Extending the Scrum framework for better project management

scrum agile development DXC Blogs

Scrum — a management framework that focuses on cutting through complexity to better meet business needs — maps out the elements required to run a successful project. However, many projects need to go beyond the typical Daily, Planning, Review and Retro meeting sessions used in the Scrum process to be truly successful.

There are ways to enhance your Scrum framework, increase control and improve cooperation with key stakeholders. Below are suggestions for additional meetings, taken straight from DXC Technology best practices, that can help keep your process on track.

Scrum Master/Product Owner meeting (SM/PO)

Who Should Attend: Scrum Master and Product Owner

When Should They Meet: Recommended weekly, depending on the size of your backlog

As the name suggests, this meeting takes place between the SM and PO. Since neither is required at the Daily Scrum, they do not have a formal time to share any news, focus on issues or align the responsibilities. But for teams with differing agile experience, the responsibilities of one and another might seem fuzzy. This meeting is dedicated to clearing out that fuzziness.

In an ideal world, every scrum project would be 100% compliant with the Scrum Guide. However, these projects are very hard to come by. That’s why one of the main goals for SM is to create and implement the final vision of the scrum framework for the project, one that’s unique, tailored to your project and containing your own “flavor.” This requires cooperation and alignment between SM and PO.

A useful tool to manage your work is the SM/PO Backlog. This is a separate document with a list of issues or questions you should solve to keep your project running. Examples include trainings for the development team, documentation or stakeholder management.

Risks, Issues, Opportunities Management (RIOM) meeting

Who Should Attend: SM, PO, Program Manager, Development Team, relevant stakeholders

When Should They Meet: Recommended weekly, although it could be less often if merged with another meeting

The primary goal of RIOM is avoiding foreseeable issues. This is seemingly handled during the Daily Standups, when the development team shares any potential threats to the Sprint Goal. On the other hand, fixating only on the short-term risks may result in losing the big picture.

To counter that, we recommend having a separate meeting with relevant stakeholders. Inviting the development team makes sense, as they have hands-on knowledge of risks, issues or opportunities.

Steering Board meeting

Who Should Attend: Steering board, SM, PO

When Should They Meet: Should take place at least once a sprint. A rule of thumb is bi-weekly.

Every project needs control. Scrum makes it easier thanks to transparency and cooperation with the client. Ideally your Product Owner is part of the client’s organization, having a clear communication channel with business stakeholders.

As a Scrum Master, you still want to be able to inform or influence your stakeholders. Experience shows that Review meeting is not enough to avoid hazardous communication gaps. The overall status of the project needs to be tracked and managed closely. The more information shared with stakeholders, the more support you can muster from management.

Transparency is encouraged in the agile approach, and meeting with your Steering Board is crucial to ensure communication gaps are bridged before they cause delays or harm your project. Steering Board meetings can be successfully combined with RIOM.

Roadmap update meeting

Who Should Attend: Scrum Team

When Should They Meet: Quarterly and/or after major business changes of the project

Product Backlog is one of the key tools for Product Owner. Backlog is supplemented beautifully with the Product Roadmap. Product Roadmap outlines high-level directions, functionalities or areas of product development over a 1-year period (could be longer). In other words, it helps express the product vision.

PO is responsible for keeping the roadmap up to date. This document gives the Scrum Team a better understanding of how the sprints align with the overall direction of the project. Although roadmap is created and maintained by PO (in conjunction with the business stakeholders), it’s vital that the Scrum Team stays informed.

This is only a handful of meetings to enhance your Scrum framework, providing  guidelines about possible shortcomings. Ultimately, it’s up to the Scrum Master to tailor the framework to the needs of the project.

Do you use any of the suggested meetings? What other tools do you use that supplement the official Scrum framework?


Tomas Marcinkevičius is a Project Manager at DXC Baltic. His focus is on implementing Agile methodology in global project teams and performing the role of Scrum Master in software development. Additional experience in Waterfall allows for flexible project setup with pure or hybrid models to match the client’s needs.

Prior to DXC, he worked as an analyst at a business consulting company, operating in both public and private sectors. Additional experience includes leading an NGO for 5 years and working as a project coordinator at a policy think tank. Find him on LinkedIn.

 

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Comments

  1. Aditya Sangar says:

    Good knowledgeable article.

    Like

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