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Standups for agile teams

Communication is the key for any team working closely to deliver a solution. The foundation of Agile is based on frequent interactions that provide multiple opportunities for the team to come closer, daily standup being one of them. There may be varied names for daily standup like daily scrum, daily huddle, quick catchups, daily sync-ups, etc. but the purpose remains unchanged. Going back to the non-agile days or to the teams which are not working in an agile fashion, they too, choose a time to interact, to update, or to check on any new advancements, but, the frequency differs. So, what makes daily scrum different from others? What is a Daily standup scrum ceremony? The daily standup is one of the scrum ceremonies prescribed by Scrum, where the team meets daily; same time, same place, to talk about Sprint goals and also check if they're on track or if there's a need to change the course. Daily Scrum helps the team to track the progress, for which they use the Sprint board. The Sprint board is essentially used to talk about the deliverables, the associated timelines and if there's any impediment that is stopping them from moving forward. The daily standup meeting is not a status update meeting; it is a time when the scrum team collectively discusses and takes ownership for a Sprint goal.  The term ‘standup’ is used because it is meant to be short and precise. It is usually done with team members standing up to discuss the work items, though this is not compulsory. The purpose of standing up is to keep the meeting short and to the point. Daily standup, in a way, provides daily planning for the scrum teams to stay focused on the sprint goal. How to conduct a Daily standup To conduct a good daily standup, everyone in the team should be aware of the agenda and come prepared for the discussion. The scrum master initiates the meeting with a quick warm-up topic (hardly lasts for a minute) that sets the tone for the meeting and serves as the ice breaker. It can be anything general; from the weather to appreciation, or any topic that makes the team comfortable.  For the entire meeting, the team remains focused and involved. They can stand near the Sprint board or any visual board where they're tracking the progress. In case of a distributed environment, the team should be using the screen share with the details of the sprint board/taskboard. 'Three questions' - the core of Daily Standup: What I did yesterday? What is my plan for today? Or before we meet again. Are there any impediments? Time-boxing the daily scrum meeting is vital; it should not go beyond 15 minutes. If there's anything the team wants to talk about apart from 'three' questions, it should be done once the daily scrum is over. Any discussion on the impediment that doesn't require the complete team should be taken as a sidebar.  Everyone in the team gets a chance to talk about the task/work in hand. As a rule, when a team member is providing the inputs, the other members will listen and stay quiet. This ensures that only one person is talking at a time. The scrum master can introduce creative ways of conducting a daily scrum that helps team participation and induces respect for others.  Here’s an example of how team members can respond to the three questions: “Yesterday, I completed writing the test cases for the login screen.” “Today, I will work with John to get it peer-reviewed and will also start testing the authentication part” “No blockers” Swift and short. Sticking to three questions helps in completing the daily scrum on time. Staying with the rules promotes discipline and better work culture.Why is the daily standup important? Transparency and planning are vital for effective delivery. Getting teams on the same platform requires collaboration, communication, and teamwork. Daily scrum provides the team with the opportunity to talk about the daily task, communicate any blockers, and discuss if there's any change in the plan. A short 15-minute sync up helps the team stay focused on the goal. The team members can call out if they need any help with the work items, which is another opportunity to take ownership as a team.  Some of the benefits of a daily standup include: Improves communication Helps to identify blockages or impediments An opportunity to inspect and adapt Improves team accord Helps to keep the team focused Increases the level of accountability  Creates a sense of accomplishment while talking about the done tasks Though it has many benefits, it can only be reaped if the daily scrum is done in a way prescribed in the Scrum Guide. Daily scrum is one among the five key events to be conducted in a sprint and serves a tactful purpose. For most of the teams, daily scrum is one of the first things that happens at the start of the day. It sets the tone and the expectation for the entire day, similar to creating a to-do list before the start of any work.  Who Attends a Stand-up? The daily scrum is one of the scrum ceremonies that is attended by the development team, the scrum master, and the product owner. Anyone else apart from these three roles can join but they'll have to be quiet and stay as an observer till the time meeting gets over. At times people from different areas who are directly/indirectly involved in the delivery may want to check on the progress. They can be a part of the daily scrum, but the rule applies to them as well, which is, only the scrum team will talk. They can ask questions only when the daily scrum is over. What do we talk about? The format of the daily scrum sticks to the three questions: What I accomplished yesterday? What is the plan for today? Are there any impediments in the path of my work? These three questions help the team to stay focused and timeboxed.  