Mindful Masters went through an Agile Assessment recently and most team members were kind of disinterested in the assessment. Probably they knew that the outcome is not going to be so good and is going to be published as usual. Anil, the Scrum Master of the team knew that the team had great potential. They had some really experienced developers and even some good engineering practices. But somehow every Sprint they failed to deliver more than 50% of their commitment. Stories brought into work would never progress for several days and some would not know when to complete. Anil is seeking help to bring in some improvements which can drastically change the way this team is performing. The recent assessment has also brought in some negativity in the team. Some members told Anil that in spite of their best efforts they are not able to complete and do not know what to do. Can you help Anil?
It is good that team has good experienced members and also some good engineering practices. The fact that stories are never started for few days indicates that they may not have a definition of ready (DoR) documented and implemented. Also a definition of done (DoD) as stories remain incomplete. This could be due to various reasons:
- Product Owner not knowledgeable about the product and is bringing in stories need lot more analysis before working on them. Team may be spending a lot of time trying to understand and analyse the story. Team discussing with Product owner and arriving at a DoR could help in bringing in stories which are ready to be worked on.
- A DoD would help the team to plan their work as well as know when a story is complete.
- Stories may not have proper acceptance criteria listed.
- Team may not be proactively involving in discussing the unknowns during planning or backlog refinement meetings.
Anil could get these things done (just a few to start with):
- Document DoR, DoD and put them into practice.
- Focus on backlog refinement meeting to make stories ready for the coming sprint.
- Bring in certain practices in the team to involve members in active discussions. Collaboration sessions and team activities would help a lot in this area.