The 5 Indispensable Scrum Tools To Work Smarter, Not Harder.

Labor Day signifies different things to many of us. To some, it marks the end of those lingering dog days or the last chance to lounge over an extended weekend. To others, it means time to purchase new #2 pencils and pack up our backpacks. To us at 3Back, Labor Day means a time to pause and honor the contributions and achievements of the American workforce. And what better way to pay tribute to these efforts than provide some Agile insight for Teams everywhere. We present to you our Labor Day List: The 5 Indispensable Scrum Tools To Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder.

3Back_TBT-Work Smarter-Not-Harder

1. Use Feedback Loops To Reduce Duplicated Work.

Scrum is all about the feedback. Built on a foundation of continual feedback loops, the Scrum Framework (Product Review, Progress Assessment, Team Retrospective, Daily Scrum, and Sprint Planning) gives Teams the Practices it needs to foster and manage this feedback. The upshot of all of this feedback? No sneaking suspicion that someone else on the team might be doing something very similar to what you’re doing. No concern that you’re wasting your time on a task that has already been done. With all this built-in feedback, there is little to no duplication of work efforts. Work is transparent and streamlined, with the added bonus that your Team is better guided towards producing Results that are correct and useful.

2. Timebox Meetings To Eliminate Meetings Upon Meetings.

We’ve all been in those meetings. The ones that never make any progress, never, ever end, and are followed up by another meeting to cover what should have been covered in the last meeting. Ugh. By timeboxing meetings, Scrum, ever so gracefully and efficiently, kicks those types of experiences to the curb. Through allotting a specific, agreed upon amount of time for discussion, the Team is not only focused but poised to move projects in the right direction. Meetings magically become shorter and, well, productive. Guess what happens when you don’t spend all your time in a meeting? You get your work done. Faster and better.

3. Swarm To Get The Job Done.

When it comes to Teamwork, Swarming gives you the biggest bang for your Scrum buck; the synergy that comes from people working together on the same project rather than through a series of handoffs can be strong stuff. Depending on your Team, Swarming can take different forms, each delivering its own benefits.

  • Pair Programming
    One of the 12 Extreme Programming (XP) Agile framework principles, Pair Programming partners two people to work on the same task on a single computer with the goal of improved development of high-quality products. Pair Programming is all about decreasing errors.
  • Three People at a Whiteboard
    Three heads are indeed better than one. It’s no wonder this swarming technique is regarded as “the most powerful tool in engineering.” Invest in some dry erase markers and get ready to generate cleaner designs and seamless implementation.
  • Team at a Table
    Team at a Table enables, if not forces, collaboration. This Team dynamic helps fosters Scrum’s sense of shared responsibility. What else do you get with this Team Swarm approach? Better communication, better clarification of the task at hand, and better follow-through and understanding of the solution.

4. Make Organizational Noise Quiet As A Mouse.

Organizations that are married to procedures, have meetings to have meetings, and encourage constant interruptions are noisy environments. That noise is distracting and devastating, affecting effort by disrupting focus, taking a Team’s eyes away from the prize and, worse yet, destroying Team morale. Under the guidance and protection of the ScrumMaster, the Scrum framework inherently empowers and nurtures Teams; helping them to self-organize and be self-contained and value-driven. Scrum Teams in quiet organizations are well-formed and, when all’s said and done, happier.

5. Build What The Customer Really Wants, Guaranteed.

There are few things worse than delivering a product that you thought (well, let’s be clear, it’s actually more like assumed) the customer wanted, only to find out after it’s all said and done that somewhere along the way requirements changed, unbeknownst to you. Scrum rules out this option. The built-in, rapid feedback between PO, Team, and Stakeholder that Scrum ensures means you build features that matter to your customer. And, when you get down to it, that’s all that really matters.

Put A Little Scrum Into The End Of Your Summer

And you may find yourself working smarter, rather than harder as you enter this fall.

Want to become an expert on
working even smarter?

We’ve got training for that.

As Always. Stay Agile.