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Facilitation Techniques for Scrum Events

Scrum prescribes events to create regularity and transparency and minimize the need for meetings not defined in Scrum. The events are the Daily Scrum, Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospective, and the Sprint. Often, Scrum events don’t go as planned. Good, lightweight facilitation can help the Scrum Teams get back on track. 

Without good facilitation, the Scrum events can turn into ineffective meetings: 

  • The purpose of the events may be missed
  • People might talk over each other or not talk at all
  • We might constantly hear the same few voices and miss out on the opinions of others 
  • Events can run over their timeboxes without creating necessary action items
  • Opportunities to collaborate and progress toward desired outcomes may be missed
     

This list highlights the purpose of Scrum Events, an indication of where the event’s facilitator should place their focus, and a few examples of facilitation techniques that can help guide a team to successful outcomes.
 

Daily Scrum 

Event Purpose: Developers inspect progress toward the Sprint Goal. Output of the Daily Scrum is a plan for the next working day 

Facilitator Focus: Enable an atmosphere where the team focuses on  delivering quality, commitment (Sprint Goal) and addressing impediments. Avoid status updates. Observe and question when needed. Ensure team focus on the Sprint Goal.

Example Facilitation Techniques: 

 

Sprint Planning

Event Purpose: Initiates the Sprint by laying out the work to be performed for the Sprint. Output is a Sprint Backlog (Sprint Goal + selected PBIs + Plan)

Facilitator Focus: Enable a collaborative and transparent environment with a clear objective. Keep the team focussed on the Sprint Goal. 


Example Facilitation Techniques:

 

Sprint Review

Event Purpose: Inspect the Increment, through feedback and adaptation of the Product Backlog if needed

Facilitator Focus: Enable an engaging, energetic and participative environment. Encourage listening vs. reacting. Empathize, listen actively and build synergy between the Scrum Team, sponsors and stakeholders.

Example Facilitation Techniques: 

 

Sprint Retrospective

Event Purpose: The Scrum Team inspects how the last Sprint went; individuals, interactions, process, tools and Definition of Done. Output: the Scrum Team adapts by identifying the most helpful changes to improve its effectiveness.

Facilitator Focus: Enable a safe atmosphere in which everyone in the team feels open to participate. Listen actively to what is said and what is not said. Open the floor to different perspectives. Build consensus and clearly define next steps. 

Example Facilitation Techniques:


Learn more about facilitation.