Get the Most from Scrum

Transcript of Get the Most from Scrum, from the Free Webinar Series to Create an Agile Organisation, on 10th September 2019. Presented by Laura Re Turner, Director, Future Focus Coaching & Development.


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Good afternoon everyone. Thank you very much for joining us. I’m the Director of Future Focus Coaching and Development, Laura Re Turner. Welcome to our webinar series on creating an agile organisation. This webinar Get the Most from Scrum, will help you think about the value of using the Scrum Framework and what it takes to get the most value out of using Scrum.

Welcome

Today’s webinar will be for 30 minutes and the presentation part of the webinar will be 15 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. The webinar finishes at 1:00 PM and it’s being recorded. The recording will be available on our website this afternoon at https://futurefocuscoaching.org/webinar-series-recordings/. I also want to let you know that this webinar is part of a series. We held our first webinar ‘Is Agile Right for our Organisation?’ on the 20th of August, just a few weeks ago almost. People were on their summer holidays. It was great to have such a fantastic turnout for that. Today is the second in the series. Get the Most from Scrum, and on your screen you can see a list of all of the upcoming webinars and the link to register https://futurefocuscoaching.org/webinar-series-recordings/ .


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So if you joined us for the first webinar, you’ll know that I like to start with a definition. It’s good to level set and understand what we mean when we talk about Scrum. What better way to find out what Scrum is than lifting a definition from the Scrum Guide.

“Scrum is not a process, technique, or definitive method. Rather it’s a framework within which you can employ various processes and techniques. Scrum makes clear the relative efficacy of your product management and work techniques so that you can continuously improve the product, the team, and the working environment.”

The Scrum Guide, scrumguides.org

So interestingly, scrum is saying that any processes, techniques, and tools and other methods that you feel you need to use in order to be effective at delivering a product or a project is absolutely fair game.

Poll: What Are Your Reasons for Using Scrum?

I’d like to understand a little bit more about what your reasons are for using scrum. As always in our webinars, we have a poll. I’d like to invite you to have a look at the poll. We’ve created a few reasons that we normally hear from people about why they’re using Scrum. I wonder if you might take a couple minutes to have a look at the poll and tick all of the options that apply.

Reasons organisations use Scrum

So Scrum Alliance does a survey every year. There’s a lot of really good surveys to find out how scrum and other frameworks are being adopted out there. In the most recent, State of Scrum survey from Scrum Alliance respondents to the survey said that the top three reasons for adopting Scrum were to deliver value to the customer, flexibility and responsiveness, and quality.

Feedback loops of Scrum

So I wonder what attributes of the Scrum framework give us these features to deliver value to the customer and flexibility and quality? These are achieved when we use the feedback loops of the scrum framework. Scrum’s meetings or events are used for examining feedback on what the team has just completed in the previous few weeks, and deciding what to do for the next few weeks.

For example, a planning meeting uses feedback from the previous weeks to decide what should be delivered in the next Sprint, which is typically two to four weeks. If you say you’re using Scrum and you’re not asking for feedback and using it for forward planning, you’re not using Scrum and in fact not agile. Let’s take a look at two of the meetings in a little bit more detail.

Do your Sprint Reviews

To get the most value from Scrum, you really need to do your sprint reviews. The team must have a Sprint Review with business stakeholders, not just a Product Owner.

This helps the team adapt the product requirements to get the work done in priority order. It helps business stakeholders understand what the team’s working on and builds trust and it helps the team shift focus when at the end of a Sprint, which is a few weeks long, they find out that actually the business priorities have changed and they need to do something slightly different.

Do your Sprint Retrospectives

Also to get the most value out of scrum do your sprint retrospectives. These can be a little bit uncomfortable because in a retrospective the team talks about which processes, techniques, and interactions among the team members are working or not. This is really where you’re starting to get the most value out of the scrum framework and where the hard work is. This helps the team adapt its processes and behaviours and mind-set to be more effective.

I’d like to offer you a quote from a certified Scrum Master and Scrum Trader from State of Scrum Report.

“Scrum is not difficult to implement. The discipline, commitments and capabilities required to be good at delivering real value frequently, and often are hard to master. It takes a lot of work. Teams and organisations suffer from technical and cultural debt. The difficulty is not really scrum; it’s the technical and cultural debt. In these cases, scrum is doing one of the things that it’s great at- making a team’s problems transparent.”

Tiago Garcez, Scrum Coach and Trainer, CST, CSP, CSM, CSPO, REP

So I’m interested in what some of the questions are that you have, some of the things that have been working well or not. Any of the things that we can help with and what are your questions? Please use the Q&A window to submit your questions. We’re very interested to know how it’s going? How long you’ve been using Scrum? What are some of the challenges you’ve run into? What’s happening to your Sprint Retrospectives? Do business stakeholders attend, and what kind of feedback are you getting from them? Are you doing your sprint reviews with your stakeholders? Are you doing your Retrospectives with the team? What are some of the things happening in your organisation now?

Thank you so much for your question. You’ve been using Scrum for four years and as you say, the biggest challenge is building trust with customers. Absolutely. The real challenge is bringing them on the journey with us so that they can start to see that the iterations and the work that we’re doing is really leading to something that’s valuable. To do that, they need to be committed too, and they need to join us for all of the Sprint Reviews.


Future Focus

Tired of lifeless meetings? Contact us to find out how to facilitate exceptional meetings, events, and courses online.


Another comment, it’s difficult in a distributed environment when the representative is not the real customer. One of the challenges that we’re finding often is that the product owner who is meant to be a representative of the business requirements and the voice of the customer is not a real representative. That the person is perhaps appointed or reluctantly asked to be the product owner to the team when the person perhaps doesn’t have the experience to understand what the customer really needs and how to get the requirements or perhaps the authority to make decisions about the priority of the requirements.

 

Another participant on the webinar said that what he’s done is really to get feedback from people using their product, which is a mobile app, who may be difficult to reach, maybe difficult to get to. So a product owner has to be creative and be a little bit innovative and think about how best to represent the actual users of the app. What other lessons learned have we experienced on our projects when using scrum?

Another comment is about really working iteratively going out and finding out what the customers, the end users really need. The temptation is when planning a big project to start to feel some certainty and get some plans written down and feel that we’ve taken a really good stab at shaping a project and understanding what we’re going to be delivering for the next 6 or 12 months. One of the biggest mindset shifts that we have when working in an agile way and especially with Scrum, is understanding how to use iterations of the product or service that we can release to find out from our end users what they really need next. To do that, we need to suspend the temptation to want to plan months of work in a project, to have that certainty.

[Culture change is discussed in the webinar Create an Agile Culture. Read the transcription.]

How Can We Help?

Guys, thank you so much for your questions. It’s been great having you today. I wanted to let you know about some of the work that we do at Future Focus Coaching and Development. We work mainly in two areas:

Business agility
Think about how often you’re asked to do more with less, deliver faster, or create the next killer app to deliver more.
• You need to prioritise your work and deliver product versions incrementally.
• Enable the right people to work together regardless of where they physically sit in the
organisation.
• Develop strategic thinking and plan by business outcomes instead of tasks.
• Learn how to influence your colleagues, customers, suppliers, and business partners to come with you on the journey.
So for this, we work with leaders in order to develop an agile mind-set and behaviours.

Motivated teams
The sparkle of passion and team members comes from giving more responsibility to help the business achieve its strategic goals. Product development teams are most effective when they’re part of the planning process, and they can generate options and shape solutions to problems. Build knowledge sharing networks that can identify end-user’s true needs and possible solutions faster than the hub and spoke management style fostered by command and control management of single individuals.

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