Increasing Team Engagement in Retrospectives

Team having a fun retrospective

I love retrospectives. They’re one of the easiest and most effective ways of directly implementing an agile principle. (At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly.) Retrospectives should be something that the team looks forward to because they know that it means that during the next iteration they’re going to improve. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case for all the teams I meet. In this post I’ll talk about how you can improve your team’s retrospectives so that they can be excited about them and improve their ways of working. Continue reading “Increasing Team Engagement in Retrospectives”

The Journey to Creating a Team Charter

Every now and then every ScrumMaster or Agile Coach meets a team that doesn’t show any of the Scrum values in their day to day interactions. This can be frustrating to the agilist, but to the team it can be psychologically harmful and have a severe impact upon their performance. Taking a lead from professional coaching, I believe that the answer to this problem in the team exists within the team itself. I set to work creating a retrospective that would help this team create a charter that they own and buy into. Continue reading “The Journey to Creating a Team Charter”

Finding the Hidden Story Points

I’ve been watching my team for a couple of sprints now, and I’ve generated some questions around how they groom stories. When stories are brought into sprint they are typically between 25% and 50% of the team’s average velocity. The ideal is that every story is around 6% to 10% of the average velocity. The Team and Product Owner have been telling that they cannot be made smaller. I didn’t believe this and so decided to explore a story that the Team claimed to be ready for the next sprint.

Continue reading “Finding the Hidden Story Points”

Addressing Team Reliance Upon One

Our team is comprised primarily of relatively new staters, with all but one being here between four months and four weeks. One developer (let’s call him Jack) has been here much longer and is very familiar with the product. As I’m sure we’ve all seen in this scenario the team has developed a level of reliance upon Jack that was understandable to start with, but needs tackling to avoid problems in the future. Continue reading “Addressing Team Reliance Upon One”

What’s the Point of Writing User Stories?

Team coaching

I’ve recently been working with a client who told me they had worked in an agile environment before, had found it valuable, and wanted to use it again. After running two or three grooming sessions of the product backlog with the development team and customer I was asked what I thought the point of writing user stories was. Many people who have worked in quasi-agile environments think that user stories are agile’s equivalent of requirements gathering. They’re wrong. Continue reading “What’s the Point of Writing User Stories?”

Thoughts in Retrospective

Scrum team using post it notes

Agile retrospectives are something that all agile teams are by now familiar with, to one extent or another. Retros are built into the manifesto in Principle 12; At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly. Retros were built into frameworks such as eXtreme Programming and Scrum, and have now become a staple of the cadence we expect to see in any kind of agile team. Given their high significance in our processes, and being process managers, retrospectives should be of the highest priority to ScrumMasters. Continue reading “Thoughts in Retrospective”