Common Pitfalls of Scrum Teams and How to Avoid Them

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Has your company started to put together scrum teams to work on important projects?

Scrum teams date back to the mid-1990s when many software development companies started using them. They found the use of scrum teams to be very effective when it came to completing projects successfully.

So, what is a scrum team? Well, the typical scrum team size is often between five and nine people. There is a scrum master, a product owner, and a group of developers that are all put in charge of seeing a task through to the end.

While there are different scrum team roles, though, all scrum team members are believed to be equal. They’re supposed to aim to work collaboratively to reach a common goal for the good of their company. In many cases, they’ll even come up with scrum team names to make it a true team effort.

There are, however, mistakes that some scrum teams will make that’ll hold them back. If you’re going to be a part of a scrum team soon, you should make sure your team doesn’t make any of them.

Here are several of the most common pitfalls of scrum teams.

Treating a Scrum Master Like a Project Manager

As we just mentioned, there will be a scrum master who will be a part of every scrum team. But despite what you might think, this person is not going to be a project manager and work to hold others who are part of a scrum team accountable.

Instead, a scrum master will more or less be in charge of pushing other members of a scrum team to decide what part they’re going to play in their team’s success. They’re also going to help elevate any concerns that scrum team members may have and bring them to the attention of the whole team.

If scrum teams fall into the trap of thinking that scrum masters are project managers from the beginning, they’ll get off to a shaky start. It’ll make it more difficult than it should be for everyone who is involved in a scrum team to collaborate.

Neglecting to Hold Daily Scrums

Scrum teams should try to meet at least once each day for daily scrums. During these daily scrums, scrum team members will talk about what they worked on the previous day.

Scrum team members will also try to pinpoint what they’ll be working on next based on what other team members will be doing. Additionally, the scrum master will work to motivate team members to look ahead at what else needs to be done during a particular project.

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Far too often, scrum teams will hold daily scrums every day at first and then slowly fall off. This can drive wedges between scrum team members and make them feel like they’re operating on an island.

It’ll be important for scrum teams to stay on the same page at all times through the use of daily scrums.

Failing to Spot Obstacles at the Start of Sprints

While working on a project, a scrum team is going to break things up into a series of sprints. These sprints will represent the different aspects of a project that’ll need to get done. They’ll help prevent scrum teams from getting too far ahead of themselves at any point.

These sprints will also put scrum teams in a position to pinpoint problems that may be on the horizon. Developers can bring concerns up to a scrum master, and a scrum master can present them to the entire scrum team for further evaluation.

By pointing out these problems, scrum teams should be able to steer clear of them. They’ll also be able to complete sprints in a more timely fashion overall.

Forgetting to Hold Sprint Retrospectives

It’s imperative for scrum teams to keep one eye on the future as they approach new sprints. But it’s also equally important for them to take a look back at the end of sprints by holding what is called sprint retrospectives.

During sprint retrospectives, scrum teams will evaluate how a specific sprint went and make suggestions on what could have gone better. It’s essential for all scrum team members to be actively engaged in these sprint retrospectives.

A lack of participation is one of the worst mistakes with sprint retrospective scrums. Your scrum team’s sprint retrospectives won’t be as effective as they could and should be if everyone isn’t chiming in during them.

Struggling to Communicate Effectively at All Times

As you can probably imagine, communication will be key to the success of scrum teams. If scrum teams struggle to communicate at any time, it could result in them failing to successfully complete a project.

Common sense might tell you that it’ll be the responsibility of the scrum master to keep everyone communicating. But as we alluded to earlier, they aren’t going to shoulder all the responsibility for maintaining effective communication.

Every member of a scrum team needs to communicate and encourage others to communicate as well. It’ll make each sprint they take part in more worthwhile and lead to better results in the end. 

Scrum Teams Should Avoid All These Crucial Mistakes

If you haven’t ever taken part in a scrum team, it can be difficult to do it the first time. Some aspects of scrum teams will feel a little unnatural at first.

But as long as scrum teams avoid the mistakes listed here, they should be in the clear. You and your fellow scrum team members should keep these pitfalls in the back of your minds throughout a project and seek to steer clear of them as best you can.

Would you like to read more business-oriented articles that can help a scrum team succeed? Find them by browsing through the rest of our blog.


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