Tips for having the scrum teams involved in feature design earlier

Last post 01:12 pm October 3, 2021
by Simon Mayer
5 replies
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04:07 pm September 30, 2021

Hi Scrum Community,

I would need you opinion regarding how we can get the scrum teams involved in feature design earlier?

There are a lot of benefits for doing so (like better understanding the business context/ align with the necessary stakeholders to understand better what it is requested/ identify any dependencies that might appear 'till that specific feature is triggered into the queue.

I would really appreciate if you could provide any strategies on how we can have the scrum team involved in feature design earlier.

Thank you so much for your help.

Warm regards,

Gabriela

12:55 am October 1, 2021

Whenever I'm asked about design in the context of a Scrum process, I immediately want to look at the Product Backlog refinement process. What does Product Backlog refinement look like for you? Who participates? How is it structured? How often does it occur? How much of the Product Backlog is refined enough to be considered "ready" for a Sprint? Does your team enhance the minimum expectations of a "ready" Product Backlog Item beyond the Scrum Guide's definition?

Generally speaking, making sure that enough time is set aside for each Sprint to refine the Product Backlog and making sure that everyone understands the expectation of refinement goes a long way to getting the team to understand what they need to do and why it's valuable.

05:51 am October 1, 2021

I would really appreciate if you could provide any strategies on how we can have the scrum team involved in feature design earlier.

Ask why enough of this refinement isn't happening now. What is the constraint? Perhaps work is really being pushed on to the team for example, and Product Backlog refinement gets tipped over the side in the heat of battle.

12:14 pm October 1, 2021

In addition to what has been mentioned, perhaps facilitate a session with your Scrum Team, using a Liberating Structure like 15% Solutions. Some open ended invitations:

  • What can we as a Scrum Team start doing immediately without having to ask permission of anyone?
  • What can we do as a Scrum Team without relying on additional people from outside our team?
  • Where do we have the freedom and discretion to take action right now?
  • What is holding us back, and what can we do about it in our current Sprint?

Take it to the team. We Scrum Masters sometimes forget that we are rarely wiser than the collective intelligence of the team.

09:44 am October 2, 2021

A complementary strategy could be to level UX skills inside your Scrum Team.

How can the Scrum Team (including the Product Owner) maximize the Value by creating a lovable product that delight the users (and help her better achieve her own personal outcome) without UX skills ?

01:12 pm October 3, 2021

I would need you opinion regarding how we can get the scrum teams involved in feature design earlier?

Who or what is stopping the team from doing this? There may be multiple causes.

Do the people involved in that impediment realize the (potential) benefits of what you're suggesting?

There are a lot of benefits for doing so (like better understanding the business context/ align with the necessary stakeholders to understand better what it is requested/ identify any dependencies that might appear 'till that specific feature is triggered into the queue.

That you can already see this is a great start!
Perhaps you can build on it by helping other people (most likely team members, key stakeholders, and leaders) appreciate what would be in it for them if they adopt such an approach.

For instance, a Product Owner might appreciate being able to keep multiple viable options on the table for longer, and having a list of trade-offs, whilst avoiding a lot of waste by more quickly identifying which options are unfeasible.

A UX designer might appreciate that closer collaboration from the beginning will reduce misunderstandings, time wasted on rejected designs, or being asked to explain things much later on in the process.