Next Sprint…

A new sprint has started, with a better duration (30 days, as recommended) and with proper resource allocation. We did Sprint Planning I today and the team has committed (on their own) to a Sprint Backlog that they feel they can accomplish. Had good Product Owner involvement again which seemed to help alot. Sprint Planning II went quite well as well and lasted about 2 hours, the team has laid out the tasks they must perform and are now ready to proceed with the sprint. All in all I think today was a success, the team feels so too, they appear a lot happier anyway.

Some interesting things I noticed today:

  • As much as you read how good empowering people is, it’s a totally different experience to see it in action. The general morale of people seems to be up and everyone appears a whole lot more relaxed and open, communicating freely with one another.
  • The previous scrum, during sprint planning 1, I made the mistake of being the person that physically moved stories from the product backlog to the sprint backlog (based on team commitment). It’s amazing how much different the attitude of the team was when I said that one of them had to move it, suddenly people seemed to take the commitment far more seriously. Funny how a small thing like that can have such a massive result. I think I now understand why the TEAM must update the board and no-one else.
  • Our Product Owner tried to introduce a story into the top of the Product Backlog that there was no detail for, saying that the detail would only be available 3 days before the END of the sprint, before I could step in to say that this was bad, and should probably be moved to a follow up sprint, the team members themselves raised the objection! This was pretty amazing for me to see the team defending themselves as a team, if it were 2 months earlier people would have just sat there quietly and accepted their fate.


As predicted an item was removed from the sprint backlog and then added a day later. I guess this is a symptom of bad planning and lack of vision by the Product Owner(s)? Or the fact that they don’t communicate between themselves? I’ve tried to explain to the BA (whose acting as a voice for this “Product Owner Committee”) that it’s important that we get one message from them, and that they are reasonably sure of what they want, or is it? Not sure because is change not what this whole thing is about? Anyway, the team took it in stride and we sat down to rethink the sprint, they all agreed that it was still do-able (they’re becoming good at self organizing I have to admit) and we re-introduced the work. Additional work was added to the Sprint Backlog which I don’t believe is a good idea but was unavoidable, a requirement that was omitted for this sprint. The only condition I set on this was that the team as a whole accept it and believe it is do-able, if not it does not go in. It’s not the easiest job being a ScrumMaster I must admit, but I think I’m making some headway, and even though things aren’t working strictly “by the book”, they seem to be working nevertheless.