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AAJ INSIGHTS

How to Establish and Maintain Transparency in Scrum

Ed Kirchmier
January 20, 2018

Scrum is a development framework having three basic pillars: Inspection, Adoption, and Transparency. Companies need an open and visible working environment to succeed and flourish. Such environment can only be developed and maintained when the required information is available and clearly understood by everyone involved in controlling the outcome of the process. In Scrum, team communication and synchronization are best practiced through face-to-face conversation. It frees the projects from facing any delays or risks of failures at any stages of its development. Transparency is depicted in its day-to-day activities and artifacts in Scrum.

Transparency in meetings

Scrum provides a set of meetings which serve as a transparency tool to reflect the progress of the team’s work towards the project at any given stage. These meetings have specified agenda items to be discussed in a stipulated time duration.

The Sprint Planning Meeting is held at the start of the Sprint to understand and document the Sprint Backlog Items. It is conducted to make sure that everyone involved undoubtedly knows what is to be done on his/her part to contribute to the development of that particular incremental iteration of the product called the Sprint.

The Daily Scrum is focused on the day-to-day reflection of the team’s contributions to the particular Sprint. It answers three things: 1) what I have developed for last 24 hours to meet the daily Sprint goal? 2) What will I do today in order to achieve my next Sprint goal? 3) What were the impediments in yesterday’s work that hinder my goal achievement? Daily Scrum is very crucial in terms of sharing all these things without having the fear to admit one’s mistakes. If unshared, the project gets complicated, causing delays, and eventually risks of project failures.

The Sprint Review Meeting is conducted at the end of a Sprint to reflect what has been done to complete it as an increment of the product. The team invites the stakeholders to get their feedback on the Sprint, which is incorporated into the Product Backlog by the Product Owner, to bring improvements in the next Sprints.

Lastly, the Sprint Retrospective is held to inspect the last Sprint in order of its people, interactions, process & tools, and to adopt improvement measures from this Sprint to develop the next Sprint. It all requires transparency in reporting and communication.

Transparency in artifacts

Scrum has a specified number of artifacts that serve as the information radiators for all stages in the Scrum. The information is made clearly visible and understood to the team so the project progress trends are known. The availability and clarity of information is very significant in order to make smart decisions.

The Product Backlog is an ordered list of requirements prioritized on the basis of their precedence and significance by the Product Owner, as well as the team. All the best-known features, attributes, fixes, and enhancements are documented in the product Backlog to make it clear and well-understood to the team.

Burn-down charts depict the amount of effort remaining in the future in order to complete the Sprint. The Scrum Boards are also used to reflect three things while working on a Sprint: 1) What to do? 2) What is in progress? 3) What is done?

The Sprint Backlog is developed after the Sprint Planning Meeting has been conducted and Product Backlog is finalized. It contains user stories required to develop a complete increment of the product. Usually, some of the Product Backlog items are decomposed into the tasks or user stories agreed upon by the team to work on.

Conclusion

Scrum is based on transparency depicted through its meetings and artifacts, but it cannot be achieved if there is a lack of transparency in communication. It is difficult to establish and maintain full transparency if people are hesitant or have fear of sharing their mistakes. The team leaders need to show comprehension to the team members to avoid such detrimental approaches by them. Leaders should motivate and encourage the teams to share any risks or problems they face in day-to-day development. While teams need not only focus on their individual achievements, they must also focus on their contribution to the shared project goals. All these recommendations are helpful to establish and maintain complete transparency of information, which helps the organization thrive.

For more information on how to Establish and Maintain Transparency in Scrum please use the form to contact AAJ Technologies below

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Ed Kirchmier

ABOUT Ed Kirchmier

Ed Kirchmier is Vice President of Global Delivery. In this role, he is responsible for directing the delivery of the company’s consulting services and practice management function. Ed has been a member of the management team of AAJ Technologies since 2004.

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