Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
- Diagnosing problems within an agile team
- Solving issues with agile meetings
- Creating cross-functional teams
- Helping distributed teams function well
- Managing up within your organization
Skill Level Appropriate for all
- While the daily scrum or standup is the shortest event in scrum, it often holds the most dysfunctions or anti-patterns you and your team will face. By watching for these anti-patterns, you can help your team overcome them. Let's talk about the most common anti-patterns and how you can take corrective action. First and most common is that team members come to standup to report progress to the scrum master or product owner. In reality, the scrum is for the team members to report out to each other on their progress toward the sprint goal.
This one is easy to solve. When someone reports their status to you, the scrum master, you simply say something like, well that's great, but remember, you're sharing your progress with the team. Another anti-pattern is that updates are too generic and don't add transparency. For example, an update where someone says yesterday, I worked on story ABC and today, I'm working on DEF. The team has learned nothing from this update. This will require one on one guidance from you, the scrum master.
Just share with the team member what level of detail the team needs to have transparency. Next, you'll often see that someone's update has triggered a solutioning discussion within the scrum. In this case, the scrum master needs to step in politely with something like, this is a great discussion. Let's continue after scrum. In this way, you'll ensure the discussion continues at the right time. Also, sometimes you'll see that side conversations are happening during updates.
You'll need to interject right away. Something like, hey team, Carla is giving her update, can you please hold that conversation until after scrum? Thanks. Simple, polite, and direct will get the team focused again. Next, at times, a team member gives the same updates several days in a row. There are a couple of problems with this. One is they're stuck and that needs attention, and second, the individual isn't raising their impediment. You'll need to solve for both.
First, after this team member finishes their update, ask the team to stay after scrum so they can rally to help resolve the issue. Second, have a one on one conversation with the individual to help them understand what an impediment is and to assure them that it's okay both to get stuck and to ask for help. Another anti-pattern is sharing too much information. For example, the team doesn't need to know exactly how a developer coded something in deep detail.
It should only take a minute or so for each update. As scrum master, it's okay for you to enforce a reasonable per-person timebox. You could simply say, wow, you put a lot of effort into that. Let's share the details after scrum with the team members that need those. There are many anti-patterns that could appear in your scrum. With these tips, you'll be ready for them and help your team focus on the sprint goal.