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refinement sessions on a multiproject 17 people team

Last post 06:53 pm November 28, 2022 by David Luis Fonseca Pereira
5 replies
05:23 pm November 16, 2022

We a single team working at once on 3/4 projects (sharing some code and features).

During retrsthing of their ve as product owner, I suggested to team that we could hold separate refinement sessions, with a smaller grouos of de developers assigned to particular stories.

I was reminded that "according to the agile playbook" is the team that decides who work on which story (clear to me! I don't understand a thing of their techbology!) And that if everybody participate they can switch easier task between them.( Which i could understand if they were all full stack devs, but actually they are very specialized and few occasionally substitutions are possible)

 

I was just trying to suggest a way of optimizing their time, and incidentally mine... We have other PO, i don't have time to listen to stories relevant only to them, plus holding fixed refinement meeting is very challenging to me, because rarely can prepare. Compared to smaller sessions at a pace od a smaller group...

 

Any suggestion?

And What is the agile playbook?

 

 


06:28 pm November 16, 2022

Rather than optimizing time, my advice is to optimize outcomes. This can require deep and systemic change to an organization's structure, culture, and practices. 

There is a Scrum Guide, which describes a framework for achieving better outcomes, and which perhaps ought to be given greater attention:

www.scrumguides.org

 


06:49 pm November 16, 2022

Ian is correct.  Your focus is on the wrong element.  I do want to comment on a couple of things you said.

We have other PO, i don't have time to listen to stories relevant only to them

Two Product Owners for a single team will only lead to problems around competing priorities.  Especially if you "have no time to listen".  It is up to the Product Owner to help the Developers understand what work is most important at the point in time, and to help them realize the impact that the work will have.  If you are not there for discussions on how to order "your work vs their work", you are not helping the Scrum Team.

I don't understand a thing of their techbology

I am glad you admit that but because you don't understand, you probably don't understand how people with different skills/knowledge in technologies can help others in problem determination and resolution.  Each person on the team has skills/knowledge that is needed to deliver the product.  Having all of that knowledge together for discussions is important.  Because I may not know your area so it will be difficult for me to predict when something I am doing might impact you.  But if you are present and can listen, you will be able to identify if there is something that you need to know. 

I was just trying to suggest a way of optimizing their time, and incidentally mine.

Suggesting is a good thing.  But ultimately you have to rely on them to determine the best way to optimize their own time.  And as part of a team, you have to be willing to adjust your own needs to match that of the rest of the team.  

In Scrum, the Developers do not work for you.  In Scrum, the entire Scrum Team works together.  While individuals may do specific work, in the end, everyone on the team is responsible for all of the work that is done in order to deliver product value. 


09:59 pm November 16, 2022

Well, I feel weird with this team, because 1 I don't understand when they release things, 2 I don't understand what they realease 3 I don't understand if they are spending money on other projects or on some huge technical debt 4 whenever i say something it's me not understanding agile or not writing well the stories.

I try to be available as much as possible, but I don't have always all the information from the stakeholders and not always in time for fixed grooming sessions.

The general feeling is that when I try to suggest some improvement, basically it's my fault, or it's more job for me, or we need to hire somebody to help me, which will be out of budget.

 

The only solution that comes to my mind, is to be replaced by some more competent product owner


10:19 pm November 16, 2022

I don't have always all the information from the stakeholders and not always in time for fixed grooming sessions.

Provide that feedback to the Developers.  For me it indicates that they are not including you in conversations so that you can prepare properly.  If they expect you to come to a refinement session with answers to questions you have not heard, they are the ones with the issue.  Something I advocate to my teams is that we have running dialogues in the tickets we use for our backlog.  Those comments can give you insights into the things that they need from stakeholders.  You can even provide feedback via the same mechanism.  Refinement is an ongoing process and it does not have to occur when a bunch of people are gathered together.  I have seen a large number of backlog items refined via comments in the ticketing system or email chain. 

1 I don't understand when they release things, 2 I don't understand what they realease 3 I don't understand if they are spending money on other projects or on some huge technical debt

Could this be because you "don't have time to listen ..."?  It could also because the work that is being done isn't transparent from the Sprint Backlog.  Even if you were doing old style waterfall project management, there has to be some way for progress to be conveyed.  Scrum does not replace the need for communication. It actually increases the need for it.  No one should assume that anyone knows something.  Share everything and let the people consuming the information determine if it is relevant to them. 

The general feeling is that when I try to suggest some improvement, basically it's my fault, or it's more job for me, or we need to hire somebody to help me, which will be out of budget.

To me, this indicates that there are some trust and respect issues in the team.  Have you discussed this with your Scrum Master and asked them to help?  


03:00 am November 28, 2022

Daniel, are you okay?

I'm studying to get PSPO1 certified - what tips can you give me? I'm looking for question questionnaires so I can exercise, do you have any material in this regard?