The Rules of Scrum: I attend every Sprint Retrospective Meeting in-person

The Sprint Retrospective meeting supports the Scrum value of Openness and the principle of inspect and adapt.  This rule of Scrum also aligns with the Agile Manifesto principles “at regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”  In-person attendance of all Scrum Team members allows for the fullest level of openness among Team Members which in turn is necessary to use the Retrospective to find improvements in how the team functions.  If even one team member attempts to attend this meeting by any other means, either by phone or even video conferencing, efficiency and effectiveness of the openness and inspect and adapt becomes compromised. Compromise on these principles yields compromised collective ownership of improvement efforts. Lack of in-person participation increases the likelihood that the team will fail to implement improvements because the openness and inspect and adapt will lack effectiveness.  This, in turn, hinders the team from reaching a high-performance state.

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4 thoughts on “The Rules of Scrum: I attend every Sprint Retrospective Meeting in-person”

  1. I know you are probably not intending it, but this comes across as a rather dogmatic approach. To what extent would insisting everyone must attend every meeting in person affect general flexibility of the team? How do you handle the adaptiveness teams often require when there are issues with for example needing to take kids to a medical appointment, or dropping a car at the mechanic etc. If the team members feel that these sort of tasks which happen in everybody’s life is seen as compromising the team, will that not lead to resentment of the team processes? Do you make exceptions for such times? How does your team handle such scenarios, I would be curious how you can manage that.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the great question. I’ve seen different teams do different things. One of the most interesting examples was a team where one member became ill and needed to take an extended leave of absence. In their retrospective, the team had the honesty and courage to identify this person’s absence as an obstacle… And they had the team spirit that enabled them to decide that the way to overcome the obstacle was to help that team member recover as quickly as possible. They couldn’t do too much, but they made meals, fetched medicine and groceries, and generally showed a great deal of love and compassion towards the sick team member.

      Other examples are simpler: if a team member must regularly drop off a child for daycare, then move the time of meetings or the start/end of the Sprint…. Or find out if the team member can “trade” duties with their spouse to enable them to attend in person.

      High performance teams get personal. These examples may sound bad, but if you knew the feeling of love on these teams, you would realize that this is _exactly_ how work should be.

  2. Buenas!! he estado investigando las ultimas unas 5 horas en online esta tarde y no
    he visto nada tan sensacional como tu articulo. Me ha enamorado mucho el estilo que gastas al escribir imagino que es
    lo que me ha llegado. En mi opinion, si casi todos redactores proponen esta calidad
    en los contenidos, Internet seria mucho mas practico.
    Espero que brindes mas asi y pueda seguir disfrutando contenidos tan geniales
    como este.

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