Communication in Scrum

In order to create more effective processes and stronger teams here at ASR, we have recently been adapting some of the Scrum and Agile methodologies. New terminaology comes with these new concepts – Sprint, Interrupt, Impediment, Product Owner, Scrum Master, Timebox. Scrum attempts to make conversations clear among team members by providing some of this basic vocabulary, in an attempt to make things consistent when communicating.

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As we all know proper communication is a great stride toward better departments and working environments. A few weeks ago our resident Scrum Master shared with our company some insight into communication in the form of three of the five “Scrum Values” – specifically Courage, Respect, and Openness (Focus and Commitment being the other two).

There is an importance stressed for “Honesty” in Scrum, but this of course must come from a place of trust and respect. You can be completely honest with your coworkers, leaders, clients, without being brutal. That honesty and directness, paired with the given vocabulary, can help most when individuals need to have difficult conversations. If coming from an invested place, with best interests at heart and clear terms to use, this can be achieved.

ASR is committed to making some of these organizational changes and working to improve workflow. When teams can address issues directly and quickly, all within trusted relationships, they can secure more output for their clients. In order to have these open conversations we are working on skills that sound simple but often can be very hard to achieve in communication. Active listening, addressing items as soon as possible, talk with facts not emotion (feelings and perceptions are important), then be constructive.

As we work to better our communication among ASR internally, we hope to bring that to our clients externally. Weekly stand up reports and conferences, ticketing systems, interactive project management software, client surveys and backlog lists. We hope that the adaptation of some of these practices will help us better hear and see the needs of all our customers.