My clients ask me many questions, but one that I hear over and over is: Why isn’t Scrum working? or How do we improve quality with Scrum?. My answer seldom varies from: How are you using Scrum?
Sprint Review is one of the things that most organizations fail to do properly. In Scrum, it is the main business meeting. Simple mechanic: Product Owner hosts the meeting, taking as her primary responsibility expressing the value of what has been accomplished during the Sprint. Scrum Team answer questions about the increment so it can be inspected and adapted. Afterwards, Stakeholders take their chance to discuss with the PO and Dev Team which are the actual business conditions and update the Product Backlog.
So then problems begin. Product Owner cannot attend the Sprint Review. Stakeholders? Don’t make me laugh. Nobody knows or cares about business conditions. Development Team did not complete a Software increment. But Scrum is guilty.
It is interesting that with all those potholes in the organization’s capability to be competitive and give service to its customers, fault is on Scrum. Do you remember Costa Concordia, the cruise that sunk close to the Italian coast because the captain was trying to impress a escort. Yep, that could have been just the sea’s fault.
If you want to offer a delightful Sprint Review, think of:
- Before the Sprint begun, there was a Sprint Goal to work against
- Make sure the whole Scrum Team delivers a done increment
- Stakeholders are invited and attend the Sprint Review (yay! No more need for status report meetings, those are the Sprint Review)
- There is a conversation about what has gone well and wrong during the Sprint
- At the end of the meeting, there is an updated Product Backlog and upcoming priorities are expressed according with business conditions.
Of course, if you are a Scrum Master and you are facing one of the situations described above, you might think:
But this is impossible, I cannot change the organization.
Well, then you might do better looking for a new job, because you may not last long. When we talk about removing impediments in Scrum, we talk about improving and shaping the organization towards adopting agility. We don’t talk about repairing keyboards for developers and arranging schedules.
The main difference between an experienced Scrum Master and a junior one is the capability to influence the organization without the authority to do so. That’s the main quality that makes a Scrum Master excellent.