Vijay is the Scrum Master of an operations team providing 24-hr support for various software products. They had few retrospectives but somehow the improvements were not well translated into action items and some of them were not even acted upon. But no one would question the team on why they were not completing the action items on identified improvements. Of late, retrospectives are becoming kind of boring and hardly any improvement surfaces during those sessions. The product owner and even managers are not really concerned and are just happy conducting the ceremony every two weeks. But as a serious Scrum Master, Vijay is really concerned and trying hard to find out ways by which he can help the team focus on continuous improvement. As a coach, how can you help Vijay in his task?
Vijay has to spend time with Product Owner (and managers) to understand whether they have any goals set for the team. Any organization would have goals and Vijay needs to understand the goals and help Product Owner to define those goals in terms of Epics or stories for the team.
Many operations teams think that they need not do any ‘planning’ as Kanban does not mandate planning like Scrum does. While it is true for day-today work as the team would not even know what work would come the next day and how many issues and so on, they would need planning with respect to long term improvement. Every operations team would have goals to reduce defects by a certain percentage, automate certain activities and so on. So such teams would need to plan how they would achieve those set targets and what would they do to achieve them. Since they are long term targets, say quarterly or yearly and so on, they need to do something every iteration in order to progress towards achieving the goals at the end of the set period.
Let us say a team has a goal to reduce high-severity defects by 20% in the current quarter. They would need act on it right from the first iteration. Kanban teams many times lose sight on their long term goals as they would be very much involved in day-to-day work. It is there that Vijay needs to help the team and Product Owner (and managers) to make the goals visible so as to plan every iteration.