Scrum Event Facilitation Tools

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

As a Scrum Master or Product Owner, you should have an arsenal of facilitation tools and techniques to help the Scrum Team deliver a product or service. Below is a selection of facilitation tools you can use, plus details on how to use them, and any preparation required for all the Scrum Events. At a minimum, there should be someone to track time and to keep the event progressing, whether that is yourself or a delegate. 


**You will notice that the Scrum Master facilitates almost all Scrum Events although in more mature Scrum Teams, the Developers facilitate their own events.



DAILY SCRUM

Scrum Team performing Daily Scrum event

Who Facilitates: Scrum Master (or Developers themselves)


What Tools to Use: 




How to Use: 

Use a Timer to keep track of 15 minutes. Can use a stopwatch, Tomato Timer, stopwatch app, or your phone’s built-in stopwatch. The main focus is on the work to progress to completion and speaking up on potential issues.


Use Fist of Fives or Roman Voting to get a read on whether the team expects to meet the Sprint Goal. Any low or negative responses, get the person to explain their perspective and help resolve the potential problems as a team.




SPRINT PLANNING

Scrum Team doing Scrum Planning

Who Facilitates: Scrum Master 


What Tools to Use: 


How To Use:

Use a Timer to keep track of each part of the event. Can use a stopwatch or your phone’s built-in stopwatch. Make sure everyone can see it. A rough agenda for a 4 hour event (for a 2 week Sprint) would be as follows:

  • Exploring the “Why” - 30 mins: Product Owner talks about the Product Backlog Items (PBIs) and Sprint Goal

  • Exploring the “How” - 90 to 120 mins: Developers estimate to part of the Product Backlog and break down any necessary PBIs

  • Deciding on the “What” - 30 to 60 mins: Developers selects PBIs to include in the Sprint Backlog

  • “Commitments” - 30 mins: Confirm Sprint Goal or adjust. Select time and place for the Daily Scrum and Sprint Review. 

Make sure the team is progressing as no one wants to schedule a continuance meeting! 



Use the Pomodoro Technique to break up time within the estimation and selection parts of the event. Use it if focus is a problem.


Online tools such as  Jira, Trello or Asana are preferred tools to use, view and manage your Backlogs over an Excel spreadsheet, although if it works for you and your team, continue to use it. Their advantage is they have ready to use boards, it is easy to move and update items, and easy to track items. And this is particularly important if you have remote team members. If you are new to these tools, start with Trello which is a very simple and easy version to use. Make sure all team members have access prior to the meeting. 


Use Mural for the estimation and selection part of the meeting if it’s easier to use rather than software. Recreate the PBIs in Mural with priority and room for estimation. 


Use Planning Poker in the 2nd part of the event to estimate the Product Backlog Items (PBIs). If you have any team members who are remote, use an online Planning Poker app such as planningpoker.com which integrates with Jira. Give yourself plenty of time to set this up prior to the meeting (at least the first time you use it). 


Use Roman Voting to vote on various PBIs to make it into the final Sprint Backlog or whether a User Story is understood by everyone. Use it to get a gauge on whether the team is happy with the final selection into the Sprint Backlog.




SPRINT REVIEW

Magnifying glass examining the Sprint Review event

Who Facilitates: Scrum Master and/or Product Owner


What Tools to Use: 

  • Timer

  • System to run the demo





How to Use:

Use a Timer to keep track of time for each part of the event. Have a 1 hour meeting for a 1 week Sprint, 2hr meeting for a 2 week Sprint, and so forth although only make it as long as it needs to be to demonstrate and test the Sprint. 


Split the meeting into:

  • Introductions - Get the Product Owner to do the introductions including what tools are required for everyone and to check they have access, and the Sprint Goal (the Scrum Master should also include these items on the meeting invite)

  • Demo - the Developers demonstrate the finalised backlog items on a real system.

  • Testing - get the Product Owner and/or end-users to test if applicable. 

  • New Backlog Items - allow time to create new backlog items if any issues or items have come up. 



SPRINT RETROSPECTIVE

Scrum Team in Sprint Retrospective event

Who Facilitates: Scrum Master


What Tools to Use: 


How to Use:

Use a Timer to keep track of time for each part of the event. It should be 1-2 hours. Maximum of 3 hours for a 4-week Sprint. 


Mural has Sprint Retrospective board templates where everyone can participate in feedback and voting on ‘What went well’, ‘What we can do better’, and ‘Actions to Improve the Next Sprint’. Prepare the template with these columns plus virtual sticky notes. This is useful with remote teams, a whiteboard might be better if you are all in person. 


If you already use Trello, Jira or Asana to set up Retrospective boards for ‘What went well’, ‘What we can do better’, and ‘Actions’. Get team members to add cards to each board. 


If you can meet in-person, use a whiteboard in place of Mural or Trello with the same 3 column headings. Draw up the whiteboard columns and heading prior to the event. Get sticky notes and markers for each person to use. 


Use Rapid Brainstorming for 1-2 minutes for each column if the team is stuck with regular brainstorming. It stops people thinking too much and using instinct instead.  


Use the Pomodoro Technique to maintain focus if required. Set a timer for a set period for each column then breaks in between. 


Use 6 Hat Thinking if the Scrum Team is being too critical, taking things too personally, or not coming up with ideas or actions. Get everyone to (virtually) put on one coloured hat at a time as a group, select a Blue Hat for new ideas, then a Yellow Hat then a Black Hat. 


Use Dot Voting to choose the top 3 actions to work on in the next Sprint. Get everyone to place a dot on their top 3 preferences. If using Trello, get them to add themselves to the card to vote.







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