July 14, 2022

What does Cross-Functional really bring to your Sprint Retrospective? 🚀 (59)

We started this Scrum foundation series explaining we see four underlying concepts of the Scrum framework. In the past series of mails we covered the three pillars of Empiricism, the Scrum Values, and Self-Management.

A self-managing team is taking decisions about who does what, when, and how. This ensures the team can move forward without unnecessary waiting time. If we want to improve on that, and to support the team taking ownership, having the needed skills within the team is another step.

 

👉 Cross-functional, meaning the team internally has all skills needed to successfully complete their goals.

 

Growing cross-functionality = growing skills = raising mastery = higher motivation = higher effectivity.

 

During each of the Scrum Events, and throughout the Sprint itself, the Scrum Team should have all necessary skills in order to reach its objectives.

 

Let’s have a look at the Sprint Retrospective.

 

Reminder: the objective of the Sprint Retrospective is to plan ways to increase quality and effectiveness. How did the last Sprint went? Reached the Sprint Goal? Delivered a Done Increment - i.e. a product that has the expected quality level? Implemented the earlier agreed improvements? And how were these achieved? Were the processes, practices and tools up to the job at hand? How were interactions with people and teams external to the Scrum team? What can we learn from this and what can we now do to make the next improvement?

Next to skills for being an awesome team player such as listening, speaking up, giving and receiving feedback, etc. what is expected more specifically for the Sprint Retrospective?

Without even trying to being exhaustive, here are a skills / experiences I would expect the team to use:

  • A growth mindset: there are always areas that will lead to improved quality and/or effectiveness; does the team have a hunger to find and work on a few of these?
     
  • Creativity: uncovering better ways to do things, to build the product requires some level of creativity.
     
  • Problem Solving: what is the real problem behind difficulties? What are the facts and observations we gathered? And now how can we use these insights to our advantage?
     
  • Conflict Handling: there will be moments where team members are strongly disagreeing. How does the team handle these situations? Do people keep an open mind? Do they see the value in the opinion of the colleagues? Is it used to grow as a team?
     

These are just a few examples of skills that are put in action during a Sprint Retrospective.

 

☝️ It is not a matter of who in the team has the skills, as long as together the team has the skills needed.

 

Summary:

Cross-functional is about having all skills within the team to create value each Sprint.

In order to accomplish the purpose of a Sprint Retrospective, the Scrum Team needs specific skills that have to do with growing as a team and problem solving.

 

Prompt:

Together with your Scrum Team, evaluate which skill improvements the team would benefit from to make your Sprint Retrospective events more effective.

 

We hope you will find value in these short posts and if you are looking for more clarifications, feel free to take contact.

 

PS. Next week we'll look at Cross-Functionality during the Sprint.
 

If you want to take a deeper dive into the core concepts we are covering in this blog series, then surely check out our Professional Scrum MasterY workshop. We have some scheduled in the coming period.

 

Don't want to miss any of these blog posts? Have the professional Scrum foundations series weekly in your mailbox.

A Cross-Functional Team during the Sprint Retrospective