How effective are your Scrum Events if you can’t even book a room?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a poll on LinkedIn with the question.

Is your Scrum team comfortable with doing all the Scrum events remotely? 153 people voted, which is obviously not a lot from a statistics standpoint, but the pattern is interesting. 82% of the people voted yes.

Comfortable?

In the comment section, some people already pointed out my word choice. Comfortable, not effective, efficient, good, marvellous, but comfortable. The reason why I deliberately chose this word is that I wasn’t aiming for the best solution. No, in fact, what you will be reading today isn’t a good, nor is it a complimentary Scrum practice. Perhaps it’s even a bad idea. I’m simply sharing a “way of working” that one of my teams is experimenting with at the moment to address an annoying issue that, I’m pretty sure, we all have experienced before. This ‘way of working’ seems to be working for them, so keep an open mind, and perhaps this blog will inspire your teams.

So what’s this annoying issue?

Booking a meeting room! In my 18 years of a career, I still had not worked in a company before where booking a meeting room wasn’t an issue, dare I say a nightmare! Resources and tools exist to support, not dictate. I often see that the lack of meeting rooms can potentially constrain a Scrum team’s way of working. There must be another way!

COVID-19 has altered our perspective of working remotely

It’s without a doubt that COVID-19 has changed our view of working remotely.

  • Pre-COVID-19: working from home for an extended period was, for most organisations, unthinkable.
  • During-COVID-19: many organisations and teams were forced to find creative ways to keep their business going. Was it easy, efficient and effective? Definitely not; it was doable. The fact that there was no alternative helped, of course.
  • Post-COVID-19: Countries are carefully opening up, and many organisations are slowly figuring out how to get back to how they used to be.

Back to the office

One of my teams has gone through the “pre-during-post” COVID-19 phase, and they are back in the office with a twist. As a team, they agreed on the following:

  • Working from the office improves team dynamics, communication, bonding, etc.
  • Daily Scrum is held in the office (team area) in front of a physical board to visualise their Sprint Backlog.
  • However, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective are held digitally. Like the majority of the people who voted yes on my poll, this team felt comfortable doing the above mentioned Scrum events remotely.

So again, to the question: This way of working, are things going effective, efficient, good, marvellous? Not always, but more importantly, is that we’re always open to inspecting and adapting our processes as we go along. One thing is for sure. They are back in the office, working together in-person and their “booking a room” problem is history.

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