I am scrum master of a newly formed scrum team. It has 8 people including myself and the Product Owner. Though the team is newly formed most of the team members were previously working in some other scrum teams.
So most of them had prior knowledge about scrum and agile.
Daily scrum was not new to them and I did not go through the pain of having to time box the event or making everyone come in time. They even already knew what they have to discuss during the daily.
So things were pretty much easy for me – That’s what you might be thinking!
Though the daily and other scrum ceremonies were followed appropriately, my team was still falling back in delivering the sprint goal. Since 3 sprints we were discussing during Daily about what each of the individual team member was doing and if they are facing any impediments. All the team members were busy with developing the stories throughout the sprint and the impediments were also removed efficiently but still at the end of the sprint the .
During retrospectives we used to discuss why we are not able to keep our commitment towards the Sprint Goal and several reasons used to come up. But it was really not solving the issue of Sprint goal not been achieved for several sprints
As a Scrum Master of the team I was really thinking through the situation and was reading stuffs to get some ideas on how to address the issue. And meanwhile I was trying out ways to make this work.
So I did this small experiment during Sprint 4.
On our first day of Sprint 4 Daily Scrum I proposed my team “Let’s start focusing on the stories rather than on us as individuals. So from today on wards we will run the stories on the story board and not do the one by one individual updates” I made them understand the reason for doing is to focus on the work and not on the workers. My team was happy to try it out.
And so from Sprint 4 on wards during the Daily Scrum we started to read and discuss the stories which were on the right most column of the board and then gradually move to the columns on the left. (A concept taken from KANBAN)
We started to focus on the stories which were more towards the right columns of the board so that we can quickly move the stories to Done and have a descent burn down chart.
Within next 2 Sprint I could actually see the difference. More number of stories started to get to the Done column. There was no story left on the board which was not discussed at all i.e. even if there were some stories on the To Do column and no one was yet working on it, still we would have some discussion on how and when can we start working on the story during the daily. It was like all the stories were getting our attention and all the team members were aware what work was still left to achieve the sprint goal. Eventually in Sprint 6 we were actually able to complete all the committed stories of the sprint.
Just by shifting our focus on the work or on the stories from the individual team members we were able to solve one of the painful problems of our team. This was not some hefty experiment which required additional time or lot of effort to do. But it was worth doing it for my team.
P.S. This experiment worked for my team does not mean it will work for every team. We have to keep experimenting and finding out ways to do things differently for a different outcome