February 15, 2021

8 Do-it-yourself workshops and experiments to help Scrum Teams engage and involve their stakeholders

There is little point to Scrum when you don’t involve stakeholders. After all, Scrum Teams exist to deliver valuable and useful outcomes to their stakeholders. Yet, many Scrum Teams struggle to involve their stakeholders, and that makes this one of the core symptoms of Zombie Scrum.

For some, involving one or two internal stakeholders seems to be enough. For others, stakeholders can only be included when the entire product is done. But without their feedback, how can you be sure that what you’re building is the right thing?

We created 8 do-it-yourself workshops to help Scrum Teams engage and involve their stakeholders. Give it a try, and let us know how it went. Let’s unleash organizational superpowers, together!

Workshop #1: Discover your stakeholders with a Stakeholder Map

Scrum Teams exist to deliver value to their stakeholders. It’s a bit of platitude, right? What is value? And who are the stakeholders? In this experiment, we share a practice called a “Stakeholder Map”. It’s designed to create transparency around who your stakeholders are, and how to most effectively involve them to determine what is valuable.

Stakeholder Map

The Stakeholder Map is based on the premise that stakeholders vary in both their stake in the product as well as their influence over it.

Workshop #2: Create transparency with the stakeholder distance metric

One of the most important ways Scrum Masters can help organizations improve is to create transparency. This experiment is about creating transparency about the distance between developers and stakeholders and what happens because of that. Periodically measuring the distance from the people building the product to the people using or paying for it can reveal many impediments to agility.

Stakeholder Distance Metric

What is the distance between your Scrum Team and its stakeholders?

Workshop #3: Diagnose your Scrum Team, together with your stakeholders

With the Scrum Team Survey, you can create transparency with your team around five core questions: Are you building what stakeholders need? Are you shipping fast enough? Are you improve continuously? Do you have the autonomy to organize in the way that works best? And do the outcomes you generate actually add something valuable.

Until last week, our tool only allowed an inside-out perspective on these questions. How do Scrum Teams rate themselves on these five questions? But what if that perspective is skewed, heavily biased, or overly optimistic?

This is why our latest release of our Scrum Team Survey now allows teams to invite their stakeholders to offer their perspectives. In this post, we talk you through what this change means. And what lies ahead.

The workshop “Diagnose your team with the Scrum Team survey” can be used to also include the stakeholder perspective.

Scrum Team Survey

To date, over 3.650 teams participated (and over 5.281 team members)

Workshop #4: Clarify how to deliver value to stakeholders with Purpose-to-Practice

We designed this string to help you clarify why your product matters to your stakeholders and identify how your team should collaborate to deliver that effectively. This string taps into the five core components: purpose, principles, participants, structure, and practices. We recommend that you revisit and update the purpose-to-practice periodically.

Workshop #5: Create product strategies together with stakeholders

We designed this workshop to help you clarify the success criteria of the product and what the Scrum Team and its stakeholders can do to support that success.

With this workshop, you become familiar with the Liberating Structures Nine Whys to clarify the purpose of the product, Critical Uncertainties to develop product strategies, 1–2–4-ALL to define activities for the robust and hedging strategies, and 15% Solutions to identify personal next steps.

Workshop #6: Involve stakeholders in the Sprint Review with Shift & Share and W3

One obvious opportunity to involve your stakeholders is the Sprint Review. In this do-it-yourself workshop, we share a complete and tried-and-tested string of Liberating Structures to get more out of this important Scrum event. Turn your Sprint Review — in-person or remote — into a true “Feedback Party”!

The string is designed with virtual teams in mind and includes, Impromptu NetworkingShift & ShareWhat, So What, Now What, and 15% Solutions.

Workshop #7: Refine tough or unclear Product Backlog items with stakeholders

In our work, we’ve consistently found that stakeholders — especially users — hold the key to refinement. When they have the opportunity to tell the story of how they would use a certain item, or what it means to them, everything tends to come into focus.

So we designed this string of Liberating Structures to leverage the perspective of your stakeholders. By bringing them in, you will find novel and creative ways to break-down and refine those tough and unclear items. Even better; it builds bonds between your Scrum Team and its stakeholders, and makes the purpose of your product clear.

Product Backlog refinement

Involve your stakeholders in Product Backlog refinement and cleaning up the backlog, together!

Workshop #8: Clean up the Product Backlog together with stakeholders

The purpose of this workshop is to help your Scrum Team and its stakeholders to clean up the Product Backlog. The Product Backlog makes transparent all the work that needs to be done on the product to achieve a Product Goal. A huge Product Backlog decreases transparency because it is more difficult to see what’s truly important. Also, a seemingly endless amount of work can be quite demotivating for Scrum Teams.

If you think that your Product Backlog is too large, give this do-it-yourself workshop a try and let us know how it went! The string is designed with virtual teams in mind and includes, Celebrity Interview, Impromptu Networking, and 1–2–4-ALL.

Closing

For us, the community of Scrum practitioners is our stakeholders. With these 8 do-it-yourself workshops, we hope to deliver value to you. So, your feedback is highly appreciated. If you tried the workshops, let us know how it went. Your thoughts, ideas, and experiences are invaluable to us. Only together, we can create even more valuable content, and unleash the superpowers of Scrum Teams, all around the world!