February 2010


Collaboration is maybe the most important quality to Scrum teams. The core of Scrum is to maximize the collaboration between the team members, but also between the team and the Product Owner  (and the customer). This is important both small single team projects and bigger multiple team projects.

In the retrospectives the previous sprint is evaluated and improvements identified.

Don’t forget  the collaboration aspect in the sprint retrospectives. It is way too important to neglect!

  • How can we improve our daily stand-ups?
  • How can we get the product owner more involved in our work? How can we help him to groom the product backlog?
  • How can we improve the collaboration with other teams in our project?

So, in the next retrospective, try to focus on the collaboration side.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fncll/ / CC BY 2.0

Mike Cohn has a good introduction to daily stand-up meetings.

By focusing on what each person accomplished yesterday and will accomplish today the team gains an excellent understanding of what work has been done and what work remains. The daily scrum is not a status update meeting in which a boss is collecting information about who is behind schedule. Rather, it is a meeting in which team members make commitments to each other.

via The Daily Scrum Meeting.

Video about Interpersonal Team Dynamics at bnet.com:

more about “Collaboration: Interpersonal Team Dyn…“, posted with vodpod

The Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing is a model of group development, first proposed by Bruce Tuckman in 1965, who maintained that these phases are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results. This model has become the basis for subsequent models.

Each team is unique and has its own strengths and weaknesses. To really work together as a team the people need to get to know each other. Tuckman’s teamwork theory is working pretty well to show what phases a team should pass to be productive. It’s important the team moves on to reach the Performing phase. Some teams may need help to reach this phase as the get stuck in storming or norming phases.

For more details read Bruce Tuckman’s Teamwork Theory: Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maxshirley/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The team is not working effectively without any effort from the individuals in the team. The people need to have certain skills to enable real teamwork. Some people have easier than others. If you got a team of experts that cannot cooperate, then you will never benefit of the of power of teamwork.

Jason Little has created a list of skills needed for teamwork:

  • Active Listening
  • Questioning
  • Logical Argument
  • Respecting
  • Helping
  • Sharing
  • Participating

Please check out Agile Mashup » Seven Essential Teamwork Skills for descriptions of these skills.

Scrum is about achieving customer value. Each day must bring the team one step closer to their goal. They must achieve things. Stories and tasks must be completed. To get more focus on this matter the questions in Daily Scrum meetings can be adapted a little bit.

Observing this team’s daily Scrums, I noticed that they talked a lot about what they did in the past 24 hours and what they would do in the next 24. Everyone seemed busy and could account for their time. But I had a hard time connecting their busyness to the work they’d committed to do in the Sprint.

So, I suggested a slight change to the three questions that I learned from Mishkin Berteig. Instead of answering the questions, “What did you do in the last 24 hours?” and “What will you do in the next 24?,” I had the team answer the questions, “What did you complete in the last 24 hours?” and “What will you complete in the next 24?” I recommended that they point at tasks and stories on the task board while answering the questions to keep them focused on the work for the Sprint.

via One Word Can Change Your Daily Scrum | Richard Lawrence.

Sometimes a Scrum meeting will take on issues that are part of the normal working process of the project, or even sit outside of the project entirely. Examples of these potential productivity wasters are:

  • A few individuals drill down into the problem details and begin to resolve the issue during the meeting
  • During the scrum meeting two participants discuss yesterday’s football match
  • Everybody asks the project manager “What is new?”
  • The scrum turns into a meeting where everyone is reporting results to the project manager
  • And, yes at times participants are late for the meeting.

Andrew Mospan have written a post with tips how the  Daily Scrum Meeting can be effective.

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