Scrum can be a complex subject and can be best deciphered through discussion. The following Scrum discussion questions are designed to help you and your team more efficiently implement Scrum into your project development.
The goal of these questions is to flesh out the pain points of your Scrum team, and to further their understanding of the concepts. We recommend reading and discussing these questions in 20-minute sessions. Remember to manage your team’s energy and shift your focus back to other things. Take this one bite at a time.
The questions are broken into the following topics:
- Scrum is for solving complex problems. What makes something complex? How can Scrum help us deal with complexity?
- Scrum includes a social agreement to be empirical as a team. What do you think an empirical agreement is?
- The notions of Accountability and Responsibility are important in Scrum. What do you think the differences are?
- How do you define a stakeholder? Do they form the context in which the team exists? Who are our stakeholders?
- Why does Scrum emphasize fixed-length iterations? How does that help our workflow?
- Why are our sprints __ weeks long? How does this impact our productivity and organization?
- Vision provides focus and roadmaps provide guidance. What’s the distinction between these concepts? Is it a useful distinction?
- What are the basic responsibilities of the Scrum Team?
- How much time should the Product Owner spend with the Scrum Team?
- How much time should the ScrumMaster spend with the Scrum Team?
- How does the Product Owner determine what will please the stakeholders? How do they help the stakeholders explore what they want in a product? Which do you prefer: Interactive models or large surveys?
- What happens when the Product Owner does not have a direction for the team? Why is it important to have a clear direction from the Product Owner?
- In general, how quickly will the Product Owner want something done? Has this been a reasonable amount of time for us to get work done?
- What happens when the Product Owner has undue influence over the team? Who would help detect and prevent that?
- How much time should the ScrumMaster spend with the Team?
- What are the interactions between the Product Owner and ScrumMaster like?
- How does the ScrumMaster remove the Team’s Impediments?
- The Development Team is the subset of the Scrum Team that is actually developing or building stuff. Who belongs on this Team?
- Why is it important that each team member be accountable to the rest of the team? What happens when they are not?
- How are the Team, Product Owner, and ScrumMaster each held accountable?
- What is the difference between a team that is self-directed and self-organizing?
- Teams swarm on items. Why is it not more organized? Is team swarm a sign of disorganized energy that can be better directed?
- How does our team swarm on ideas? How does this “disorder” generate energy and ideas?
- Is the product backlog a prioritized list? Should it be?
- What does the word backlog mean to you? If it is in the backlog, does that mean we are supposed to do it?
- There are two lists of work in Scrum: Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog. What is the difference between these two? How does the team view them? How do stakeholders and the Product Owner view them?
- Why is backlog refinement a continuous process throughout the project? Who is responsible for grooming the backlog?
- Who can add things to the Product Backlog? When do you believe the backlog is too long?
- What is analysis in traditional product development?
- What does agile analysis in agile product development mean?
Sprint Planning and Retro
- If your releases take only a sprint long, is release planning just handled during the sprint planning session? Do we plan it as part of the sprint work?
- Do the release goals collapse to sprint goals if you release each sprint? How much intentional structure does our team need to stay focused and keep on track with what is going on?
- Can information learned during a sprint, modify the release strategy and the number of sprints planned? What is an example of a time our team had to do this?
- Why are retrospectives necessary? How do they help us look at the past work and move forward? Have we improved our processes by doing retrospectives?
- Is the focus of sprint planning to agree to a commitment or figure out how much we can get the team to do? Do we use a previous sprint’s velocity to figure out how much more work we can get out of the team this sprint (i.e. increase amount of work by 10-15% each time)?