With the first question, the team member will talk about what they have completed before the start of the daily scrum. It consists of the task that they had planned and called out in the last daily scrum. Sometimes there might be a certain deviation from what they had mentioned and what exactly they worked on. This should be called out specifically as part of the daily scrum. Talking about the ‘done’ work creates a sense of accomplishment and sets the right tone for starting up with another task. The second question is more about the plan for today or the plan once the daily scrum is over. Here the team member talks about the work items they plan to finish before the next meeting. It is advised to pull only as per the capacity. While answering this question, there might be a need to change the course of action in case there's a dependency or if there's any impediment that blocks the way forward for that task. When the team member is calling out the items they have planned to work on, it creates a sense of ownership as they announce the strategy. The third question focuses on clearing the path and removing any impediments that might come in the way of delivery. The team member raises any impediment or blockages they foresee, or they talk about the blockers that can impact sprint goal. Talking about the impediments helps the team to readjust the course and look for ways to resolve the blocker as early as possible. Identifying blockers early helps to reduce the risk.  Where and when? The daily standup should happen at the same time and same place. Finding a new place every day creates an overhead and it is time-consuming, hence the reason for ‘same place’. The scrum team should use the sprint board to call out the task and the subsequent progress. Ideally, the daily scrum should happen near the Sprint board. This helps in visualizing the flow and to realize where the team stands in terms of the Sprint goal. Setting up the sprint meeting at the same place daily helps in wiring the minds of the team member to follow the same discipline. If the team is sitting alongside several other teams, it might create a noisy environment to run the daily scrum. In such instances, the scrum master or any of the team members can book a meeting room on a recurring basis.  To address the ‘when’ part, the meeting should ideally be the first thing to be done when work starts. Being the first team activity, it helps in planning the entire day which further creates momentum amongst the team members. The start time must remain consistent and one should avoid rescheduling the daily scrum. With flexible work environments, it might not be possible that everyone is present at the same time during the start of the day. In such cases the team should opt for a slot where they can have maximum participation. Working across time zones requires a slot that works for all. The daily standup should not be treated as a kickoff for the day, but as a time to talk about the advancement towards the goal and the issues and any help required with them. Keeping the meetings timeboxed and on time helps the team to create a disciplined work environment. Daily scrum gives an opportunity to self-organize and work as a team towards a single goal. Stand-ups for distributed teamsWith the worldwide pandemic situation and the teams working from home, we are living in a world with an extremely distributed environment. Agile helps here too. In such cases, the teams should be leveraging the online tools available, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. for video conferencing. The calendars should be updated with the recurring meeting invites that consist of a link to join the video.  Why focus on video? Because humans feel more connected through video calls rather than just audio. Also, video conferencing promotes collaboration and creates a sense of a safe environment. Common Downsides to look for: Impediments are not getting raised – There can be multiple reasons for blockers not being shared across the team. Trust issues can be one of them. The Scrum Master/facilitator should help the team feel safe and provide the team with a platform to voice out the issues. Team Members reluctant to join – In some cases, the team members might feel the daily scrum to be a useless activity or it's just another meeting. In such cases, the facilitator should try to understand the reason behind such behavior and coach the individuals on the benefits. Daily Scrum gets converted to the status meeting – There are subtle signals to watch out for. Timebox not being followed. ConclusionIf you want the Scrum implementation to work for your team, following the prescribed practices and ceremonies helps a great deal. Even more than the process or ceremony, it is important to understand the team and how to make them energized to start the day, you should also learn how to best leverage the scrum ceremonies to get the best benefits and improve the overall productivity and teamwork. Daily standups help to focus on the common goal and raise the overall morale of the team and project.  

