February 7th, 2014

5 Tips for Running Scrum Effectively

The Daily Scrum is one of the most important aspects of an Agile project, and how it is run can have a dramatic effect on project health and team morale. As we move into an age where teams become scattered and remote, daily touchbases grow more and more important.

 1.       Be Prepared

Obvious, perhaps, but worth mentioning! This applies to both you and your team. Everyone should come to Scrum prepared to answer the three key questions:

– What did you work on today?

– What are you working on next?

– Do you have any issues?

If members of the team cannot rattle these answers off immediately, make a point to follow up with them after the meeting to ensure they are prepared moving forward.

 2.       Be Efficient

An effective Scrum should last no longer than 15 minutes. One of your biggest roles as Scrum Master is to keep things moving efficiently. On a conference call, that means calling out who should speak next, and if necessary cutting off someone that’s gone on too long. Make sure the team is focusing on answering the three questions, and nothing else.

 3.       Keep it Consistent

Hold Scrum at the same time every day, wherever possible. It will become a habit for you and the team. This is especially important when meeting invites fall off or become corrupted, or when you need to coordinate meetings with stakeholders who don’t have visibility of your calendar. Keeping it consistent also means using the same conference bridge every day, and making sure someone else on the team has the moderator code.

 4.       Identify Problems, Don’t Solve Them

This is a component of both Being Prepared and Being Efficient, but deserves its own bullet all the same. A project team is a team of problem solvers, and when issues are presented to the team it will seem natural to try and solve that problem right away. Don’t do this. Solving problems during Scrum leads to bloated meetings, and less productivity for those members of the team who won’t have input in the discussion. Instead, schedule breakout sessions for each issue after Scrum has completed.

5.       Keep it Team Focused

Occasionally stakeholders will wish to attend Scrum. There’s nothing wrong with that intrinsically, but make it a point to ask that they hold any issues or concerns until the end of the meeting, and discuss them with you separately. It’s in their best interest!

Tags: agile checklist

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