Inspiration for Scrum Masters and Other Leaders (vol 1)

I hope you have read my article about building a scrum master community. where I share some thoughts on how to help the scrum masters grow and become real stars.

This week I have decided to explore the opportunity to create a spam source (I meant a digest) for the other leaders with whom I am working, with the same goal in mind.

Then I said to my self, what a beautiful covid day; Why don’t I share the links for you, maybe you could find them useful too.

Scrum Master Inspiration

Ruinous Empathy of a Scrum Master
You must have heard about the Radical Candor book and its quadrant model. Today I want to talk about how you can apply this model to a Scrum Master role

Scrum Team Roles and Responsibilities
The Scrum team chiefly consists of three roles: The Scrum Master, Product Owner & the Development Team. Anyone outside the core team doesn’t have any direct influence over the Team.

2019 Scrum Master Trends
Old but gold: The survey results reveal salary trends and agile adoption patterns, while also exploring gender equality within the Scrum Master role.

Product Owners and Engineering Leaders

Defect Management in Scrum
Eventually, everyone who has done some basic Scrum training asks the question, “How do you handle the fixing of bugs? Where does this fit in the process?”

Becoming a Manager of Engineers
Becoming a manager is usually one of the biggest challenges of an engineer’s career. This article will give you some great advice and help you grow.

Top 10 Software Engineering Metrics Too often, software engineering team leaders are worried that measuring metrics could be perceived by their team as an unnecessary, intrusive complexity that will erode their culture and wellbeing

The Product Owners and The (Business) Value
Product Owners’ main responsibility is to maximize the value for the Product, in order to create, deliver and maintain a successful Product, but what is value?

Pardon the interuption. I have a gift for you.
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Burn Baby Burn!

How much time do you spend in meetings? I guess a lot. How do you track the ROI of a meeting? Yeah, there are formulas and approaches and studies in the universities, but if you want to check a pretty neat way of doing that – see this website. I challenge you to show that on the screen during your next meeting. :)

Building Scrum Master CoP S01E01: Inspiration

As an RTE, I want to have a healthy and smart Scrum Master community, because I count on them to help me run the train.

In my current ART, I am working with fifteen amazing scrum masters from development, design, documentation, testing, performance, and globalization. As you can feel, they have unique skill sets, but they all possess the quality of an excellent agile leader.

Hand-picked content for Scrum Masters

One of the things I decided to do, so I can help them grow is to prepare a weekly dose of inspiration in the form of a newsletter.

I know it’s mainstream, but so far, I got a few great feedback entries encouraging me to continue with I do.

I always read the articles before sending them out, and I am picking up content that applies to solve the problems we know we have in our small world.

K.I.S.S.

Also, I want to keep it simple and entertaining because I know this is one of the few thousands of e-mails they receive. I don’t want my e-mail to go to /dev/null immediately :)

The newsletter design for my community of Scrum Masters

What’s next

This article is a part of series of articles on building a great Community of Practice (a.k.a CoP). I plan to write on that topic almost every week. If you have the same intent as me – helping your Scrum Masters grow – keep an eye here.

Pardon the interuption. I have a gift for you.
I know you are busy but curious. Join 73 people like you and get notified when there is a new Agile article avaiable.
I hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Redefining the Scrum of Scrums

Scrum of Scrums or SoS (not as in … — …) is a scaled agile technique for facilitating the coordination between all the teams working on the same objectives. 

If you do Scrum already you can think about that as a large standup for people representing each team, where they do the same – answering the holy questions:

  1. What has your team done since we last met?
  2. What will your team do before we meet again?
  3. Is anything slowing your team down or getting in their way?
  4. Are you about to put something in another team’s way?

SoS is not a status meeting for the management; it is a meeting for working together as a team of teams to handle dependencies and joint problems. 

I will now share how I run that meeting for maximum efficiency.

Schedule

I intend to keep in short, no more than 45 min. the time is divided and planned:

  • First 5 min, the facilitator talks about any critical updates.
  • 30 min for risks and dependencies management. We go team by team, and the scrum master talks shortly about the topics.
  • The last 10 min we save for Q/A (see below for what exactly)

Keeping track on what we decided and discussed during the Scrum of Scrums

I create a table for every meeting in our wiki for every Sprint, that looks like this:

Scrum of Scrums Table with Data

The team name

Nothing to add here, it should be self-explanatory, but sometimes you could change it to “I wish my team name was…” and leave it to the imagination of the scrum masters.

Board

A link to the Scrum or kanban board. If anyone wants to explore more, they should have a quick way to navigate to the board.

Scrum master

The name of the person that represents the team in that meeting and the point of contact of the team if you need anything from them after the meeting.

Sprint Goal

The Sprint goal usually is defined as a high-level summary of the target the product owner would like to accomplish during a sprint. 

I have added it here because the team needs to know what they are willing to achieve in that Sprint. 

Success criteria

How will the team know if they have achieved the Sprint Goal?

WIP

 On how may epics(as in Jira epics), the team works at the same time. Sometimes the teams work on many items at the same time without considering the impact of that.

Little’s Law—the fundamental Law of queuing theory—tells us that the average wait time for service from a system equals the ratio of the average queue length divided by the average processing rate. (While this might sound complicated, even the line at Starbucks illustrates that.) Therefore, assuming any average processing rate, the longer the queue, the longer the wait. Simply reducing queue length decreases delays, reduces waste, increases flow, and improves the predictability of outcomes.

Again this should be used as a conversation starter, not as a blame mechanism.

Updates

 As in, how are we progressing towards the goal? 

Risks

Are there any open risks you would like to call out. It can be 3-rd party dependency that you can’t handle or some people leaving, and you haven’t planned for that or anything that is a risk to the delivery of the goal.

Dependencies

Does your team own any dependencies? We use this as a conversation started. That’s the most important part of the meeting.

What else

Open up the Scrum of Scrums meeting

Usually, the meeting is a closed event – one person from the team is allowed to attend. I have opened that meeting to everyone by sending the invite to every team member that contributes to the product. The condition is that they can listen only, and if they have some questions, we will use the last 10 -15 min from every meeting for such a discussion. 

By using this “hack,” I was able to give visibility to everyone to understand what the teams will be working on in the current Sprint. Usually, we have people from the support, field teams, and management listening to what the teams plan to do, without turning this into a status meeting.

Rotate

I decided to experiment with rotating facilitators of the Scrum of Scrums. Habitually, the RTE is the leading facilitator. I believe in teamwork, and that’s why every week, there will be a different facilitator – one from the Scrum Masters. I think this boosts ownership and supports transparency.

Take that step

If you are willing to use one of my approaches, feel free and then share the results. I am also curious about how you hold your Scrum of Scrum meetings.