Standups for agile teams

9K
  • by Deepti Sinha
  • 18th Jan, 2021
  • Last updated on 17th Mar, 2021
  • 9 mins read
Standups for agile teams

Communication is the key for any team working closely to deliver a solution. The foundation of Agile is based on frequent interactions that provide multiple opportunities for the team to come closer, daily standup being one of them. There may be varied names for daily standup like daily scrum, daily huddle, quick catchups, daily sync-ups, etc. but the purpose remains unchanged. Going back to the non-agile days or to the teams which are not working in an agile fashion, they too, choose a time to interact, to update, or to check on any new advancements, but, the frequency differs. So, what makes daily scrum different from others? 

What is a Daily standup scrum ceremony? 

The daily standup is one of the scrum ceremonies prescribed by Scrum, where the team meets daily; same timesame place, to talk about Sprint goals and also check if they're on track or if there's a need to change the course. Daily Scrum helps the team to track the progress, for which they use the Sprint board. The Sprint board is essentially used to talk about the deliverablesthe associated timelines and if there's any impediment that is stopping them from moving forward. The daily standup meeting is not a status update meeting; it is a time when the scrum team collectively discusses and takes ownership for a Sprint goal.  

The term ‘standup’ is used because it is meant to be short and precise. It is usually done with team members standing up to discuss the work items, though this is not compulsory. The purpose of standing up is to keep the meeting short and to the point. Daily standup, in a way, provides daily planning for the scrum teams to stay focused on the sprint goal. 

How to conduct a Daily standup 

To conduct a good daily standup, everyone in the team should be aware of the agenda and come prepared for the discussion. The scrum master initiates the meeting with a quick warm-up topic (hardly lasts for a minute) that sets the tone for the meeting and serves as the ice breaker. It can be anything general; from the weather to appreciation, or any topic that makes the team comfortable.  

How to conduct a Daily standupFor the entire meeting, the team remains focused and involved. They can stand near the Sprint board or any visual board where they're tracking the progress. In case of a distributed environment, the team should be using the screen share with the details of the sprint board/taskboard. 

'Three questions' - the core of Daily Standup: 

'Three questions' - the core of Daily Standup

  1. What I did yesterday? 
  2. What is my plan for today? Or before we meet again. 
  3. Are there any impediments? 

Time-boxing the daily scrum meeting is vital; it should not go beyond 15 minutes. If there's anything the team wants to talk about apart from 'three' questions, it should be done once the daily scrum is over. Any discussion on the impediment that doesn't require the complete team should be taken as a sidebar.  

Everyone in the team gets a chance to talk about the task/work in hand. As a rule, when a team member is providing the inputs, the other members will listen and stay quiet. This ensures that only one person is talking at a time. The scrum master can introduce creative ways of conducting a daily scrum that helps team participation and induces respect for others.  

Here’s an example of how team members can respond to the three questions: 

  • “Yesterday, I completed writing the test cases for the login screen.” 
  • “Today, I will work with John to get it peer-reviewed and will also start testing the authentication part” 
  • “No blockers” 

Swift and short. Sticking to three questions helps in completing the daily scrum on time. Staying with the rules promotes discipline and better work culture.

Why is the daily standup important? 

Transparency and planning are vital for effective delivery. Getting teams on the same platform requires collaboration, communication, and teamwork. Daily scrum provides the team with the opportunity to talk about the daily task, communicate any blockers, and discuss if there's any change in the plan. A short 15-minute sync up helps the team stay focused on the goal. The team members can call out if they need any help with the work items, which is another opportunity to take ownership as a team.  

Some of the benefits of daily standup include: 

  1. Improves communication 
  2. Helps to identify blockages or impediments 
  3. An opportunity to inspect and adapt 
  4. Improves team accord 
  5. Helps to keep the team focused 
  6. Increases the level of accountability  
  7. Creates a sense of accomplishment while talking about the done tasks 

Though it has many benefits, it can only be reaped if the daily scrum is done in a way prescribed in the Scrum Guide. Daily scrum is one among the five key events to be conducted in a sprint and serves a tactful purpose. For most of the teams, daily scrum is one of the first things that happens at the start of the day. It sets the tone and the expectation for the entire day, similar to creating a to-do list before the start of any work.  

