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Agilators is a team using Scrum for about six months now and Alan is the Scrum Master of the team. Alan has some experience as an SM for a little over a year. He has been able to coach the team to adopt the ceremonies quite well but few challenges which he finds difficult to handle. First of all the team is not able to complete stories for a large part of the Sprint and they keep adding tasks to stories during the Sprint which is affecting their estimation. Many stories are being picked at a time and wait time for a story is also getting a bit longer. He is trying several things every Sprint but has not found much improvement in the last quarter and is looking for some expert help. Can you help Alan?

Suggested Solution:

Obviously Alan is picking too many areas to work on at a time. Based on the challenges it looks like team is struggling in some of the following areas:

1. Stories are not small and unknown component seems to be more in stories

2. Planning may not be efficient and team may be picking too many big items and estimating. Hence their understanding of the stories and estimations might need improvement.

3. Product Owner not focusing on writing stories as per INVEST guidelines.

4. Collaboration within team while planning and developing stories might need to improve as wait time seems to be longer across tasks of a story.

So Alan is keen on working on several of these aspects at the same time and not able to make the team focus on improvements in any area. It would be good if Alan can use the simplicity Principle and pick few priority items of work and further try to implement them in phases over few Sprints. For eg. INVEST of stories – focus on just writing the story well with good clarity and acceptance criteria etc and making them smaller. Pick few big stories and try these to start with and then focus on other aspects of INVEST, maybe one by one. Use the same principle in other areas as well. This is just a tip and Alan needs to spend time and plan carefully to approach improvements in small steps.