘finding solutions’ but ‘raising the issue(s)’.
In the next post, I will share about the important practices in Scrum.