Who Attends a Stand-up? 

The daily scrum is one of the scrum ceremonies that is attended by the development team, the scrum master, and the product owner. Anyone else apart from these three roles can join but they'll have to be quiet and stay as an observer till the time meeting gets over. At times people from different areas who are directly/indirectly involved in the delivery may want to check on the progress. They can be a part of the daily scrum, but the rule applies to them as well, which is, only the scrum team will talk. They can ask questions only when the daily scrum is over. Who Attends a Stand-up?

What do we talk about? 

The format of the daily scrum sticks to the three questions: 

  1. What I accomplished yesterday? 
  2. What is the plan for today? 
  3. Are there any impediments in the path of my work? 

These three questions help the team to stay focused and timeboxed.  

With the first question, the team member will talk about what they have completed before the start of the daily scrum. It consists of the task that they had planned and called out in the last daily scrum. Sometimes there might be a certain deviation from what they had mentioned and what exactly they worked on. This should be called out specifically as part of the daily scrum. Talking about the ‘done’ work creates a sense of accomplishment and sets the right tone for starting up with another task. 

The second question is more about the plan for today or the plan once the daily scrum is over. Here the team member talks about the work items they plan to finish before the next meeting. It is advised to pull only as per the capacity. While answering this question, there might be a need to change the course of action in case there's a dependency or if there's any impediment that blocks the way forward for that task. When the team member is calling out the items they have planned to work on, it creates a sense of ownership as they announce the strategy. 

The third question focuses on clearing the path and removing any impediments that might come in the way of delivery. The team member raises any impediment or blockages they foresee, or they talk about the blockers that can impact sprint goal. Talking about the impediments helps the team to readjust the course and look for ways to resolve the blocker as early as possible. Identifying blockers early helps to reduce the risk.  

Where and when? 

The daily standup should happen at the same time and same place. Finding a new place every day creates an overhead and it is time-consuming, hence the reason for ‘same place’. The scrum team should use the sprint board to call out the task and the subsequent progress. Ideally, the daily scrum should happen near the Sprint board. This helps in visualizing the flow and to realize where the team stands in terms of the Sprint goal. Setting up the sprint meeting at the same place daily helps in wiring the minds of the team member to follow the same discipline. If the team is sitting alongside several other teams, it might create a noisy environment to run the daily scrum. In such instances, the scrum master or any of the team members can book a meeting room on a recurring basis.  

To address the ‘when’ part, the meeting should ideally be the first thing to be done when work starts. Being the first team activity, it helps in planning the entire day which further creates momentum amongst the team members. The start time must remain consistent and one should avoid rescheduling the daily scrum. With flexible work environments, it might not be possible that everyone is present at the same time during the start of the day. In such cases the team should opt for a slot where they can have maximum participation. Working across time zones requires a slot that works for all. The daily standup should not be treated as a kickoff for the day, but as a time to talk about the advancement towards the goal and the issues and any help required with them. 

Keeping the meetings timeboxed and on time helps the team to create a disciplined work environment. Daily scrum gives an opportunity to self-organize and work as a team towards a single goal. 

Stand-ups for distributed teams

Stand-ups for distributed teamsWith the worldwide pandemic situation and the teams working from home, we are living in a world with an extremely distributed environment. Agile helps here too. In such cases, the teams should be leveraging the online tools available, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. for video conferencing. The calendars should be updated with the recurring meeting invites that consist of a link to join the video.  

Why focus on video? Because humans feel more connected through video calls rather than just audio. Alsovideo conferencing promotes collaboration and creates a sense of a safe environment. 

Common Downsides to look for: 

  1. Impediments are not getting raised – There can be multiple reasons for blockers not being shared across the team. Trust issues can be one of them. The Scrum Master/facilitator should help the team feel safe and provide the team with a platform to voice out the issues. 
  2. Team Members reluctant to join – In some cases, the team members might feel the daily scrum to be a useless activity or it's just another meeting. In such cases, the facilitator should try to understand the reason behind such behavior and coach the individuals on the benefits. 
  3. Daily Scrum gets converted to the status meeting – There are subtle signals to watch out for. 
  4. Timebox not being followed. 

