Let them do own experiences

I have a little brother and at the time he was a kid I took care of him so he wouldn’t do anything stupid. My dad always told me to let him do(as long as he wouldn’t kill himself) and added that my brother would feel the consequences of his doing and learn from it. This rule counts for a scrum team the same as for my brother.

Both Sprint Planning were set for the day, four hours each. I started the meeting by reminding everybody, what the Sprint Planning I is all about, namely figuring out WHAT exactly the team will do in the next sprint.

Shortly after we started, the team and the product owner were talking dedicated about the Backlog items, but once in a while the team slipped to the question of HOW to realize things. Being the moderator I pointed out that this meeting is not meant to clarify the HOW but the WHAT. Reminding them a couple times without any success I decided to let them do their thing and waited for Sprint Planning II.

My plan was to start the Sprint Planning II by asking every single team member, if he knows exactly WHAT the team will do in the next sprint and if he is able to explain me the items. I asked the first team member WHAT they committed to do and listened to his explanation of the first item.
Suddenly the whole team was talking and everyone was disagreeing, because every single one had his own understanding of the item. I pointed out the fact and told them, again, they were talking about the HOW in Sprint Planning I – this time they agreed.

We repeated Sprint Planning I and were having Sprint Planning II the next day. We lost half a day of our sprint, but believe me it was worth it. Every single member of the team was able to explain exactly what they committed to and were more confident working on the items, leading to better code and ergo a better product.

It’s not always a need of controlling. Sometimes you have to let go, so they draw their own conclusions and learn from them. My team didn’t just learn what the planning are made for, they realized what it means to be self-organized.

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