Posted by: Rajesh Kanaparti | March 16, 2008

How scrum master track the progress of the team?

So the day has come, you are going to scrum with your team? Are you anxious, well don’t be. It’s a very casual meeting where every one can stand/sit in a fashion where every one can see every one in the team.

Every one has to answer the following three questions? Although the questions seem to be simple. See how they effect the progress of the team, team dynamics and concentrate on the items that needs to be done without side tracking.

1. What did you do yesterday?

Every one has to start by answering what they have done yesterday. This will not only help the scrum master to see the status of the work completed but also will know if there is no impediments. If there are any the team member is going to mention that in his answer to the third question.

It helps them not to work on items that are not in sprint backlog or get side tracked

Also some times, the team members some times has the tendency to side track and work on other items that are not related without completing the items they agreed to. But amazingly there mind tells them that they have to answer this question tomorrow, so helps them to concentrate on the item they have agreed to work on.

Helps the team use there time effectively.

You might have seen this with a developer in your team. He thought that he will take a week to complete a task. But he was able to do it in 2 days. When he is done because he has time he might have took an item that is of his interest which might not be in the priority list. This question can help the scrum master to use the team effectively. If the status of an item is done, the team members are allowed to take next time in the sprint backlog. That way every ones time is used effectively.

Team Dynamics

Very often, the items in the sprint backlog might depend on each other. So if the team members is not able to complete an item, it can be an impediment to some one else. This gives the team a pressure to act responsibly, productively. Very how much like how we act to be social.

Bottom line the scrum master will know the status if the item is completed or in progress and if the work can be completed in the estimated time. Scrum master can see immediately how this answer might effect the burn down rate.

If there are too many items in progress, then the scrum master might direct the team to complete the items in progress first rather than taking new items.

Now the second question?

2. What are you going to do today?

Depending on the first question’s answer, the team is going to continue to work on the item that is not completed from yesterday or the team member is going to commit to work on items that he thinks can complete them today. Depending on the estimates, the team member can pick items. Scrum master can help them to pick the items or suggest them to take enough work that can be completed.

This heps the team members tell briefly on the item that they are going to work briefly. Can be continuing his work on the item that he started yesterday or can be a new item.

Gives the team relativity on items that might be dependent either architecturally or some times bring up new requirements or impediments or might effect some other items that other team members are working. Overall it gives the team a sense of relativity.

This also allows the scrum master to prioritize/ order the items in a fashion that way the items wont be in progress for a long time which are generally the signs of delays in delivering the project.

3. Anything blocking or going to block there progress

This is where impediments if any are mentioned in the team that is effecting there progress. Typically they can be either technological issues or some time clarity of requirements that the product owner/ management team need to resolve.

The scrum master need to prioritize and get this impediments fixed. So the scrum team expect the management to resolve burn down the impediment list.

Another type of impediment can be technological issues. Generally team members will most probably be able to resolve the issues in time. But some time it make sense to bring in the external resources to either train the team or can resolve this issues.

A very simple relationship is impediments lessens the productivity.

Overall simple questions and simple answers, but the effects are complex and can help the team to concentrate, be productive and at the same time help scrum master to track the progress of the team and helps the team to be successful by directing them in the right direction and aid the team in removing impediments if any.

In the next post, lets see how the scrum master is going to track the progress and present them to Sr.Management.You guessed it right? “Show me the numbers”, stuff the Sr.Management wants to see and can interpret and make strategic decisions.

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