This week started by looking for an activity to play in the sprint retrospective, with one of the most experienced scrum teams that I have the pleasure to work with. What I had in mind was to play something to help the team to reinforce some scrum practices and encourage their continuous improvement, by using the scrum values (Commitment, Openness, Focus, Respect, and Courage).
So once again, my friends of tastycupcakes.org offered me an example that we applied with amazing results. We played the Value Driven retrospective game by using a little twist of the LeanCoffee format to organize and track the meeting, but just in this case, the subjects to discuss were the scrum values.
Here were the steps that we followed to prepare the game:
- Print out a copy of each scrum value per developer in a paper card.
- Print out one copy of each scrum value to put into the personal kanban.
Once we got here, we were ready to start playing the game, so here we go with the steps that we suggest you to follow to complete this incredible activity:
- Give the printed scrum value paper cards to each team member.
- Set up a personal kanban, with the printed scrum value paper cards, to provide a structure for the conversation.
- Ask the team to order in priority the scrum values and then start discussing the first one on the top of the list.
- Provide a quick overview of the scrum values. Try asking for a volunteer to read the definition of the selected scrum value.
- Take the scrum value, and asks the team, to get an individual initial pulse, “How do you feel we are doing in value x“. Ask the team to rate the value from one to five, I ask them to write down their note on the paper. Make sure to try to get the team to vote all at once, since, some members may be unconsciously influenced by another’s vote.
- Do a round table asking for a volunteer to start answering Why did you vote 5? For the ’2′s’, why did you vote 2?”. Allow a short time for discussion.
- Now that the team has a deeper understanding of others perspectives, ask the team to vote again on the value using the Fists-to-Five or their hand fingers. Ask the team to commit to a number from the second round. If there is a significant divide, such as half 4′s and half 5′s, I take the lower number.
- Ask the team to write down the number agreed to in a sticker and them put it into the evaluated scrum value.
- Do this for each value.
- Once you are done each value, ask the team: “Which value do we want to improve on until our next meeting?”. Gain commitment from the team through discussion and visual vote, such as Fists-to-Five or thumbs up/thumbs down.
- Ask the team ”What is the one thing we can do to improve living this value?”. Stress that it is just one thing, since this brings focus and increases success of the improvement, rather than tackling too much and failing.
- Allow the team to discuss. Gain consensus and commitment to what the team will do to improve by the next Retrospective/meeting. Phrase the commitment into a Believe Statement: The Believe Statement format is: We Believe in [insert value], therefore we will [insert what we do] . For example, our team’s “Believe Statement” was “We Believe in Courage, therefore we will have a team building get together so we can establish a safer environment to be courageous with one another. “
- Ask them to write the Believe Statement and post it in a visible place for the team. It is recommended placing the Believe Statement on to the Value Card so it reminds the of our current status and that we are doing something specifically to improve it. It is also handy so that you do not forget to review your results in your next Retrospective.
- Review your Believe Statement/Goal and the results the next meeting and then repeat the process.
Activity duration: 90 minutes
When to use this game: Highly recommended activity when you get some concrete examples to explain how the team is doing regarding the scrum values, and bring them to the table if the team doesn’t during the discussion to agree on a note for the scrum value.
Results: Awesome results, the team was able to discuss about their scrum practices without forcing them to do it.
Now is the time to try it by yourself, and share your experiences with us. Try it differently by adding your own touch and then let us know.
See you in the next pill and thank you for reading.