Inspiring an old scrum team to get better

chuzzeteAgile, Inspiring, Leadership, Retrospectives, Scrum1 Comment

I’ve been working with a Scrum team at Seedbox Technologies since May 2013 as their Scrum Master.  Since then, the team has followed the company standards regarding the sprint duration, which is two weeks. That means that the team has done at least 16 sprints so far, which in our case has implied the same amount of sprint retrospectives.

I don’t know for your teams, but by the end of last year this team started to say out loud, that they were having a hard time to find value in doing sprint retrospectives.

So after discussing with some team members and gather ideas about how to encourage the team to get better during 2014, I found this incredible article named “Scrum is Like Chess” written by John Piekos on his blog  Agile Making Progress, which inspired me to do the activity that follows, which I’m naming “Renewal Agenda for Scrum Teams”:

  1. Set the stage
    1. Use the team words to introduce the activity. Remember that your goal is to inspire them to improve, so explain them why are you doing this with a powerful introduction. I.e: ” The beginning of a year is the perfect time to think ahead, to dream about a better future, so today, we are going to dream together”.
  2. What is in for me
    1. Present the content of this slide share presentation to the team. In this presentation Scrum is compared with Chess, as a way to encourage ongoing learning, continuous improvement. In addition there is a good explanation about why companies have decided to move from waterfall to scrum.
    2. When navigating the presentation, look at the team and ask powerful questions to validate the content, and as a way to confirm if they are getting inspired.
  3. Let’s dream about a better Scrum futureMastering-Scrum-Team
  4. Let’s think about it
    1. Ask the team to take 5-10 minutes to think about the question “what we should do to master Scrum in 2014 ?”,
      1. make them think about the elements of the scrum framework.
      2. Remember them to think about how to improve regarding the agile values too.
    2. Ask them to do it alone, and when you see they are almost done, allow them to share their thoughts with their neighbors.
    3. Side note: I’ve used small post-its to gather the team ideas.
  5. Gather data
    1. Gather all ideas written by the team,
    2. Using a flip-chart, help them to group all ideas by creating categories.
    3. Make the team revise all data gathered and to confirm all categories.
  6. Confirm your intentions
    1. Now that all their ideas are classified in groups, tell them that you as their Scrum Master, are planning to use this flip-chart as an input to plan the upcoming sprint retrospectives.
    2. Request their permission to do it
  7. What to do next?
    1. Bring the flip-chart created by the team at the beginning of the
    2. Guide them to prioritize by category, based on what represents more risk for the well being of the team.
    3. Now you and the team, agree on at least what would be the plan and the content of sprint retrospectives for the rest of the year.
  8. Make the plan visible
    1. I strongly suggest you, to make the team’s plan visible, as a way to remember them, what would be the content of the upcoming retrospectives.
  9. Close the meeting 
    1. Ask the team feedback about the plan they’ve created and confirm again, the results of the plan. Be sure that nothing important is missing, remember to ask them.

This is my strategy to inspire old teams to get better this year, and I hope it would work.

So, I’m planning to share periodical updates about this small project, to let you know how the team is doing and get your feedback.

Well, I encourage you to share what you do to get your teams inspired like I did, and also I would be more than happy to hear your thoughts about this crazy experiment.

All the best, and see you in the next big pill.

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