No matter what process you are using based on the Agile manifesto and principles, there will always be external pressures to break your own rules.
If you find this is happening too often and the usual conversations aren’t working, perhaps you can make use of the “Days Without Breaking Sprint Rules” sign I created, inspired by the “Days Since Last Accident signs that are commonplace in health and safety campaigns.
Not only can this sign act as an outside signal that you want to adhere to your rules, it can give a little extra motivation to resist external demands.
Please use the sign responsibly – don’t use it to be snarky or to block the things that need to happen. Here is a real life example of how you might use it.
So we have a small number of Sprint rules. We came up with the rules as a result of our retrospectives. The rules were reminders for behaviours that we knew made us more effective. Things like:
- No off sprint work
- Always re-plan before taking in new work
- No changes to the named team
- Re-planning is the exception, not the rule
- Start less, finish sooner
But in times of crisis it is easy to forget these reminders and take in work without a proper re-plan. This always comes back to haunt the team, because without re-planning things get forgotten – for example it was a quick programming fix, but required a large amount of testing.
So use this sign responsibly to encourage the focus on following your own process.
Sign credit: Days Without Breaking Sprint Rules, by Steve Fenton
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Cartoon credit: Cornered, © Mike Baldwin (107258/144419).