When Your Scrum Team Gets Bored

Overview

bored1“Oh no… already time for Daily Standup? Can I just be excused? I have other things to do.”

“Sprint Planning again? Hummm…. I’m not in the mood.”

“I’m blank… I don’t know what to say in the Retrospective. Nothing has changed from last week.”

“Another Sprint… when is this going to end?”

Are those lines above familiar?
If yes, most probably you (or your team) are in the stagnant phase, you feel bored (not to say get sick) with all of the routines of the Scrum Events.

Boredom definitely has a negative effect to the whole team spirit and also the product quality.
This is something we need to address.

Yes, I said “we”.
Meaning not only the Scrum Master, but also the whole team.

Dig To The Root

bored2Before we think of the things we need to do to handle this, first we need to know what cause this.
What is the root cause, so to say.

By knowing the root cause, you can take more effective action rather than trying different variation but resolve nothing.

It’s like trying to give medicine to your headache without knowing what cause your headache.
Could be from the eye, cholesterol, influenza or even a stress mind.
The cure for each cause definitely different.
If you know what cause it, you can solve it straight to the core of the problem.

 

Some Ideas

bored3

There are many ideas on how to make your Sprint Events more variate.

You can try having the Sprint Events in a different location.
For example,

  • Having the Sprint Retrospective in a coffee shop once in a while.
  • Start the Retrospective with games. There are plenty of websites that offers many variations of Agile Games. You can start by checking on Retromart and Tasty Cupcakes website

You can also try different format of Daily Standup.
For example,

  • Instead of go in turn asking the sacred 3 questions of Daily Standup, you can start by asking what they were doing to spend the last weekend.
    You can do this on Monday after they had their weekend.
  • You can also use a tool like a ball or a stick that each person can toss to the next person that will talk.
    So there will be the element of surprise because you don’t know who’s coming next. This might work for team member that usually not paying attention on what others are saying.
  • I never try this one, but I was thinking of making a group yell that the team will shout of every time they finished doing Standup.
    I think it will be great, especially if there are more than one team in a room. Every team usually finished in different time, there will be lots of positive energy spread around the office.

Are Those The Magic Pills?

What I just wrote above are actually just some ideas to make your Sprint Events more “colorful”, but it’s not really solving the boredom issue we had on the first place.

For some first days, probably it will be fun to have some variation, but if the root cause is not fixed, the team will get bored again.

Even worst, if you – as the Scrum Master –  always be the one who think of a way to “entertain” the team, I bet, in no time, you will get bored too 😀

Let’s say you take the team to have Sprint Retrospective in a coffee shop and they feel happy about it. Next time if the Retrospective done in a meeting room, the team will get bored again because that “solution” is not really fixing the root cause.

bored4I always think Scrum Team like a family.
Sometime there are moments when you feel bored because of the routine in the day to day house activity.

For couples that already married for so long this could also happen.
You meet everyday, intact with the same routine, dealing with the same attitude, then you get bored.
People say .. “no more sparkle”

Or a housewife that always do the daily routine (wake up in the morning, cook, clean, take care of kids) will – at some time – feels bored too.

When I have a problem in my family, the first thing I do is discussing it.
Listen to what other family members have in mind.
You might have some ideas on why something is happening, but without discussing it, you will never find the real cause and it will end up as a prejudice.

In Scrum Team, you can always use Sprint Retrospective as the time to discuss this issue.
Dig the information from the team, ask them whether they feel the same, ask them what caused that according to them and ask them their ideas on how to address this together.

There might be chance where the Team are hesitate on giving ideas.
If so, then you need to make them understand about the negative effect caused by having this issue put under the rug.

Conclusion

bored5There’s no magic pill, no single solution, no correct action to encounter this issue.

What’s more important is that the team realize that the boredom is like a time bomb and they need to take action to deal with it.

Discuss with the whole team. Let the team decides what’s best for them.

Trust me, the best solution is the one that comes from the team themselves.

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