When I started at Nebbia, my first time ever working for/with a technology company, I was thrown into this world with lots of terms I’d never heard before. One word that came up a lot in the beginning was “scrum”. For a little while, I just thought it was a funny word everyone was saying – maybe it was some new recycling trend (I knew tech companies tended to think more “green”), maybe it was an Azure capability that was way over my head at the time, or was it actually that thing they do in rugby? Essentially, I thought it was something unrelated to my operations and marketing job, and then I was handed a guide to Scrum. Who knew it was such a big deal? Not me.
Over the past seven months, I’ve learned a lot about Scrum and how teams use it to organize. In this post I’m going to focus on the stand-up piece of Scrum – there’s a lot more to the process and I found once I got the flow for this down, the rest followed for me. So, for anyone new to the tech world and looking for some tips on the Scrum process, this one’s for you! Here are five things I learned about Scrum stand-ups from a non-technical view:
1.Everyone presents every day.
In your daily stand-up, that quick little 15 minute conversation you have each day, everyone presents what they worked on the day before, what their plan is for that day, and any impediments they may have. It’s important that everyone gives their update since an impediment on your end, while it may not seem like an issue or a big deal to you, could affect someone on your team.
2. Keep to the timeline.
The time-box of 15 minutes, or whatever your team dictates, is necessary as people will plan their days around the stand-up. You don’t want to impede someone getting to another meeting or starting on a task because the team continually goes over the time limit for the meeting.
3. Follow the Scrum master.
The Scrum master has a lot of responsibilities. One of their main ones is that they are in charge of making sure the team sticks to Scrum and that everyone knows their role and expectations in the sprint and Scrum. The Scrum master’s job is to increase effectiveness of Scrum, facilitate Scrum events, help remove impediments, and ensure the team is practicing agility.
4. Come prepared with your update and what you are listening out for with others.
Coming prepared to the stand-up is key to not going over the time-box. It is helpful to quickly jot down what you did the day before, what you’re working on, and impediments you’re running into before the stand-up so that you’re not staring into space and delaying other people’s updates. Additionally, if you have any questions about the status of a project, impediment, etc., I’d suggest writing it down, as well. By doing so, you can keep an ear out for an answer to this question in the stand-up and if you don’t hear it, ask whoever may know the answer if they are free to talk offline after the meeting.
5. Take it offline when necessary.
This leads to my final tip: take conversations offline. If you have a quick question, go ahead and ask it in the stand-up. If your question begins to turn into a full on discussion, take it offline. It’s unfair to delay the rest of the team with this conversation. Invite the key stakeholders in the discussion to join you offline and continue the conversation there. It is rare that a digression is useful to the whole team. It may happen; however, this is up to the scrum master’s discretion.
Scrum has a lot of components to it that I have not mentioned, and I am still learning about this whole process itself. There are certifications, guides, etc. on what it is and implementing Scrum so don’t end your research on it here! There are also plenty of debates on Scrum versus other ways of organizing as a team, and from what I’ve learned so far, they each have their own pros and cons.
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