So, you’re using Agile – great! The first few sprints can be difficult – learning the new methods can be trying and the value is not always easy to see. Once you understand the new processes, the Agile ceremonies can become boring and repetitive. Here are three areas to focus on to see the value and make sure the team is involved and excited.
1. Be Prepared!
This is a key factor for all meetings, but one that is often underestimated or forgotten for Agile ceremonies. The scrum master facilitates every ceremony, and every team member needs to be prepared. For sprint planning and backlog reviews this means being familiar with the set of stories that is likely to be reviewed. Towards the beginning of projects, this preparation will take more time, but it is well worth the investment. Send out an email to your team at least 24 hours before the meeting is scheduled reminding them to be prepared – a simple reminder can make a great difference!
2. Shake it Up!
Performing the same Agile ceremonies week after week can become boring and repetitive. As the team becomes disinterested they may miss critical details – causing development delays. Shake up your activities to keep the team excited! For sprint planning, there’s the classic Planning Poker and lots of other alternatives – dot voting, t-shirt sizes, the bucket system – a quick internet search gives plenty of ideas. Use any of these, or come up with your own! There are similar alternatives for Sprint Retrospectives.
3. Show the Value!
Most importantly, the team needs to see the value in the ceremony. Declare the goals of the meeting upfront – remind the team what they need to complete. Keep these goals visible throughout, and use them to steer the Agile ceremony. As the team accomplishes these goals, document it – ideally right where the goals are declared, but at the very least in notes. After the meeting is complete, if time allows, run through the goals again and share how each goal was accomplished. Share the results with the entire team so they can see the value! This will keep them motivated and involved.
These three areas are the key factors to making the Agile Ceremonies successful. If the team is prepared, involved, and sees value, they will be much more willing participants.