Conclusion

If you want the Scrum implementation to work for your team, following the prescribed practices and ceremonies helps a great deal. Even more than the process or ceremony, it is important to understand the team and how to make them energized to start the day, you should also learn how to best leverage the scrum ceremonies to get the best benefits and improve the overall productivity and teamwork. Daily standups help to focus on the common goal and raise the overall morale of the team and project.  

Deepti

Deepti Sinha

Blog Author

Deepti is an Agile Coach by profession and Freelance Trainer with over 11 years of industry experience working primarily with healthcare & finance clients in delivering business. She has played a wide variety of roles in the graph of her career, whether it be, management, operations or quality. She likes reading fiction, management and loves to write her experiences. Her colleagues mostly describe her as very detail oriented person with a knack of creativity and imagination. And yes, she loves feedback more than her coffee!!

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The term servant leader is synonymous with a Scrum Master. But what does it mean? The Scrum Master is a servant leader in Agile projects, but servant leadership goes far beyond Agile, and Scrum Masters serve more than just the team.In this blog we attempt to look at the Scrum Master’s role as a servant leader, what the role entails and the responsibilities of the Scrum Master beyond the team, in context to the organization. What is servant-leadership?The term servant leadership was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in his article “The Servant as Leader”, in which he defined a servant leader as: The Servant-Leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That leader significantly differs from one who is leader first, may be due to the need to acquire power, material belonging, control and authority within the organization. Servant leadership is something very different from traditional leadership, which places the leader at the top of the hierarchy and the employees in the lower rung. Servant leadership, in a sense, is the opposite of traditional leadership, as it places the leader at the bottom of the hierarchy while employees are on the higher rungs. The leaders, in this case, are serving the people above them. Servant leadership refers to leaders who believe in serving people and the community that they are a part of, rather than accumulating power for themselves. This style of leadership emphasizes on helping subordinates better themselves, empowering employees and helping others perform to the best of their abilities.Servant leadership does not prescribe telling employees what to do, instead it helps the workforce find their sense of ownership and unlock their potential to reach their goals. Servant leadership is all about empowering others, which when consistently done can raise morale, enhance productivity and reduce employee attrition.Servant Leadership and ScrumScrum, in a way, is the very essence of servant leadership. Unlike traditional project management methodologies, it does not follow a top-down, hierarchical approach. Instead, decisions are lateral and happen with the involvement of the whole team. Scrum is the perfect approach in which to practice the concept of servant leadership. The 5 Scrum values of Openness, Respect, Commitment, Courage, and Focus, adhere to the philosophy of Servant Leadership. The Scrum Master plays a key role in the development of the product, the team and the organization. The Scrum Guide defines the servant leadership a Scrum Master’s role has to perform in context to the roles mentioned above. The Scrum Values that a Scrum Master practices have a ripple effect throughout the organization. The Scrum Master is seen as an evangelist for practicing and promoting Scrum in the enterprise.The Agile Manifesto and servant-leadershipThe Agile Manifesto states that one must value: Individuals and interactions over Process and tools Working software over Comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation Responding to change over Following a plan These again align with the values of servant leadership, which is all about putting people or employees first. The Agile Manifesto describes focusing on building projects around motivated individuals and giving them an environment of support, trust and collaboration—all characteristics of servant leadership.Who Are These Servant Leaders?The Scrum Guide defines the service provided by the Scrum Master as servant leadership. The Scrum Master selflessly provides servant leadership to the development team, product owner and the whole organization. By serving these entities, the Scrum Master can create a high performing team, a valuable product and an efficient organization that is able to meet business objectives and keep customers happy.  Though the term Scrum Master may be deceptive, the Scrum Master is not a master of the team but in fact serves the team in order to ensure smooth functioning and productivity.Servant Leadership and Scrum Master Roles of Servant LeadershipServant leadership:The day-to-day activity of a Scrum Master involves servant leadership. Servant leadership in a scrum team involves performance planning, coaching, helping the team self- organize, resolving conflicts through conflict management, removing obstacles that hinder progress and serving the team. The Scrum Master, while practicing servant leadership, helps the team grow and mature and become independent enough to make their own decisions. Servant leadership in Scrum is all about making the team self-reliant, so they can cope with the pressures of the role. As a servant leader the Scrum Master creates a high performing team, helps them become collaborative and high performing in order to achieve goals and meet the requirements of the customer.  