Covid19 is a definite hardship, but collaboration, planning, and execution of planning iteration goals have gone swimmingly for the affected planning iterations having resounding success in converting a largely in person office activities transitioning to seamless distributed work.
Reults have been in the upper bounds of the optimistic forecasts. As our situation is unique and agile is an adaptive process of improving processes I would like to propose a new variation of planning iteration feature candidate planning for the next planning iteration after the current to increase engagement and transparency.
As we are stakeholders in the success of proposed candidate features and perform the work to build it out I think that giving implementation associates (my perspective) time to process information asynchronously to prepare questions and possible points of collaboration for improvement and reduction in duplicative work would be improved by a split format feature candidate meeting.
As we are all distributed and operating in a variety of timezones and personal constraints (family, health, home, etc) this seems an apt time to try new ideas and formats and with asynchronous communication a key success point of distributed workplaces and pushing to stretch more into this realm should yield multiplied holistic improvements rather than trying to replicate the in office forms and norms translated to distributed workplace where they may not work as efficiently and cause added stress.
Current process: Single Feature Candidate meeting involving all stakeholders is held at single time that all members sign into
- Immediate responses
- Single meeting
- No time for deep thinking to occur to look for patterns and connections that are not apparent until thinking things through and viewing the proposals from multiple perspectives
- Time constrained to keep all associates in single meeting
- Technical issues can cause delays and missed information to be captured
- Engagement (questions, connections on details) from implementation associates is low (my observations from last planning iterations I have attended)
Proposed process: Two Feature Candidate meetings only second meeting involved all stakeholders.
First meeting is at level of scrum master and product owners (Limit time to less than original single meeting, perhaps 45 minutes). Is recorded and sent to all stakeholders for viewing at least 24 hours prior to second meeting which all stakeholders will attend and to have presubmitted and live questions/comments answered and discussed (15 minute meeting or however remaining time from first meeting is split up for this meeting).
- Recorded initial meeting for reference (also allows ability stop, playback at different speeds, make notes, etc)
- Multiple meetings gives flexibility of schedule if say a product owner is not available that time can be shipped to second meeting
- Time for introspection and engage in deep thinking to look for patterns and connections
- Technical issues are mitigated by redundancy of meetings
- Engagement will rise as implementation associates can think through scenarios of other presenting teams
- Immediacy is not present in first meeting for implementation associates, however I argue that immediacy is gained back in second meeting
- If time limits are not enforced meetings could overrun boundaries