Scrum Rules: As a Team Member I Attend Sprint Review Meetings In-Person

August 4, 2020
4 minute read

The Sprint Review meeting supports the Scrum value of Openness and the principle of inspect and adapt. This rule of Scrum also aligns with the Agile Manifesto principles “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation” and “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”

In-person attendance of all Scrum Team members allows for the fullest level of openness among Team Members and effective communication of feedback from stakeholders reviewing the product increment. If even one team member attempts to attend this meeting by any other means, either by phone or even video conferencing, efficiency and effectiveness of the openness and inspect and adapt becomes compromised. Compromise on these principles yields compromised collective ownership. The successful delivery of the valuable software requires full commitment on the part of the whole team. Lack of in-person participation increases the likelihood that the team will fail to deliver on its Goal because the openness and inspect and adapt will lack effectiveness.

When some team members are not attending the Sprint Review, or when some are attending remotely, the Scrum Master starts with the simple principle of making the consequences of this situation visible to the whole team and its stakeholders. This may require the Scrum Master to observe carefully for the consequences as they are often delayed from the time of the Sprint Review. For example, a common occurrence in a Sprint Review is for customer feedback to be integrated into the Product Backlog immediately – which requires the whole team to quickly estimate the effort in implementing the feedback. This estimation effort is subverted by a team member not present and will often lead to re-hashing the estimates in the following Sprint Planning meeting. If team members are remote, then estimation often takes longer and some misunderstandings will remain. This inefficiency might be considered normal if the Scrum Master does not draw attention to it.

As well, the Scrum Master needs to educate the team members and the Scrum Team’s stakeholders on the importance of in-person attendance. That education process often must be repeated numerous times in order to overcome corporate culture or habits that allow the team members to neglect in-person attendance. In many cases, this education starts with putting the Sprint Planning meeting in the calendar and inviting all the team members as “required” attendees and with a clear invitation message.

During the Sprint Review, the Scrum Team and stakeholders collaborate about what was done in the Sprint. Based on that and any changes to the Product Backlog during the Sprint, attendees collaborate on the next things that could be done to optimize value.

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Bruce Power
Capital One
Equitable Life of Canada
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