Dysfunction Junction: Share Yours!

By: David Hawks | Feb 25, 2015 |  Article,  Scrum

Dysfunction JunctionWe need your help! Agile Velocity is putting together a video about Scrum dysfunction and are looking for input on what dysfunctions to cover and what tips to offer. 

Here are some dysfunctions we see to get the creative juices flowing:

DYSFUNCTION: Someone starts a side discussion while others are talking

DYSFUNCTION: Someone rambles on until they’re asked to move on

And here are some tips and tricks we like to use:

TIP:  Have a talking ball that the team passes around

TIP: Create a rule to keep long talkers to a minimum like the ELMO rule (Enough Let’s Move On)

What problems has your team encountered? How did you solve it? What worked, what didn’t? Please share your dysfunctions and tips with us below in the comments.

Looking for more? Click here to assess the effectiveness of your Daily Scrums

14 Responses to “Dysfunction Junction: Share Yours!”

  1. When someone is reporting what they are working on, moves it into a discussion with others, and the scrum master doesn’t do anything to “parking lot the discussion.”

    Tip: Parking lot the discussion for after the stand up with the people who are needed.

  2. Dysfunction: Someone is looking at their phone or distracted during the stand up

    Tip: Giving your undivided attention shows each person they are important and valued. Builds team collaboration

  3. Mike Lepine

    Dysfunction: I’ve seen this happen. Someone (management or team members) saying, “I don’t care what’s blocking you, just get it done!”

    Tip: Ignoring the facts doesn’t change them. Figure out the root cause of the issue as a team and work to remove it. Make a note to discuss it with your team in the retrospective meeting. Making blockers for in-progress work highly visible is recommended for a reason. Resolving and removing impediments is crucial to team morale and execution.

  4. Earl Everett

    Dysfunction: “Our Retrospectives are useless, because nothing ever changes.”

    While this can have multiple (and layered) causes, it is often the result of attempting too many improvements at one time.

    Tip: Pick one (or at most two) items to work on and improve in the next iteration. Ask about progress during each daily Scrum/stand-up. At the next retrospective, discuss the item, the results, why or why not they were obtained, and what has been learned.

  5. Dysfunction: Tasks that have been started, but have not moved for days.

    Tip: Team should hold each other responsible, act as a team, and help one another to get all tasks done. Ask the task owner during standup “What will it take to complete task X?” Then, make a plan to get the task done.

  6. Dysfunction: Team does not pay attention to action/improvement items from the last retrospective.

    Tip: The ScrumMaster is responsible for making the items visible to the team. Some teams write them on a piece of paper and hang it in the team room, or where standup occurs. Other teams create a “Retro items” story and track subtasks on the Scrum board. In any case, the ScrumMaster should remind the team halfway through the Sprint of the things they have chosen to address.

  7. Dysfunction: conducting a retrospective and not applying the learnings in the next sprint or release.

    Tip: Discuss how the learnings will be applied (next sprint or next release) during the retrospective, and assign the learning to the responsible person or group. Then celebrate when things are fixed. Make sure to acknowledge how applying the learnings have improved the process, decreased defects, etc.

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