Ray said during the Sprint Planning that the team must commit to a sprint goal or the scope of the sprint. He looks questioning at the team and at Howard and emphasizes that one of the five Scrum values is “commitment”.
Howard: <nods> “You are right Ray, one of the five Scrum values is commitment. Nevertheless we want and need to be flexible right now.”
Ray: “No, I need these PBIs at the end of the sprint, so that I can be successful … I mean, so that we look successful on the board, we need results …”
Howard: “We really need them, Ray, and this result will be the sprint goal we agreed on. We as a team will do everything we can to achieve this sprint goal, everyone with their own abilities. I will make sure that nothing gets into the sprint backlog that jeopardises the sprint goal”.
Howard: <Looks in the direction of the team and asks> “Do you think we will reach the sprint goal together, with these or other PBIs?”
Ray: “Why other PBIs?”
Howard: “We are in a complex environment and we don’t know if these PBIs are feasible or appropriate within the sprint. Therfore I think it’s important to focus on the sprint goal rather than specific PBIs.”
Ray: “I see.”
The team agrees with Howard’s statement, who records the sprint goal on a file card.
The team starts the sprint very motivated, the idea with the sprint goal has improved the focus and alignment. Nevertheless Ray wonders if this is the right way and asks Britta for advice, they bump into eachother at the coffee machine.
Britta: “Hello Ray, how is your team doing?
Ray: “I think it’s going well, but I don’t know if Howard is the right Scrum Master for the team.”
Britta: “That sounds serious…”
Ray: “Well maybe not serious, it’s just that Howard is still inexperienced and I have the feeling that he wants too much and is too much a slave to the Scrum Guide … a little dogmatic I would say …”.
Britta: “Would it help you if we brought Howard in and the three of us just have a talk?”
Ray: “I think your point of view would help me, I don’t want to denigrate him or something, and all in all I’m quite happy with everything right now. Only I get pressure from the board to deliver certain things and Howard ruined that for me with his sprint goal.”
Britta: “You think the sprint goal is not precise enough for you? Leaves room for manoeuvre?”
Ray: “Yeah, that’s the problem, it’s too vague for me… I knew it. Howard made a mistake.”
Britta: “The idea of a sprint goal is just like your perception, allowing learning during the sprint … what about the board?”
Ray: “Oh, there is a trade fair in a fortnight and the board of directors has announced to show this and that feature … I have to deliver it, you see … we only have this sprint …”
Britta: “I understand, let me talk to the board, maybe a second opinion will help.”
Britta tries to get an appointment with Silke as soon as possible to discuss the topic of the fair and the announcements that came with it. After a week of waiting she finally manages to get 15 minutes with Silke.
Silke: “How is the agile transformation going, you know I’m counting on you to make sure that everything works and that we can deliver quickly. How is Howard doing?”
Britta: “I would like to talk to the whole board about the transformation. We are on a good path and now we need your support more than ever.”
Silke: “That does not answer my question. And by the way, the trade fair is in a fortnight, we have announced a lot, I hope everything will be delivered on time. That was my objective to introduce agility, to deliver more quickly. I’m sure you will not disappointing me, will you?”
Britta: “This is one of the points I need to talk to you about, the announcements and what will be delivered and when.
Silke: “You’re not telling me that we will not be able to present everything at the fair, right?”
Britta: “Our product will be stable and with new features.”
Silke: “With new ones or with all of them?”
The phone rings and Silke ends the meeting. Britta is not satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.