The Built-in Issue-Identification Mechanism in Scrum
15 May 2014
Scrum has a built-in issue-identification mechanism, which will help identify any problematic issues early. This then minimizes rework. This mechanism helps in identifying issues that come after sprint planning -- i.e., during the sprint execution stage. This mechanism is nothing more than the Scrum ceremonies. If conducted effectively, they can help you pinpoint any problems at an early stage, which may affect the sprint.
Daily stand-up: This is the first stage where all the issues that are affecting the sprint have to be identified. This is the most ideal stage to uncover problems, as the rework or damage due to them is minimal. Also, we still have enough time to resolve them. If the teams are able to do this, then they are a great Scrum team and are in very good shape.
Sprint review/demo: This is the second stage after the daily stand-up where all the issues should be identified/uncovered. This is not the ideal time, however, as issues that were not detected in Stage 1 may affect the outcome of the current sprint. Detecting the issues at this stage is nonetheless important because sometimes what is found during the sprint review can affect future sprints.
Sprint retrospection: All the issues that were not detected in the previous stages must be identified in this stage, along with an action plan to prevent their recurrence. Detecting issues even in this stage is not a bad thing, as we still have an option to improve in future sprints. Due importance has to be given to this.
If any issues pass through all the three stages undetected, then it means that the team is not following Scrum in the true sense, but just doing the Scrum ceremonies as a formality or a ritual.
For the coaches/stakeholders, this can be one of the key dimensions by which to evaluate the teams. They should work toward strengthening this built-in issue-identification mechanism to get the desired result of implementing Scrum properly.
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