In this blog, we are going to cover how we can ensure best practices stick from the stance of a Scrum Master/Agile Delivery Lead and how these best practices help to deliver value to the customer more efficiently.
As Product Delivery consultants, we want to ensure that our teams continue to work in an Agile way after we depart. This means that we need to do the best job of coaching, teaching, and mentoring best practices when it comes to working in software delivery. This can be in relation to the product, ways of working, engineering best practices, and more.
The issue we saw
We joined a Product Delivery Team for an already established product and found something that we see quite often: that the Show and Tells (aka Sprint Reviews) were only getting attendees that were very close to the development team – we didn’t have the right audience for the squad. For example, we had no real users of the service/tool; we had no one from legal; or our key stakeholders/sponsors. We were missing their representation in these critical fortnightly meetings where we demonstrated the value that we had delivered in the previous sprint and looked for valuable feedback.
How could we improve this?
Our product required an improvement to the attendees to our Show and Tells, after all, this event is for inspection and adaptation! The main ways in which we did this:
Held a roadshow, platforming our product.
We went to each group of stakeholders, showcasing the product development efforts and our approach. Our aim was not only to get the word out but also find individuals within our stakeholder groups that were going to be active and willing participants to our development efforts! With the increase of incremental feedback from our stakeholders it meant that we could remain on track for delivering the desired product.
We decided to do a recruitment drive for participants through a ‘Roadshow.’ The intention of the roadshow was to tell everyone the journey we had been on so far and the current state of the product, thus requesting feedback to ensure delivery remained on track but with all the proper governance to go with it, ensuring we are not cutting any corners. We sent out invites to over 300 individuals across the organisation and we had 116 people turn up to the roadshow which was a great success in our eyes. We also extended the invite out to our fortnightly Show and Tells with the audience going from 15 up to an average of about 35.
The important bits:
Through this we found the stakeholders who were keen participants and made sure to bring them on board for our activities where their feedback and input were most valuable – our Show and Tells.
Well-prepared Show and Tells
The real value here was the preparation for the actual ceremony. A separate session was put in the calendar post stand-up to prepare for the running order putting the most valuable thing at the front-end of the session, allowing plenty of time for questions and feedback.
With the right people in the meetings, we made sure it was as high-quality as possible:
Ensure we constantly improved
The effects this had
How did this make Agile ‘stick’?
By taking these steps, we were able to improve our Show and Tells, our ways of working, and our communication with stakeholders. This helped to ensure that our agile approach stuck, even after we departed the project. The evidence in this situation suggests that by having more participants in the Show and Tells, and the right people, we can continually get feedback on what we are building, and people have the opportunity to make suggestions to the roadmap too. A positive effect for the squad too was that we spent less ad-hoc meetings speaking with these participants as they all had a chance to have an input at the Show and Tells creating more time for people to do ‘actual work’.
Here are some additional tips for ensuring that your Agile approach sticks:
By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your Agile approach sticks and delivers value to your customers.