Scrum : Ceremonies

The ceremonials are organized events to foster a team spirit between the actors and to rhythm the iterations.

Iteration /Sprint Planning

  • The PO and Agile Lead will use Agile tool (VSTS) and screen-sharing to display the vision, sprint goal, user story, the estimates the team provided, and the acceptance conditions for the user story.
  • Reviewing changes based on stakeholder & end-user feedback: The team would review changes made since the preplanning meeting, and the PO would confirm the priorities of the product backlog in Agile tool; which can accessible to agile team members.
  • Collaboratively team member’s pull’s the highest-priority items from product backlog, based current team velocity for iteration to create iteration backlog.
  • The PO gives the team time to think about the tasks needed to complete the work items during the iteration planning meeting. Teams run planning meeting discussion among all the stakeholders to get maximum clarity on the tasks.
  • Gaining commitment: With a distributed team, team members who are sensing that other team members have unspoken issues need to take responsibility for drawing the Agile team attention to the issues.
  • All team members discuss the tasks because it helps with communication for distributed and scaled teams and provides opportunities to find better ways of completing the user stories. Silence on a teleconference is not a commitment.

Daily Standup

  • The Agile Lead facilitates the Daily meetings, ensures to get the team and product owner together, The objective is each team member answers below three questions:
    • What I’ve done since the last Daily meeting ?
    • What I plan to do before the next Daily meeting ?
    • What issues I know of that require assistance from someone else to resolve ?
  • The product owner is required initial daily meetings later on weekly at-least once PO joins this meeting or whenever Agile Lead request PO presence to answers queries from the team members.
  • In a distributed environment, as individuals come into the call, they will identify who they are. The Agile Lead calls each person and asks for their response. They may respond in the order they arrived at the teleconference or the Agile lead may choose to call on each person.
    • Taking daily meeting notes, to help the distributed team members overcome language problems, plan, and learn. IM tools and Wiki help distributed teams do daily meetings.
  • Priorities can change daily. The daily meeting provides a daily synchronization point for the team and allows members to revise their plans regularly.
  • Resolving impediments: The Agile Lead should create a list of impediments and assign them to team members or managers or stakeholders. This impediments tracker to be maintained by Agile lead for every release.
  • Daily Meeting logistics – ways of communicating during the daily meeting: Having face-to-face daily meetings gives the team the highest level of collaboration possible.
    • Teleconference meeting: Distributed teams with overlapping work hours should use a teleconference call to the same phone number every day to hold their daily Scrum meetings.
    • Video-conference meeting: The main advantage of this approach is that team members get to see one another, so there is less nonverbal communication loss.

Iteration reviews / demos

  • Distributed teams should test their tools ahead of time to be sure the distributed meeting will run smoothly, without network poor performance. The team can also consider making the recordings available for download before the demonstration meeting and discussing them through a teleconference.
  • Make sure all team members of the distributed team, regardless of the time zone, can complete their work and prepare for the demo within overlapping work hours.
  • Plan your demo in advance. Write down the steps you are going to use, and try them out. Make sure the demo is going to work as expected.
  • Capture these comments so the product owner and the distributed team can decide which ones they will act on.

Retrospective meeting

  • To be effective and timely, distributed teams should call joint retrospectives as soon as possible after having their own team meeting.
  • The Agile lead needs to develop a sense of trust and honesty within the team, which in turn will lead to a wider degree of openness.
  • The Agile lead needs to understand how different cultures interact when they want to change something or have issues they want to talk about that can help the facilitator encourage participation from all team members.
  • The facilitator, for distributed teams, should talk to the team ahead of the first retrospective and explain the expectations for the retrospective. Ask the team to come with individual points for (1) “what went well” and (2) “what can we improve”
  • In the meeting, ask each team member for comments about issues or problems they noticed since the previous iteration retrospective and summarize them for team discussion.
  • The results from the meeting is still an action plan and a list of behaviors the team needs to change or continue in the period until the next retrospective.

Product backlog refinement

  • When a team is distributed, locations can become constituencies that need to be involved to ensure that the grooming session attains the goal of making sure the stories are understood. This is an argument for whole team grooming sessions so that no location feels left out.
  • Agile Lead should ensure to use tools such as skype for screen-sharing and video based meetings; And must make sure the story and the acceptance criteria are easily readable by all team members in different locations.

Note: The Product Owner need to ensure on regular sync-ups with sponsor(s) using best possible channels to make sponsor(s) & Key stakeholders understand the project overview with risk and impact analysis.


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