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How to get the team working smoothly in the case of a Scrum process, and what happens if that rhythm is missing (contd)..

In the previous post (team not working smoothly in case of Scrum), I was talking about when the team does not seem to be working smoothly, reflected in various situations such as people not being active in the Daily Scrum meetings, estimates being totally off whack, finger-pointing, or many other such similar situations. In such cases, the ScrumMaster and other managers of the team need to take action to diagnose such problems, work out what are the root causes, and get the team back into its own rhythm. This post takes a look at what are some of the steps that the senior managers of the team can do to prevent the rhythm of a team from getting disrupted and becoming smooth again.
– Set some of the base rules that the team needs to follow and ensure that they are followed (less democracy in this one, less discussion about what is the right approach). This consists of simpler items such as people making sure that they come to the meetings and are not late
– Ensure that people are trained before you throw them into the Scrum process. This is also required to ensure that they understand what the difference are there with respect to Scrum (and believe me, people don’t sometimes really comprehend about what the differences are with respect to Scrum; it’s only training, demos and examples that show people the differences)
– Another real important item is to make people feel that they are indeed empowered, and that this is a different process. I have spoken to many ScrumMasters, and there are still quite a percentage of those with Waterfall and other experiences who treat Scrum like a process where they can get status and tell the team what to do. When such things happen, the Scrum team really does not see any difference; further, other stakeholders also see this to mean that they will continue to have an active role and can drive and interfere with the meetings
– Carrying on from the previous point, the various stakeholders need to also get training in terms of Scrum, at least in terms of what the changed role of stakeholders, and what they can and cannot do with respect to Scrum. This can be fairly important, since stakeholders can get involved at any stage and try to run things the way they want to
– When somebody does something different, get onto that right away; find out why the difference, reasons for the same, and try to ensure that such deviations are kept to a minimum or removed altogether. The chance of settings precedents is very high and you need to be careful on this count.
– Do the meetings such as retrospectives that help in ensuring that people get a chance to point out issues that they have seen, and make sure that these are open sessions where people have a expectation that they can communicate freely.
– Make sure that when people raise impediments, they can see action happening on these impediments (this can be resolution, or a discussion about how an impediment is not actually so, and so on).

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