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Facilitation Techniques for Scrum Events

Scrum events 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.

How to Facilitate the Daily Scrum Video

There are many ways to facilitate Daily Scrum. In this Introduction to Facilitating a Daily Scrum, you will learn three different techniques along with the benefits and challenges of each. Your team can experiment with these as they see necessary and choose whichever method helps them best focus on their progress toward the Sprint Goal while producing an actionable plan for the next day of work.

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. 

How to Facilitate Sprint Planning Video

In this Introduction to Facilitating Sprint Planning video, you'll learn how and when to use facilitation techniques such as roman voting, visualization, and powerful questioning so that your team can leave Sprint Planning with a Sprint Goal that is in pursuit of the Product Goal and an initial plan for the Sprint.

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.

How to Facilitate the Sprint Review Video

In this Introduction to Facilitating a Sprint Review, you will learn a facilitation technique that can help turn the Sprint Review into a more engaging and collaborative session so that you can gather valuable feedback from stakeholders to determine future adaptations of your product.

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. 

How to Facilitate the Sprint Retrospective Video 

In this Introduction to Facilitating the Sprint Retrospective video, you'll learn step-by-step how to guide your team through a Sprint Retrospective with techniques such as the Prime Directive, the Perfection Game, Dot Voting and Affinity Mapping so that your team can leave the Sprint Retrospective with ideas on how to improve.

Example Facilitation Techniques:

Learn more about facilitation.