Author: S Vasudev

CHOW #57– Help Shweta improve team collaboration

Shweta has taken up the role of the Scrum Master with the Wise-Eagles team. The team has one BA, three developers and two QA. The BA and developers are based in Bangalore and so is the SM, QA is based out of Hyderabad. The PO is in Ireland. The team had been practicing Agile for about six months with two week sprints, when Shweta took over as SM to fill in for the SM who had moved on. Shweta finds that the team is pretty mature and have internalized many of the principles of Agile. Her fourth sprint as a SM is coming to a close and she can for-see the repeat of the challenges that surfaced in the last sprint. In last sprint there has been a challenge on completing few of the stories, they are not able to meet the “Done” criteria as few tests fail and either the code has to be updated or the test case changed. In the last retrospective it was identified that the team members interaction with the PO had increased and so had different interpretations by different team members. The Dev and QA being in different locations added to this. The team members did try to keep all involved members in the loop, but few things were missed out. Another reason was that the nature of the work had changed and the current mix of stories were...

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Fungible Scrum Team Members

I have often come across this question, especially from folks in organizations that have started adopting agile and have made some progress. Should each Scrum team member develop/possess all the skills required for the project? When hiring new team members should we focus on getting people who possess such skills? Scrum team members are a mix of Business Analyst, Developers and Testers, often with specialization within. The Developers in this context are the people who write code and unit test it, in Scrum parlance all the team members are referred to as Developers, so calling it out. Fungible My...

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CHOW #45- Challenge in doing Agile maturity assessment for a third time around

You are an Agile coach for a few teams and have done the initial Agile Maturity Assessments in the month of August 2016. It was well received, the energy levels of the team at the end of the meeting, was high and there was a buzz to focus on areas that they felt that they can do better. The second assessment was done in the month of November 2016. The team participated enthusiastically, they were eager to look at their progress, happy to see where they were and worked out the actions needed to continue their progress. Some of...

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CHOW #33- Backlog refinement in distributed teams

You are Sangeetha, the delivery manager for a product. There are three scrum teams working for the product located in Bangalore, Dublin (Ireland) and Salt Lake City (US), with the PO located in Salt Lake City. The recent retrospective has surfaced this issue, which has come to you for resolution: The initial backlog refinement is done between the PO, Scrum Masters and few senior members of the team. So the team input is “As per Agile practice all of the team should participate in the backlog refinement. Due to lack of this we are unable to give an accurate forecast for the iteration.” Given the time difference between locations getting a large enough common/overlapping time slot is difficult. The total number of people involved, which is close to 25, will make it difficult to manage the backlog refinement session. You approach your Agile coach, Guru, for a solution. Guru responds “I will give you a solution, but would like you to work on it, as I think you can resolve this on your own. Just dwell on the purpose of the ceremony and its desired outcome.” Can you solve this one?   Suggested solution: Sangeetha was able to resolve this by arranging for an additional meeting wherein the each team would be briefed on the discussions that took place in the initial refinement session. She also invited one team...

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CHOW #8– Updating the burn down

You could be a Scrum Master or a Team Member in a Scrum team. Everything is going well, except that the work remaining is not getting updated in the tool you are using. The team members forget to update, delay the updates. As a result though you learn a lot on what progress was made the previous day towards accomplishing sprint goals, you are unable to figure how the team is doing overall. What could be done to improve this situation?   Suggested solution: Solutions tried out in different situations: Bring up the burn down chart at the start of the daily scrum, it works like a charm. The team members who have not updated their progress and work remaining will add “missed updating, will do right after the daily scrum”. The moment this data is made use of by the team, the need to keep it updated automatically syncs in. One team arrived at a unique mechanism, added a fourth question “Whether I have updated my progress and remaining hours?” This was suggested by a team member fresh out of college, I was skeptical, but thought why not give it a shot. This too works, tried in many teams. The beauty is that the fourth question is a transient one, in the sense that it gets dropped after a while, as it becomes redundant. This is done by...

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