The most common complaint I hear from various Scrum team members is either, “There are too many meetings in Scrum!!” or “Is this another meeting to talk about other meetings?”.
We’ve all heard the complaint after a meeting, “That is one hour of my life I am never getting back”. Some team members I know have stopped attending about 50% of scrum meetings and their common reasons include: feeling that meetings are ineffective, that they don’t achieve the outcome, or that nothing is agreed upon.
Lack of knowledge about these "scrum meetings" known as scrum events in scrum, is one major factor that causes people to be disinterested in them.
You would be surprised by the number of people who do not understand the purpose of these meetings!
As a Scrum Master, I do the following to increase my team’s engagement in meetings:
As Scrum Masters, we have to wear the “Teacher” hat quite often. Conduct short workshops (bite-size portions) to teach people the purpose, timebox, input, and output of the various Scrum meetings.
For example, if I am teaching about Sprint Planning, I will explain the following:
Many meetings are inconclusive because attendees are not sure what they were supposed to prepare or who else should have been invited.
As a Scrum Master, I have learned that one of the key factors in facilitating an effective meeting is to PREP BEFORE the meeting.
For example, if I am preparing for a Sprint Review, I will conduct a meeting BEFORE the Sprint Review with:
Having people know their role in each meeting helps the event run more efficiently.
Related Article: Scrum Roles Demystified
Gather feedback to Inspect the various meetings that the team attended during the Sprint and Adapt in the following Sprint to improve them.
Ask questions such as, “What does everyone think of the frequency of our Backlog Refinement sessions?” or, “Does Daily Scrum at 11 am work for everyone?”. This shows the team that they are directly involved in decision-making and that these events are not enforced upon them.
The sheer act of asking for feedback makes people engage, it shows them that their opinion matters, or at least that the team members are open to listening to each other!
As Scrum teams begin to mature, these scrum meetings or events become shorter and shorter as everyone in those meetings KNOWS what the meetings are for and what preparation they need to get done beforehand. When people start seeing the value in these various meetings, the engagement increases and you will begin to see team members attending the meetings proactively.
Having your team engaged in Scrum Ceremonies is one of the many ways you can measure Scrum Team Success.
Bonsy Yelsangi is a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST) and an agile coach with 17 years of experience. She has helped organizations and individuals attain agility in industries including media, remote managed services, luxury real estate, aviation, automotive and private wealth management. Throughout her career, she has served as a mentor, coach, facilitator, trainer, and change agent during agile transformations.
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