Service to the Scrum Team: As a servant leader, the primary responsibility of the Scrum Master is to help the development team perform. They help the team perform to the best of their abilities by giving them an environment that is conducive to work in, encouraging them, guiding them and removing obstacles that may hinder progress. As a coach, the Scrum Master will guide the team on scrum processes and help them adhere to Agile values during the development of the product. The Scrum Master is responsible for the scrum team’s effectiveness, and they work tirelessly to ensure that the team is motivated, encouraged, creative and innovative. The Scrum Master through servant leadership helps the team improve Scrum practices which helps them become more productive and generate value. The Scrum Team’s role in motivating and helping the team comes through in the daily stand-up meetings that are arranged as part of the sprint. The Scrum Master encourages team members to share their grievances and progress made through the sprint. Team members can talk about obstacles that may be hindering their work and due cognizance will be taken up by the Scrum master to ensure that these obstacles are removed.  According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Development Team by: Coaching the team in becoming self-organized and cross-functional Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value increments by removing impediments Helping the team deliver within the timeframe of the sprint Service to the Product Owner: The Scrum Master is a servant leader not just for the development team but also the Product Owner. While the Product Owner is primarily responsible for the product backlog, they cannot do this alone. The Scrum Master aids the development team and the Product Owner with effective product backlog management.The Scrum Master is involved at every stage of the product backlog grooming, helping the product owner with Scrum events, product planning and to identify backlog items along with the development team. The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner define the product vision to the team.   According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Product Owner by: Helping in Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management Helping the Scrum Team understand manage the Product Backlog items Setting up empirical product planning in complex environments and, Managing and facilitating stakeholder collaboration.Service to the Organization: The Scrum Master is a coach and motivator not just for the development team but goes beyond the team to spread the awareness of Scrum in the entire organization. Scrum Masters coach and help teams and departments understand Scrum and develop an Agile mind-set. Besides servant leadership to the team a Scrum Master is also involved in promoting the ideas and values of Scrum. An organization can get an agile mind-set only if the entire organization adopts Scrum and not just a few teams. This is where the Scrum Master comes in, helping other teams not involved with Scum to gain the Agile mind-set, through training and coaching. The Scrum Master is an Agile evangelist and promotes Scrum enterprise-wide.According to Scrum.org the Scrum Master serves the organization by: Leading, training, and coaching the organization in adopting Scrum Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization Coaching employees and stakeholders in the way Scrum works Helping stakeholders work with Scrum TeamsSome Servant-Leader Behaviours for every Scrum MasterBeing empathetic: This is the foremost personality trait required for anyone wanting to become a Scrum Master. Your empathy will shine through in your interactions with the team members and your dealings with the stakeholders. You should be able to see problems from the point of view of each party and work towards solving these problems. Caring: As a caring and empathetic Scrum Master, your team will feel free to approach you and share their concerns. Providing a listening ear will make you more approachable. You will be able to more clearly understand the impediments that are stopping project progress and work towards providing a solution.  Managing Conflicts: Not all team members will get along with each other and this can cause disruptions and problems within the team, lowering their productivity. As a Scrum Master you need to be great at conflict management, help others solve their problems, work with each other and create a high performing and harmonious team. Building relationships: You need to build a rapport with your team, the product owner and the stakeholders. This will help you communicate freely and help others approach you with their problems and issues. You need to build that relationship of trust and take everyone along on the journey of success.  Being ethical: Ethics play an important role in software development, especially since software now controls every aspect of our lives. The product created should be free of malice and fraud. The Scrum Master should guide the team in delivering the product at a value and standard that is expected and agreed upon with the stakeholder. There should not be any shortcuts or concessions made on the quality of the product delivered as this will affect not just the Scrum Master and the team’s reputation but will cause a dent in the reputation of the organization.   Conclusion  Servant leadership and the Scrum Master’s role is the backbone of Scrum. The Scrum Master as a servant leader re-emphasizes the values of Scrum and helps to enhance teamwork, collaboration, motivation and value. Under the able servant leadership of the Scrum Master, individual members and the team will grow, become more confident and help in delivering value.  
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Scrum Master – The Scrum Team’s Servan...

