As i've mentioned in prior posts, i like to shake things up a little bit in our daily scrum on fridays.
This past Friday i gave my newest employee the helm with the following request:
"In descending order the number of colours a person is wearing in their clothing. Shades do not count, if it's blue, it's just blue. You may ask each person two questions. For the purposes of this task shoes count as clothing but accessories do not. Underwear is in scope."
So the person i gave the task to looked around at what people were wearing and picked someone and proceeded to not ask them anything. Slightly uncharacteristically for this type of task i helped out a bit and said, 'you know, a question you might ask is, "how many colours are you wearing?"' The person took my lead and answered, indicating 7 colours. So we go their update and then the leader went on to pick another person, not ask how many colours they were wearing and directed them to start. At this point i injected the rule that each person had to announce their colour count upon being chosen and then give their scrum update. This next person was wearing 4 colours.
That ended up being the fewest colours i think. but they were all over the board between 4 and a second 7. It was fun for the team, they bonded and worked together in getting the answers out.
In the end though i got to do something that i haven't really done in the past during one of these scrum exercises. I was able to say, 'this scrum has a lesson right in it for you. The results that you've seen here (nowhere near descending) are precisely what you get when you don't gather your requirements and information before you start developing." This got immediate and vocal feedback because as QA's, it related to their experience with code they've been shipped time-and-time again across their careers. As always the best lesson is the lesson lived and learned.
As an end note, i wish that i could say that i went into this knowing that we were going to learn this lesson. Really i wasn't. I was simply forwarding my quest to get my team to think out of the box, think quickly, respond to changing circumstances intelligently but with resolve and decisiveness, to team build a little and best of all, have a little fun. In fact, i can't even claim that this scrum request was my own. i wasn't feeling so creative so 10 minutes before the scrum i emailed my wife and said, 'this is your one opportunity to guide my scrum today. you have 9 minutes to provide an idea for determining scrum order,' and she came back with this one.
I will take credit for spotting the message however.