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manage dispersed teams - increase visibility - better business decisions

How increased visibility of agile scrum & retrospective data enables better business decisions


This article discusses how Online Scrums can be used to drive continuous improvement and better business decisions for delivering successful agile scrum projects. Firstly, it should be noted that development platforms such as Atlassian and Microsoft VSTS provide huge amounts of useful information about your development tasks, priorities and roadmap. They do, however, often rely heavily of scrum masters and product owners to understand; the work being executed, what is planned every day, what was committed by each team member, what was and wasn't completed and then the roll on impacts of any misses.

Burndown or velocity charts are the go to tools for understanding if a sprint it at risk of failure but they often lack the context of why. This, at its core was the inspiration behind Online Scrums. There is great power in a team member committing to their work, to the team, and then providing feedback on how it went the following day. Conventional agile scrums however rely on; the scrum master or team member remembering what was actually committed (and being honest about their status?). Cultural differences also come into play here, their are those cultures that do not take feedback (of any kind) well or fear to accept they "failed", and changing this perception that failure to complete work is a personal failure takes time and repetition, without negative consequences.

So let's jump into how Online Scrums can improve this aspects of Agile Scrum and empower your team to take ownership and develop better work habits!

What information is available in your Scrum report?

Each team member submits their daily report that captures the usual three questions; what did you do yesterday? what are you doing today? Any blockers or impediments? The key difference between the traditional scrum and online scrums is that the team member commits to the team the tasks they are planning on completing tomorrow. They then update the status of those tasks, so tasks that were not completed or were blocked are still visible to the team; triggering discussion about why and the possible impacts to the sprint. It's a small change, but we believe it's an important one! This information then is presented in the scrum feature that is broken up into team and team member views.

As shown above the team member scrum report creates a beautiful snapshot of the work committed and their status. Additional work (called "interupt" if it's not sprint work or "extra" if it is) can also be added. It should also be noted that there should be no negative association with an incomplete or blocked task - it is a trigger for discussion and isn't a reflection on the team member necessarily!

All of this data is easily accessible in the team scrum view as below;

Note that reported blockers are front and center in this view and associated with a team member. This information gives your scrum master and other business stakeholders who are registered as "observers" in Online Scrums powerful information that may change the focus of your team members work or drive corrective action to deliver on sprint milestones.

What information is available in the Sprint Report?

The sprint report is important to discuss because it is used as a point of reflection for the Sprint Retrospective and all of that powerful, jaw dropping data from daily reports and scrums is rolled up into a concise and easy to read report for your sprint.

You can see the trends day-by-day for your team and drill down to individuals if you need. Further, the data is broken down by sprint work & non-sprint work; especially handy where your team are multi-functional and offering support to your internal helpdesk team as a point of escalation. You will clearly be able to talk to interuptions to your sprint work.

What information is available in the Retrospective?

We won't revisit the retro overview posted here ( https://www.onlinescrums.com/blog/manage-your-sprint-retrospectives-in-online-scrums ) recently but the information available in the retrospective should provide your team with higher levels of high quality feedback that can be used for continuous improvement of your processes and team.


Conclusion

I challenge you to say that the level of information captured by systemising your daily scrums and retrospectives in Online Scrums would not improve your project visibility throughout the organisation and drive continuos improvement in the team when applied appropriately.

Further, getting your team into the habbits associated with committing and reporting on their work will see them reflecting on their own and the teams performance and exploring ways to achieve better results. This can only be a great thing for the organisation as a whole.

What do you think? It is worth giving it a try? It's free for the first 21 days and no credit card is needed on signup!

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