Everyone understands that scrum ceremonies are a must. Those ceremonies I refer to are the sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review, sprint retrospective and backlog refinement discussion. Each ceremony plays a specific role in the overall project ongoing and team management.
For example, sprint planning allows us to set goals for the upcoming sprint, manage priorities and estimate the effort needed; while daily scrum lends to monitoring progress of work towards those goals, and identifying any potential issues in advance so they can be appropriately mitigated.
In addition to the ceremonies, I have compiled my list of four keys to aid you in achieving success with your scrum teams. Success need not be a moving target or elusive, and armed with these keys you will be able to confidently manage your scrum teams to high levels of success and performance.
Clearly Defined & Accountable Roles
To begin with, as with any team effort, it’s vital to have clearly defined roles that are accountable for specific responsibilities. Naturally, you as the Scrum Master will be there to hold the members accountable; accountability is nothing if one is not held to it. Every team member must understand clearly what their role is and what is expected of them.
Consider an example using football. The striker knows what they need to do and who they can rely on in order to succeed in their role; just as the midfielder knows they must support both the defenders and strikers. In order to win, all team members must deliver on their assigned role’s expectations and do so like a well-oiled in-sync machine. This wins championships and the same principle can be applied to your scrum team.
Well-Organized Product Backlog
Your development project is no joke, it’s a complicated beast that needs to be tamed. In steps your product backlog, a well-organized list of what is needed to build or otherwise improve the digital product in question for the project. This list is paramount and should be treated as such, like a guiding beacon leading the team forward in an orderly fashion. Additionally, this backlog of items are subject to your team’s Definition of Ready (DoR)
This being said, all projects shift, change scope and adapt during the build process as the business owner adjusts their targets in reaction to market forces, users and so on. Therefore, the need to be continually aware of how this impacts your backlog and therefore, regularly spend the needed time to review and adjust it as needed is crucial. The Product Owner can assist in selecting that which may be ideal to prioritize over other things. All-in-all, keep it neat, keep it tidy, and it will keep your team moving in the right direction.
Collaborative & Communicative Interactions
This one may seem a bit “amateur hour”, but I believe it cannot be stressed enough. There will always be varying dynamics within a team based on the personalities therein. This needs to be appropriately handled in order to produce the best collaborative efforts from all members involved while simultaneously fostering a strong communicative atmosphere and environment.
Let’s be frank, many software engineers lean towards being more shy than ultra-outgoing and communicative. I have had my fair share of engineers who would rather keep silent and try to solve their problem on their own rather than “trouble the team” for some assistance. Perhaps commendable, but not conducive for a team effort. Ensuring there is mutual respect for all team members will boost positive and constructive feedback and create an atmosphere where everyone feels confident to communicate openly and collaborate powerfully!
Delivery as Priority
Last to round out the four keys, we have delivery. Are we not here to deliver an awesome innovative digital product for the business owner? Delivery must forever and always be in the forefront of the team’s mindset. There are many things they need to focus on, all important, but delivery is the big picture that they should always hold on to. The Scrum Master can aid in maintaining the team’s focus on individual items, but should be sure to tactfully remind them of the big picture on the horizon.
It’s important to point out here, that in order to deliver that which the business owner seeks, your team must first define what it qualifies as done. Once a clear Definition of Done (DoD) has been decided by the team, the ultimate achievement of complete delivery can truly be attained.
A scrum team’s main priority is to deliver value to the business owner. Each day should be a strong, confident march towards delivering increased value; for this is why we are here, it’s what we’re being paid to do. Therefore, looking up at the items I’ve listed, you can begin to see their interconnection and direct relation to delivering value to the business owner for it is their digital product the team is working to build. A successful scrum team strategy delivers, period!
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