Meetings like the daily stand-up or retrospectives are moments that rhythm the journey of Scrum and Agile teams. Sometimes these meetings are almost religiously considered as rituals or ceremonies that bound participants together and that nobody could miss. Is this true? In his book Forming Agile Teams Workbook, Jesus Mendez discusses if the participation to Scrum meetings is mandatory.
I’ve learned by failing, that participation at meetings should be optional. A way to keep it optional, to create habits and empower the team to own their activities is to avoid forcing them to come. I know that what I’m saying here seems to go against the purpose of team collaboration, but this is where trust comes to the forefront; I trust you. So here is my suggestion: Let them go!
How to do it?
- Avoid forcing them to come to their own meetings, instead take notes and please stick to the meeting agenda with the people that are there. Take notes to see if there are patterns with team members.
- Once they show up, please avoid saying annoying phrases, like “Finally here”. Instead welcome them and please smile.
- Keep a check on the emotions that you experience, once people arrive late, or don’t show up at all to meetings that you are facilitating. It could help you grow your self-awareness.
- Make meetings more fun by creating a safe atmosphere where people can do almost whatever they want. Don’t be negative; this will work.
- If your patterns are confirmed, validate your perceptions with the team and once confirmed by the team, use facts to confront the person individually in an exploratory one-to-one conversation, where you would share what you have observed in the field and how that’s impacting the team’s progress.
- If one-to-one doesn’t work, then be courageous and bring the point up for discussion at the next iteration retrospective, and invite the team to share how the lack of participation is impacting team’s progression.
Source: Forming Agile Teams Workbook, Jesus Mendez, http://www.jesusmendez.ca/books/forming_agile_teams/
Other interesting resources on participation and participants to Scrum meetings
This blog post answer the question about who should attend the various Scrum meetings: sprint planning, daily scrums, sprint review, sprint retrospective, and product backlog grooming.
As a Scrum Master, Paddy Corry often hears people telling that participation in the Scrum Events is mandatory. But is that really true? Or is that really a good idea? As a Scrum Master, is it constructive to suggest that all members of a Scrum Team should always attend all events?
The myth is that a Scrum Master should always be present during the Daily Scrum. In some teams, the Scrum Master is expected to facilitate the Daily Scrum, while other teams feel that the Scrum Master should be present to pick up impediments that he or she needs to solve. Either way; presence is required.