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StrategyMar 15, 2017

The Four Stages of Scrum Meetings

Luke Willson

It can be a challenge to have consistent scrum meetings to keep your team on track. It requires practice and commitment. Here’s a fun look at how scrum meetings often work and don’t work:

Achievement

You’ve recently been hired at a great company like Credera. They have an awesome approach to software development based on agile and scrum principles. You are a good new hire and show up to work early every day, grab your coffee, and are ready to code. You attend your 9:00 a.m. scrum meeting, and each day come with your answers to the three questions:

  • What did you do yesterday?

  • What do you plan to do today?

  • What roadblocks are in your way?

Everything is going according to plan. Your team members like you, your project director likes you, and you’re being a great employee. Good job!

Denial

You’ve been at Credera for a couple of months now. The team has been shifting around, sprints come and go. And slowly, people aren’t showing up to scrum on time, including yourself. 9:15, 9:30—that’s OK.

You haven’t really been doing scrum anymore. The team doesn’t seem to mind, and our productivity hasn’t changed much at all.

Each day a calendar invite reminds you about scrum, but no one ever looks up from their computer. Just keep working, keep on writing that code! That’s OK, right?

Accountability

Then everyone realizes they don’t know what’s going on with each other. Each week, you scramble to put together a progress report for your project director. Finally, everyone on your team says “We should do scrum again.”

So you decide to create an accountability system for showing up to scrum on time. Maybe they’re called “donut points,” and each time you’re late to scrum, you get a donut point. When someone gets to five donut points, they have to bring donuts for the team.

Success

This works for a while. The frequent offenders decide they don’t want to bring donuts all the time, so they start showing up before 9:00.

Then all of the team shows up for morning scrum again! Each morning, you are again communicating about what is going on with your individual tasks, as well as the project as a whole.

But be careful! Anything can cause a disturbance in this pattern: Maybe the team shifts around again, or the holiday break comes, or maybe the company trip happens (or doesn’t). Your team can quickly shift back into denial again.

Lessons Learned

An important part of any sprint is the retrospective. After it’s over, we need to look back at what we’ve learned.

What have I learned in my first few months at Credera? That I love donuts more than I thought. Oh, and that scrum really is an important part of the workday. When we all stand up in our room (or sit down at a table together) and talk about those three key points, we are more in touch with our team.

As Brock Hardman wrote just a few weeks ago, “Communication takes practice. You will fail, and then you will fail some more, but eventually you will succeed. Don’t give up.”

Maintaining a daily scrum is really difficult. And if it isn’t working for you, try something different: Whether it’s an accountability system, or an afternoon scrum, or a weekly scrum, you need to start somewhere.

Our team has not given up on scrum. We still work toward our goal of meeting each morning. And we’ll eat a few donuts along the way! It’s all part of our life at Credera.

LIFE AT CREDERA

We’re “open-sourcing” the Credera culture in a series called Life at Credera. We are sharing an authentic perspective on what we are learning and where we are growing. We are talking about friendships and fungrowth, higher purpose, talent and character, leadership, and communication.

We hope this series is a helpful resource on the continuous pursuit of a great culture. And we hope the results are encouraging to our company, employees, clients, and friends.

Looking for more? Check out these great Life at Credera perspectives: