Jean doesn’t like Mondays
Posted by Christophe on October 7, 2007
Agile2007 is already past by 2 months. Time to make use of those notes!
This first post on A07 is about dysfunctional meetings.
Jean Tabaka reminded us that they are lots of ceremonies in scrum: iteration planning meeting, daily scrum, demo, retrospective, and then more as needed. All of have a purpose, and, well run, will be the backbone of success for the team.
Though, meetings are often not effective. Here’s Jean top 10 common meeting dysfunctions:
- Meetings are repetitive, they are all the same
- The same people do all the talking
- Subjects are beaten to death, again and again
- We come to decisions just to get out of the meeting
- I don’t have time to code because I am in too many meetings
- We have too many people in our meetings
- We have too few people in our meetings
- With the constant stream of meetings, we are treated like machinery
- Our demos and reviews never really bring about any thing new
- All the decisions were made outside the meeting anyway; we just
have the meeting to be told what we are doing and to agree
If you suffer from several meeting dysfunctions, then meetings are not serving the team, then the team is dysfunctional (see the five dysfunctions of a team).
So Jean reminds us of the important roles of the ScrumMaster as a facilitator:
- Guides team through the groan zone of a meeting
- Asks questions, doesn’t teach
- Leads by serving, serves by leading
- Separates expertise and facilitation work
- Believes in the wisdom of the team and the “art of the possible”
In my mind, dysfunctional meetings are often a sign of an untrained ScrumMaster in facilitation techniques. Jean gives us organizing tools for effective meetings:
- Purpose and Agenda
- Personal Objectives
- Ground Rules – What agreements help our team meet its goals?
- Parking lot – What topics should be held if they don’t help us meet the Purpose of the workshop?
- Action Plan—who will follow-up and when
- Decision Board—what decisions need to be maintained
- Communication Plan, Resources
- Definition of Consensus – how do we make decisions
- Red cards – give red cards to all participants. Red cards can be raised by anyone when they feel the discussion is going off track
- Individual time box – example 3 minutes per person
- Stand-up – it takes 30% less time to come to the same decision standing rather than sitting
- Prioritized backlogs – get Product Owners manage their backlog conflicts outside the iteration planning
And, oh, BTW, avoid iteration demos / planning meetings on Mondays. Jean doesn’t like Mondays. There is a big chance your team either.
Update: The video is now available on InfoQ.