Agile, Scaled Agile and lots of meetings
For new setups there is this common pitfall about scheduling too many meetings in the first days of the sprint. Also block the end of the sprint with a number of meetings (ceremonies, I call them meetings).
Especially for new teams introduced or a lot of different team that need to align the product vision, this is quite challenging as it requires quite a lot of interactions. And where you have limited experience in implementing this framework, you end up with quite an inefficient use of time.
There are a number of things that are based on common sense and where you don’t really need a formal guidance:
- Encouraging team members to take care of simple tasks and issues outside of scheduled meetings
- Using tools such as task boards and project management software to track progress and communicate updates
- Identifying and eliminate unnecessary meetings, or consolidating multiple meetings into a single session
- Defining clear objectives and agendas for each meeting, and ensuring that all attendees are prepared and focused
- Ending meetings on time, and avoiding the temptation to “just keep talking”
- Make sure you “refine” the required attendees before so that only the people that are really needed take part of the meeting
Usually the framework works when you have experienced Scrum Masters, experienced PO — where they really understand the product vision, they understand what is being built, there is a technical background for both in order to keep developers on track when technical things are being discussed.
When you have resources with limited experience is it a challenge to drive everyone towards the same goal and align the product vision.
And when you see that first 2–3 days of the sprint and the last 2–3 days of the sprint are filled with meeting, with internal demos before the actual demo, with PI planning sessions split into multiple meetings, that is a red flag that something does not work at all as it should and it should be addressed.
There is no magic recipe on how to solve every challenges that occurs, but there are step by step actions that can be taken. As an overall guideline, it works better when teams are driven by skilled and experienced Scrum Masters and Product Owners, rather than assuming that these roles can be filled by non-technical resources that do have some experience and a certification gained online.