The term servant leader is synonymous with a Scrum... Read More

A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small teams. But the true benefits of Agile can only be reaped if Agile and Scrum are scaled at the enterprise level. However, this is easier said than done. According to statistics, 47% of Agile transformations are not successful. While this is a worrying trend, there are still hundreds of organizations who have got it right and are able to survive the competition by innovating faster, delivering value and adapting to changing markets. How are they doing it? By using scaled Scrum.There are several tools and frameworks available for scaling Scrum at the enterprise level. In this blog, we attempt to look at a few of these.  Scaling Scrum with NexusNexus is among the most popular frameworks for scaling Scrum. According to the Nexus Guide, “Nexus is a framework for developing and sustaining scaled product delivery initiatives. It builds upon Scrum, extending it only where absolutely necessary to minimize and manage dependencies between multiple Scrum Teams while promoting empiricism and the Scrum Values.” How is Nexus different from Scrum? Scrum defines three primary roles: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the development team. These three roles work together in one team.The Nexus framework consists of several Scrum teams that work together toward a common product goal and defines the Nexus Integration Team as an additional accountability.  Nexus helps to build on the values of Scrum and also solves the collaboration and dependency challenges that tend to occur between teams in Scrum.Benefits of using Nexus Nexus extends Scrum in the following ways:  Accountabilities: Nexus introduces the Nexus Integration Team, which consists of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and members. This team is accountable for delivering a workable product at the end of each sprint.  Events: Nexus events aim to add to or supplement Scrum events and serve not just individual teams but also the Nexus Integration Team. The objective of a sprint is to achieve the Nexus sprint goal. Artifacts: Although the teams are different, within the Nexus framework they all work towards a single goal and follow a single product backlog. There’s a high amount of transparency and work is allocated to each team. The Nexus Integration TeamAccording to the Nexus Guide, “the Nexus Integration Team exists to coordinate, coach, and supervise the application of Nexus and the operation of Scrum so the best outcomes are derived.” The Nexus Integration Team or NIT comprises of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and Nexus integration team members. There are generally three to nine Scrum teams working together in Nexus. All of them follow a single product backlog and work towards delivering a single product. The Nexus Integration Team forms an essential role within Nexus and is tasked with providing transparent accountability among the teams in Nexus.Product OwnerThe Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the product value and the work carried out in Nexus. Their primary task is to order and refine the product backlog. Being a member of the Nexus Integration Team, the product owner will work with all the Scrum teams in the Nexus Integration team. The product owner and the teams work towards better defining and refining the product backlog.Scrum MasterJust like in regular Scrum, the Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is also responsible for ensuring that the Nexus framework is understood by everyone on the team as prescribed by the Nexus Guide.   MembersThe members of the Nexus Integration Team are the Scrum team members who aid the Scrum teams in adoption of tools and practices that will help the team and members deliver value at the end of each sprint that meets the definition of done. Nexus Integration Team membership should be considered more important than the individual Scrum Team membership and members should work towards first fulfilling their Nexus team responsibilities.What are the Events in Nexus?Nexus adds or augments the events as defined by Scrum. The Nexus event durations are like Scrum event durations and are guided by the Scrum Guide.  Nexus events consist of: Sprint- A Nexus sprint is the same as in Scrum, at the end of which a single increment is delivered.  Cross team refinement- The aim of Nexus is to enhance collaboration and reduce cross team dependencies. Cross team refinement helps to make dependencies and responsibilities more transparent. This makes it easier for Scrum teams within the Nexus to clearly identify and deliver their allocated tasks.  Nexus Sprint Planning- Nexus sprint planning will involve the participation of the Product Owner and concerned teams' members from each team. The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Planning is to assign and co-ordinate activities for a single sprint.  Nexus Daily Scrum- This is like the daily stand up in Scrum. Nexus daily scrum is used to identify any issues and track progress. Any issues are immediately prioritized and solved so that they do not hinder the work of the developers.  Nexus Sprint Review- This event is held at the end of sprints to provide feedback on the increment that has been built and on any future updates that have to be made. Nexus Sprint Retrospective- Like in Scrum, Nexus retrospectives are an important part of the project and are used to reflect on how quality and consistency can be improved.  Some Nexus ArtifactsNexus artifacts are the same as Scrum artifacts and when implemented correctly ensure transparency and value maximization. Every artifact is designed to give a commitment. For example, the product backlog is the artifact and its commitment is the product goal. Other artifacts and their commitments include: Nexus Sprint Backlog-Nexus Sprint Goal Integrated Increment-Definition of Done Along with Nexus, LeSS is another popular framework for scaling agile.  Scaling Scrum with LeSS The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework is an offering from Atlassian and is a framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams that are working on the same product. The idea behind LeSS is to start with a single Scrum team as defined in the Scrum Guide and then replicate it to multiple teams who are working on a single product. LeSS has earned the label of being “barely sufficient” as it is a simple framework to apply and uses the basic concepts of Scrum to scale.  How do Sprint Planning meetings in LeSS work?  LeSS generally carries out sprint planning in two stages. Sprint Planning One focuses on selecting items that are of topmost priority, solving unanswered issues and defining the sprint goal. The Sprint Planning Two is like the sprint plan of regular Scrum and focuses on creating a plan of action for getting things done.  Daily meeting  The daily Scrum meeting in LeSS is similar to how it is done in normal single Scrum teams and involves team members discussing the work accomplished and the work to be done during the day. It is a time-boxed meeting and helps teams address any issues that may be hindering work.   Sprint Delivery Meeting (Review) The sprint review meeting is an essential part of LeSS and helps teams and stakeholders review the product built during the sprint and suggest changes and new ideas.   Retrospective The retrospective for LeSS is similar to one team Scrum. These retrospectives held at the end of the sprint will help teams to reflect on the progress of tasks, and identify the obstacles that may hinder or impede the overall project.  Let’s take a look at some of the other frameworks that are used for scaling agile. Scaling Scrum with SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe in short, follows the principles of lean and agile and helps in scaling Scrum to the enterprise. It helps to manage alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to ensure enterprise success. It systematically focuses on applying Scrum at each level of the enterprise, to maximize value and ensure a successful agile transformation.A successful SAFe adoption ensures end-to-end business agility with significant improvements in strategy, delivery, execution and business competencies. It helps organizations overcome competition and ensure innovative business solutions to gain customer trust and partnership. The SAFe framework is continuously improvised in order to help organizations cope with the digital age and ensure that business outcomes are delivered.Scaling Scrum with the Scrum@Scale frameworkAnother framework that allows organizations to implement Scrum at scale is the Scrum@Scale framework. This framework expands on the core principles of Scrum and helps to scale Scrum over a wide range of industries and sectors, ensuring customer satisfaction and creation of successful products. It promotes communication across all teams and departments, and optimizes resources, removes roadblocks and ensures creation of innovative products.A Final Word By driving Agile at the organizational level, companies can gain all the benefits of team-level Scrum at scale. More often than not the principles of team level Scrum are not sustainable at the enterprise level and the transformation fails. Tested and proven Agile scaling frameworks are now able to turn this around, and help organizations scale up the principles and practices of Scrum to become more adaptable, flexible and responsive. Professionals can master these frameworks and help their organization adopt the culture, mind-set and principles of Scrum and agile.  
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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small tea... Read More