For the past few years nearly every project that I've been involved with has run a Scrum-like meeting. I say Scrum-like rather than Scrum because none of these projects have had a certified Scrum-master... and I don't want to weaken my argument for the rest of this article on a mere technicality Anyway, regardless of the Scrum'ness of the meetings, we do stick to those well known 3 questions that are associated with Scrum meetings:
- What have you done since the last meeting?
- What is impeding your work?
- What do you plan to do between now and the next meeting?
The idea of the Scrum meeting is that you get in, ask your questions, and get out. Very robotic and very focused.
In nearly all projects I've noticed a gradual decline in the level of interest that the team has for these meetings as time progresses and I think that it has something to do with the low level nature of the information that is exchanged during these meetings. They've tended to be very task-oriented. For example:
- I'm going to put black borders on the buttons
- Write the validation logic for the forms
- Speak with the customer about how to do blah
It seems to me that the repetitive, constant, daily grind of reeling off facts breeds apathy for the process and before long these Scrum meetings become "yet another meeting". When this happens I find that teams simply go through the motions and become less agile in their thinking about raising important issues or giving you information that could change and assist the process. So how do you change it so that you get the goodness that the Scrum meeting is designed to deliver while getting good information from your team about how things are going and what needs to be done?
Up until this week I've been running daily SCRUM's in the Dev Centre but as of this morning I've decided to change it so that the weekly meetings will look more like this:
- Monday morning creativity meeting. Tell us your goals, dreams, and vision for what you are going to achieve this week.
- Tuesday to Thursday. Either send a typical SCRUM meeting email or I'll call you on an ad-hoc basis to "kick the tyres".
- Friday afternoon "beer-o-clock" session. 2 questions... Tell us what you achieved for the week and tell us what thing you would improve about the Dev Centre if you could improve any one thing at all.
Having meetings that are structured in this way will allow senior, responsible developers to become a little more self-managing and hopefully introduce enough creativity to produce a more creative culture.
Bottom line... take the blinkers off of your team. The opportunity to gather should be a learning experience. Use those precious moments together to learn from each other as to how you can improve... who knows, maybe you'll end up with a better culture because of it!