There could be multiple reasons for a scrum team member to avoid Scrum ceremonies. The team member is unable to understand and appreciate the Scrum framework.

 

As a scrum master, you are unable to communicate the value scrum ceremonies can bring to your team.

 

He comes as a specialist in the scrum team and he work is always in a silo. He is unable to connect with the team and does not understand the value a team can create.

 

As a scrum master, it’s a common situation you need to handle. This is your test of maturity as a scrum master, there is no way you can force your team member to join you. You need to coach him, understand his point of view and help him imbibe the scrum values and principles. Your meeting with him should highlight the areas of your sprint planning where he can bring a value; focus on how the team needs and appreciates his contribution.

 

If you force the person to join the scrum ceremonies, it will further take him away from Scrum.

 

We asked this question in our Scrum Interview challenge level 2. Here are some answers from the practicing Scrum Masters.

 

Anish Shah, TeamLead

Multidots Solutions Pvt Ltd

First of all sprint planning is a ceremony in the Scrum Framework and when we are a scrum team, following the scrum ceremonies must for all the scrum members. We can consider it as a custom or duty or part of success formula; need to follow it – simple.
Now, being a participant of scrum if one member refuses or avoid to be a part of Scrum Planning or any other ceremonies, as a scrum master my role will be vital with my own unique skills.
Talking about a solution here, there is not a single key to unlock. Applicable solutions are mentioned below and they gets implemented based on the situation and gets improved time-to-time.
– 1st and the most important for me is: spreading awareness & benefits about the scrum and scrum values-ceremonies-pillars etc. Seems the strongest tactic for me to apply.
– Try a more friendly way to know the real reason. Meet off the ground in his/her own comfort zone. Important thing is to know the problem and work on it.
– If blocker elements for him are within you, as a scrum master, remove those blockage elements from yourself via improving or convincing – whatever is applicable.
Remember the problem is – *not* team member but inside the team member. Either the attitude or the ignorance about the scrum.
Also, in the worst case scenario, to replace the team member is one option – as this behavior degrades the quality of the deliverables and ultimately it increases the risk of team failure.
Visualize the solution and make it real.


Narinder Kumar, Scrum Master

Akeo India

First, what is the reason, why Scrum team avoiding the Sprint Planning meeting?

Second, listen the team issues by facilitating various techniques.

  • Asking open-ended questions.
  • Bringing people together who should listen to each other.
  • Consensus building where everyone wins, NOT voting where there are winners and losers.
  • Mediating conflicts that arise between team members.
  • Tells the benefits of the event and why event is necessary to design/plan for a common goal.
  • Scrum master always try that participants achieve a mutual understanding.
  • Each team member contribution is considered and included in the ideas, solutions, or decisions that emerge.
  • Participants take shared responsibility for the outcome.

Third, try them that they will find out their solutions by coaching.

Scrum Challenge


Sathish Pande, Scrum Master /System Analyst

ExxonMobil

I would make him/her understand by explaining that going on a short trip is always productive with a map in hand or with a plan in mind rather than wandering off without knowing the important features of the place where by he/she will be wasting time, money and value.


Venkata Shoban Kumar Kamadana, Scrum Master/Coach

Capgemini

A team member not attending the planning meeting
First talk to the Team member to find out the reason for not attending the meeting. Need to understand the cause of this behavior.
Need to explain the importance of the planning meeting. How he can communicate this to all the parties involved about his absence if there is a genuine reason and ask for a reschedule of the meeting well in advance. (Planning in scrum is a team even to discuss on the requirements. It’s a team’s responsibility and everyone is equally important to share their understanding and assumptions if any.)
Need to explain the impact of not having his presence in the planning meeting and the impact it has on the entire team with few practical examples.


Rishita Raj, Associate Lead BA

Thomson Reuters

Either the person is fresher or new to agile or on leave during the planning phase. Make sure before he goes on leave the planning is done and he /she is included in the sprint cycle. Generally, developers working in a particular product or organization do get comfortable with a specific area of code or have never like experimenting with new technology, etc. And this leads to major problem like they think. Why one must listen or be a part of sprint review/ planning meetings to discuss about a feature you are unlikely to help develop in the Sprint or ever? So this becomes a challenging to a scrum master, such that he must be e sure of a creating a right-sized team which doesn’t escape from responsibilities  instead should make  everyone to work on every feature.

 

Scrum Challenge


Sai Kushaal Kathiravan, Senior Test Engineer

Maveric Systems Pvt. Ltd

Being a Scrum Master, I should be a facilitator in this situation. Since, Sprint Planning answers the following:
What can be delivered in the Increment resulting from the upcoming Sprint? How will the work needed to deliver the Increment be achieved?
I should understand the following from the team & team member:
  1. does the Development Team consider this a problem? If not, there is nothing to do. If it is a problem, the Development Team should have an open and honest discussion about the problem with Scrum Master to try to come to solutions.
  2. I would like to learn from the team member on “Why is he/she reluctant to participate in Sprint Plan meeting?”
  3. I will explain to team member the benefits of attending & then have them want to attend is a far stronger tactic.
  4. If still the person does not buy in and doesn’t show up. I would have take the line manager talk to the team member. Since, it’s my job to improve the process and help the member along, but it’s the line manager’s job to make sure they do what is asked of them.


Ankit Sharma

Sprint planning meeting is one of the important scrum ceremonies that drives the course of the following sprint. Entire Scrum team including PO, SM, Dev, test,design folks should be a part of this ceremony. Sprint goal is presented by PO, Stories are moved from Product Backlog to Sprint backlog and Scrum Team estimates stories during the same ceremony. Prioritization is done and Sprint backlog is discussed. Even though Sprint backlog refinement can be carried out during Sprint duration in some cases as well. If any team member does not want to participate, they should be sensitized about the purpose of the ceremony and explained the benefits of this. Ideally, SM should enable each and every member in the team to understand the benefits of these ceremonies.

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We have published all the 3 blogs of Level 1 :

1. What technique do you follow for the retrospective meeting?
2. What is the Difference between Traditional Project Manager and Scrum Master?
3. How do you measure the story points? Provide examples.