Part #6 How Everyone Can Get Involved in Agile

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was adopting scrum (an agile development frame work). At first implementing scrum identified quite a few issues (mainly bottlenecks) with in the organisation. However the past few weeks have witnessed a turn around – all of a sudden it seems that everyone wants to get involved and be part of the scrum process.
So how do you (as a ScrumMaster/Product manager) broaden the influence of scrum so that all the product stakeholders have the opportunity get involved at the appropriate points in time?

  1. Make it easy for anyone (Sales, Product Marketing, Information Architect etc..) to contribute to the product backlog. This can be done by placing the backlog on a shared drive or document management system. I’m currently using SharePoint 2007 as an interim solution before we implement Team Systems.

  2. Communicated the dates for sprint pre-planning, sprint planning and reviews along with the start and end dates for the sprints.

  3. Invite those stakeholders whose backlog item(s) have been selected (during the sprint pre-planning meeting) to the next sprint and the daily scrum meeting.

  4. Invite the same stakeholders to the sprint review where the selected feature(s) will be demonstrated along with the other features.

Some may ague that all the business stakeholders should communicate their ideas to the product owner and he/she alone should attend the various sprint and scrum meetings. However it has been my experience (to date) that the product owners are often too busy (not to say that Product Managers/ScrumMaster are not). Therefore assisting the Product Owner by implementing the 4 steps above will go a long way to ensuring that your implementation of scrum will be successful. The one key point is to ensure that the product owner takes full responsibility for selecting and prioritising the product backlog items.

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