Should we have all sprint tasks assigned at sprint planning?
Sprint Tasks Tips: Staying Focused when Agile Sprint Planning
Assigning tasks at sprint planning makes us task-driven or more focused on our tasks than the goal of the sprint. For some time, it looks like we’re making rapid improvements until some tasks get blocked. Then, we just move on only to later on realize that we haven’t fixed all those tasks that were blocked. Now you’ve got just a little bit of time to resolve those things. More than that, when we’re task-driven, collaboration tends to be a last resort rather than a first resort.
Here’s what I mean:
Imagine Bill and I were on the same Scrum team. He’s a developer, I am too. If Bill is stuck on something and he comes to me for help. If I stop working on my task to help, I put at risk my ability to be successful because we’re only successful if each individual completes their task.
Not only that, I’m actually putting our sprint at risk. To avoid that, I’m more likely to make suggestions to Bill for some things he can do on his own. If it doesn’t work, he’ll come back and I’ll propose a few more until I run out of things that I can suggest. Then, I’ll ask to sit together with him and see if we can resolve this. Again, you see how collaboration is a last resort here.
Contrast that with the “just in time” approach where everyone working on the sprint is focused on that sprint goal and assigns themselves a task not at the beginning of the sprint, but when it is needed. The result? We learn from each other, build better and make real improvements.
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