End and Then Begin Again

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During a project, the burndown enables the team to plan the next sprint and retrospect on what is working (or not working) in order to maintain or improve the team velocity during the future sprint.

Once the team has completed the project, the team should review the burndown charts of each sprint and understand the team velocity in a holistic way. This means the team should consider all aspects that impact its velocity, such as technical knowledge of the team members, estimating capabilities, complexity of the story, external and internal impediments, and deviations, to name a few.

The better the ScrumMaster understands the team’s velocity, the better he can understand the team’s training requirements, help it develop its skills, and help the team members plan their activities while also engaging with management to project the team’s capabilities.

The team’s velocity reflects how many story points the team can consume in a sprint. While you average this number out, you should consider a few assumptions like the attrition or absence of team members within the purview of a product or project with similar technological requirements or domains. This will allow management to understand and plan the future estimates for their go-to-market projections

As a team becomes more mature in its understanding of Scrum, the team increases its story-pointing capabilities, which leads to an increase of velocity. Eventually, the velocity will reach a predictable level and level off. Reviewing the team velocity over a period of time and across projects will enable the team to estimate better and also take up new challenges that build upon its past experiences.

Evaluate the Cross-functional Collaboration
The Scrum methodology proposes that each Scrum team should have members from each department or unit who are required for to finish a project. In addition to QA and engineering team members, members from other cross-functional teams, such as technical writers and change managers, need to be included in the Scrum team.

At the end of the project, revaluate how the cross-functional teams were able to participate and work together. Learning whether the organizational structure bolstered the collaboration or acted as an impediment, can help management align various departments to the organization’s agile adoption.

This evaluation can help mitigate mid-sprint impediments like cross-unit communication breakdown or misalignment of goal which can jeopardize a project. Understanding what worked and what didn’t can help the managers better align and commit their teams to a Scrum team.

Final Thought
Reviewing and revisiting the key elements of Scrum can enable members of Scrum teams to share and learn from their experience. This, in turn, can help the team to predict, prevent, and mitigate impediments from subsequent projects. The retrospective should always contain clear goals of what the team is trying to achieve. It’s not an assessment or an appraisal of the team or the team members; rather, it’s a learning exercise in which team members can look back on and take an objective view of the project.

About the author

Shweta Darbha's picture Shweta Darbha

Shweta Darbha has nearly a decade of experience in IT, business consulting and product management. She has served many leading IT services and product companies in the IT infrastructure and network management, financial services, retail, airlines, and manufacturing domains, focusing on customer relationship management (CRM), customer data management (CDM), marketing, and customer loyalty.
 

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