Every morning you look at your to-do list and create a game plan for that day. Let’s say you have five things you want to get done. What’s the chances one of those things will have a roadblock? Maybe you even foresee the road block but haven’t figured out how to get around it yet. How helpful would it be to have a quick conversation with your team at that moment? How awesome would it be if you could quickly tap their insight to find a work around or solution? Not only would it save you time, but everyone on your team would know what you are working on and can plan their to-do list more efficiently as well.
Our software engineering team at Geonetric has formal training in Scrum and we’ve been practicing it for nearly five years. Over that time, we’ve developed our own spin on Scrum to make it work especially well for our team. And during our daily stand-ups it became apparent how handy it would be to know everyone’s confidence that the work would be completed by the end of the sprint. And how useful it would be to hear roadblocks ahead of time, when there is still plenty of time to remedy the situation.
As a Scrum Master, I searched the Internet and the Agile society world to see if anything like this existed. I didn’t find anything. Are we even allowed to do this at our stand-up each day? This wasn’t one of the three questions Scrum taught us to live by each day at stand-up.
Regardless of whether or not it fit into formal Scrum processes, we developed our own “Sprint Confidence Rating Scale.” It serves as a daily measure of how confident our Scrum team is that we will finish the work we committed to do by the end of the sprint (and more importantly, our release).
And what has it taught us? That one little question can tell your team a lot. So for those of you that also practice Scrum, I encourage you to take a minute at the end of your stand-up to learn about where the team currently stands. You might be surprised to hear the feedback. But it’s better to know earlier than later, when it becomes harder to work around an issue.
Did we break Scrum? I don’t think so. But it makes sense for us to ask that question each day, so why not ask it?