Pitch your Sprint increment to your Sponsor. Or go home.

Imagine you and your Scrum Team will fight for existence every Sprint. The crucial moment is presenting your work — Scrum increment — to your business sponsor. If you won’t impress, you go home. Would that change how or what you do now?

Chances are, this might even be a real situation. There are teams, which only receive Go! for their next 2–3 weeks by the end of a previous Sprint. Sometimes they get fully disbanded, sometimes just the team’s composition is mixed. Would you consider being part of such a team to be a learning experience?

“You never know what you can do until you try, and very few try unless they have to.” — C.S. Lewis

The proposed situation from the title is actually a coaching question. Typically stated by an Agile Coach to a team. Or individually, to any of the team’s members. Its intention is to let you think about such a hypothetical situation and to form an answer. Responses vary but in general fall into one of two categories:

  • Obvious — an action that has been long postponed, Retrospective outcome gaining dust, To-Do long time past due… They have a clear idea of what to do and it is their own action to perform. Now it’s Scrum Master’s or Agile Coach’s turn to help to make it happen.
  • Mysterious, Magical or Sci-fi — easily recognizable by starting with “If …” or “They …”. In other words, any action not grounded in current reality or outside of one’s/team’s influence. The starting point usually is to focus on one’s actions, competencies, and options.

As you could have imagined, it’s not the questions itself, it is you — your thought process of figuring out any answer (as long as it falls into the first category). It is creative, requires focus and it even might feel exhaustive.

Of course, an idea is just the start. In a similar fashion, like with outcomes from Retrospectives, getting into action is both the goal and the hard part. Here, the role of Agile Coach comes into play once again. Some people could use more or less help with forming a specific set of steps to accomplish the desired outcome.

If your creative juices started to flow (again), and you have been able to get from idea to action, for Agile Coach it is a mission accomplished. And for your new learning.

To start learning, there is no easier way than trying to answer tough questions.

Pitch your Sprint increment to your Sponsor. Or go home. was originally published in ableneo Process on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.