OOPS - Not a single Scrum Master!!!

3 teams, 9 participants 
Developers, Tester, Product Owners, Agile Coach, Business Owner, Stakeholder



10 questions from Agile Manifesto, Scrum, Scaling methodologies, Product-Led growth, where people could choose one or many options from predefined ABCD options. The team earned one point for correct combination, negative point for incorrect one, and no point if the team decided to rather not guess. 

Match Agilist

2 scenarios where people should match the answers from known Agilists. For each correct match, the team earned one point. One of our "agilists persona" is Ms. Corprat, the most distant agile one. The team which would match her answer incorrectly would lose all of earned points, would be "executed," and would be given a "shot" :)

The good thing is that all teams guessed her answer right, and everybody came from this round alive :)

Discussion, feedback & next steps

The topic we talked about was

"You are a Scrum Master. The part-time, shared team members (e.g., DevOps, designer) are not joining the team events. What would you do?"

Since we were a small group, we tried the experiment to specify the scenario more. Closest we got was

"You are a Scrum Master. DevOps/designer who has work planned in the product backlog of your team is shared across multiple teams, contributing to the multiple product backlogs. They are not joining your team dailies, sprint plannings, or backlog refinements. The team expects them to participate since the team depends on their increment. They are invited and accepted the whole occurrence but not joining at all. When I reached out to them, they told me they were busy, with too many expectations and priorities all over the place. You know from your Product Owner that you have the deadline for the XY delivery, and you need their help. What is the next step to help to address this?".

Despite the fact we did this experiment to be very specific about the scenario, we were not able to come up with specific action items since it would be still not clear enough, and the group got worried that we'd spent too much time on specifying it over discussing the specific action items.

We proved that the experiment of defining a particular scenario with the group on such an event doesn't work.

The group concluded that whatever scenario specification it is, the first thing to happen is to get clarification about true root cause behind shared / part-time team members not joining team events. GPT, Mike Cohn, and Jon Kern has the same thinking. 

We used the momentum and small group to collect thoughts on effectively running the discussion for the next event. Ideas the group shared were
A) dedicate each table to a different topic, where people can join and participate based on their preference. Anyone can join or leave at any time. And the discussion would be time-boxed, then the outcome would be shared with the rest of the group. The risk for organizers to consider is the possibility of missing a natural leader in the group, resulting in circled conversations without an outcome.
B) let each team devise a list of activities to address the described problem and present it to everyone, where organizers will list them all. Then to time-box the discussion. The risk for organizers to consider is that some participants might need help sharing their opinion with a bigger group, especially if there are vocal individuals. Another risk is that the time-boxed discussion remains open due to the topic being too vast.

Another feedback we got was that it's hard for the group to match the answers with agilists since agilists' bio needs to provide more information where people can compare the answers with a high confidence level.

The following format organisers lean toward is to change the round "Match agilist" to "Find the most distant agilist", where teams should find the answer that doesn't "checks" agile values and principles. Organisers will present why they think so, let the group discuss if everyone agrees, and then give time to teams to come up with additional action items on how to address the problem described, similarly as introduced by option B) above.

One of our participants opened the forum to provide his view on the latest event. You can contribute with your additional thoughts in comment section HERE.

If you can think of any specific activities which can be done for our discussed scenario "You are a Scrum Master. Your team consists of introverts not participating in the meetings actively. What would you do?", we'd be very happy to hear your thoughts HERE.

We appreciate all of the contribution from the community, and looking forward how we'll progress. 

You can register for the next quiz here