How to run an effective session with a Virtual/Collocated Agile SAFe Team
Agile ways of working have enabled teams to improve their ways of working and become high-performing teams. A key event at the end of the team’s iteration is the iteration or sprint review. It is an opportunity for the team to gain feedback on the product and check its progress. It is not for the teams to give themselves feedback, it’s for the stakeholders and business to check what has been completed and give them feedback. The stakeholders are also able to quantitatively review the team’s burn down chat, identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
The team will share the work that has been completed during the sprint, including:
- Refactoring items
- Maintenance items
- Key actions that teams should have taken
- Stories and task completed during the session
Who should attend the session?
All are welcome for this event to be successful, everyone who is impacted negatively or positively should attend the meeting. If we look at roles then the following should attend The scrum master, product owner, team, and business stakeholders. They will be notified in advance of the meeting date and time. Best if the meeting is carried out on the same day and time to ensure that stakeholders can block the time in their diary. The team that completed the work would attend the session to share the work completed
How is the session carried out?
More importantly, the meeting should have a clear agenda and be followed through to ensure that stakeholders find it valuable to attend. The scrum master facilitates the event and introduces the sprint goal to the attendees. The product owner shares an overview of the expected outcomes. A team member reads the story and acceptance criteria whiles another team member shares the completed product to all attending. All team members can answer questions and the scrum master collates all the feedback during the session
Even though we expect that the teams should come prepared and showcase their products, we have also experienced poor practices that have impacted the teams we have coached. For example:
- Stakeholders not attending the meeting because they are busy.
- Senior Stakeholders delegating attendance to junior employees who have less knowledge of the product being developed
- Teams attending the meeting with non-working products
- Teams not testing the product ensuring that it works before coming into the session.
- Virtual team members attending late and impacting the time for the meeting.
- Stakeholders not contributing to help improve the product value
- Meeting tools not ready for the event.
- Demo environment not properly set up to ensure that product can be displayed to stakeholders
- A lack of understanding of the product backlog leading to a poor outcome from the team.
Benefits of the session
- We improve our product as a team
- We collate feedback from our stakeholders to drive product value.
- We assess our progress as a team
- Briefing stakeholders and product owners on progress so far. Setbacks review and possible solution. Keeping tabs on progress made during the sprint.
- Constant improvement, getting feedback on work done, gathering new requirements
“Review support our growth, reviews help us to improve, with reviews we know we need to be at our best each day and build quality in the process” LiTT Team
Opportunity to improve the session
Furthermore, to ensure these events deliver their expected value we have identified a list of improvement actions that will support teams on their journey
- Refine the agenda and ensure only relevant items are discussed during the session.
- Check your stakeholder list and invite the right stakeholders to the session.
- Check the product developed and ensure it works prior to going into the session
- Continuously reflecting on the process and finding ways to improve the meeting
- Scrum masters facilitating the meetings effectively and ensuring it focuses on the agenda items.
- Identifying meet after actions and following up matters that are outside the remit of the meeting.
- Setting team ground rules before the session
Overall, we at LiTT ongoingly prepare for review sessions and aim to deliver quality outcomes to our internal and external stakeholders. We constantly demo in the team and conduct pair reviews during the sprint. It helps us in building quality into our process and helps drive towards business strategic needs.
Iteration Review is an event that enables teams to deliver value each week and have conversations with their stakeholders. Please let us know what is working for you and your teams.
Author: William Korsinah
(Business Agility, Major Programmes Management, Scaled Agile Consultant, Trainer and Coach)