Having a Ball – Variant 1 : Outside Obstacles

V1 – Outside Obstacles

Sometime after the start of the second or third iteration, spring this little trick on the team that is doing the best. While the balls are in motion, wander into the middle of their communication pathway and say something like, “Hey! Are you guys doing Scrum? I’ve heard about this! Is this one of those stand-up meetings?”

Origin: Just before calling for the iteration to begin, Jack arranged to have someone call his cell phone. The team was entirely focused on using their newest throwing pattern to improve their performance, when the phone started ringing, and Jack, phone pressed against his ear, absent-mindedly wandered right into the middle of the circle, having a ‘conversation’ about how wonderful the session was going. The members of the team were trying to figure out how to keep the balls in motion with this obvious obstacle standing in line of sight to their ball recipient. And to make matters worse, he was a moving target, turning, walking and talking in the middle of the circle while the team tried to do their work.  It was brilliant!

Reality Check: How many times has a well-wisher wandered into the middle of your Daily Scrum? Get used to it. If you are an early adopter of agile, as news of your experiment in agility spreads, so will the curiosity about how you are doing it. It could be as simple as that, or as complicated as someone breaching protocol and calling team members directly, breaking their flow. It’s an illustration of an all-too-real situation.  This gives you a chance to reinforce with the team that they should only accept work from the Product Owner

Author: Michael Marchi

Michael Marchi CSM, CSPO, SA4 Co-Founder and Board Member @ APLN Chicago (michael.marchi@aplnchicago.org) Manager, Management Consulting / Chicago Agile Practice Lead / Agile Coach & Trainer @ Strive Consulting (mmarchi@striveconsulting.com)