Sunday, August 10, 2008

Importance of Scrum Meeting and Kaizen Line stoppages

Many a times Scrum meetings starts becoming boring and if you are one of them, who feel Scrum meetings look like micro management or merely a status update meeting, then this article might give you an insight into why you have such bad feelings about scrum meetings.

Scrum meetings are the backbone of any Scrum lifecycle. It is conducted on a daily basis, and the team members/product owners(as needed) and Scrum masters are expected to be part of this meeting.

I am not going to explain all the details about how to conduct the Scrum meeting but at a high level, 3 questions are answered,

  • what I did yesterday,
  • what I would be doing today and
  • the roadblocks in achieving ones goal.

image copy right

Many a times Scrum meetings are converted to a status update meeting. However the intention of adding Scrum meeting to the Scrum Lifecycle seems to be to
1. Make the people to commit their goals in public. Psychologically, this would ensure that people would try to keep their word. This is done with the first and second question used in the Scrum meeting.
2. Impediments/roadblocks are brought to the forefront on a regular basis. This is brought out by answering the 3rd question in Scrum meeting.

The 2nd intention(impediments/roadblocks) mentioned above seems to be taken from the Lean/Toyota Production systems's Line stoppage concept. The idea is that a problem should be addressed and discussed as it occurs, rather than sweeping it under the rug to be forgotten. During these line stoppages all the employees and senior management would take part to understand the problem, brainstorm on the solution and, team effort is used to address the problem.

The problems that Kaizen line stoppages seek to eliminate are extremely costly to the company and ultimately grow worse as they move down the line to your final customers. By being proactive and seeking to eliminate the problem at the source, you're avoiding a lot of costs and headaches in the future. In addition, your employees will appreciate the process, as their input is being taken into account and their opinion is being listened to.

In Scrum, the question around "roadblocks" provides an opportunity to bring the issues to the forefront providing an opportunity to tackle it proactively.

If the values behind Scrum meetings are not understood properly, it merely reduces to a status update meeting, making it boring and people resisting to attend the meetings.

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