SAFe certification cheat sheet

Which statement is true about Work-In-Process (WIP) limits?
– Lower limits improve flow [4-5]

What replaces detailed requirements documents? – User Stories

Which two statements describe the responsibilities of the Product Owner? (Choose two.) – Single voice for customer and stakeholders, and to own and manage team backlog [2-15, 2-17]

implementing quality in Lean-Agile environment – Culture

What is an example of a Program event? – Scrum of Scrums

What is the goal of the SAFe House of Lean model? – Value [1-28]

Which responsibility belongs to the Product Owner in the team?
To sequence backlog items to program priorities, events, and dependencies

Which two views does the Iteration Review provide into the Program? (Choose two.) – How the team is doing in the Program Increment, and how the team did on the iteration (sprint) [4-38]

What is an example of a modified Fibonacci sequence? – …5, 8, 13, 20, 40…

What is the benefit of separating release elements from the Solution? – It allows the release of different Solution elements at different times

The Agile Release Train aligns teams to a common mission using a single Vision and what else? – The Program Backlog [2-21]

The “3 Cs” is a popular guideline for writing user stories. What does each of the three C’s represent? (Choose three.) – Card (WIT, Feature, User Story), Conversation (Acceptance Criteria), and Confirmation (Acceptance) [3-10]

What is the role of the System Architect/Engineer? – To guide the teams and support the Architectural Runway [2-21]

What is typically included in the Definition of Done for the team increment? – Stories are accepted by the Product Owner [4-37]

The Inspect and Adapt event always starts with which activity? – The PI System Demo [5-38]

When should a component team be used – To obtain high reuse and technical specialization with a focus on Non-functional Requirements.

Iteration Planning, Iteration Review, and Backlog Refinement are examples of which type of event? – Team events [5-31]

Which factor helps unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workers? – Autonomy [2-4]

Which practices are demonstrated during the Inspect and Adapt event? – Reflect, problem solve, and identify improvement actions

Which statement describes a cadence-based PI Planning event? – It is an all-hands, two day event with the goal to identify impediments that could happen [5-4]

Which statement is true about Iteration planning for Kanban teams? – Kanban teams publish Iteration Goals [3-33]

Which concepts are part of Kanban for teams? – Visualize work flow, limit WIP, improve flow [1-52]

What is one of the typical Kanban class of service for Agile Teams? – Funnel

Why is the modified Fibonacci sequence used when estimating? – It reflects the uncertainty in estimating larger items

A Cumulative Flow Diagram focuses on which curves? – Arrival curve (“to-do”) and Departure curve (“done”)

What is the recommended size of an Agile Team? – 5-9 people (7 +/- 2) but 5-11 on test

SAFe Core Values – Built-in Quality, Alignment, Program Execution, and Transparency

What is the role of the Scrum Master? – To act as a servant leader who helps teams self-organize, self-manage, and deliver using effective Agile practices

What are two reasons Agile development is more beneficial than waterfall development? (Choose two.) – It allows businesses to deliver value to the market more quickly
It increases productivity and employee engagement thanks the using of paystubs information.

If the PI System Demo shows the current state of the Solution, then who is this demo intended for? – The Business Owners

Which statement is true about the PI Planning event? – Everyone in the program over two day period

Goal of SAFe House of Lean model – Value

How does relentless improvement support value in the SAFe House of Lean? – It optimizes the whole

What is the purpose of the Iteration Review? – To measure the team’s progress by showing working Stories to the stakeholders and getting feedback from them

An Agile Team collects the Iteration metrics they have agreed upon during which part of the team retrospective? – During the quantitative part of the team retrospective [4-40]

What is the role of the Release Train Engineer? – 1. To coach teams to improve their results
2. To serve as the Scrum Master for the Agile Release Train

How can a technical exploration enabler be demonstrated? – Show the knowledge gained by the exploration [3-11]

Which three questions should each team member answer during the Daily Stand-up? (Choose three.) – What did I do yesterday to advance the Iteration goals?
What will I do today to advance the Iteration goals?
Are there any impediments that will prevent the team from meeting the Iteration goals? [4-30]

Which practice promotes built-in quality? – TDD

What are the four levels of the Scaled Agile Framework? – Team, Program, Large Solution, Portfolio [1-15]

What visibility should Scrum Masters provide during the Agile Release Train Sync? – Visibility into progress and impediments

Which statement reflects one of the steps for setting initial velocity? – The team members assess their availability, acknowledging time off and other potential duties [3-23]

Which activity is key to successfully implementing the Scaled Agile Framework? – Use a cadence-based PI Planning process

Jane is a Product Owner. It is day seven of the Iteration and her team tells her that they may miss their Iteration commitment. What should Jane do? – Support pulling a story that has not been started.

Quality is first and foremost a function of what in a Lean-Agile environment? – Culture of shared responsibility [4-22]

What are the Five Core Competencies of the Lean Enterprise introduced by SAFe 4.6? –
1. Lean-Agile Leadership
2. Team and Technical Agility
3. DevOps and Release on Demand
4. Business Solutions and Lean Systems Engineering
5. Lean Portfolio Management

On the seventh day of the iteration, the team realizes that they will not complete 5 of 13 Stories. The Product Owner (PO) says she cannot negotiate the scope of the remaining Stories any further. What is the PO’s best course of action? – Stop the current iteration and plan new iteration with new knowledge

What is the major benefit of reducing batch size? – Increases throughput

What is one responsibility of the Scrum Master? – To remove impediments in order to help protect the team

Which statement is true about Features and Stories? – Features can be larger than an Iteration, but Stories should be small enough to fit into an iteration. Each Feature should have at least five stories.

What best supports Innovation in the SAFe House of Lean? – Fast learning cycles

What information does Cumulative Flow Diagram provide? – The data for the team to identify current bottlenecks

Which two statements describe Agile Release Train – 1. It is the primary value delivery construct in the Scaled Agile Framework
2. It is long lived, self-organizing, virtual organization of 5-12 Agile Teams that plan, commit and execute

Which statement defines the purpose of Iteration Planning? – It is to organize the work and define a realistic scope for the Iteration

A decrease in variability leads to an increase in what? – Predictability

What are two behaviors of an effective Scrum Master? – 1. To facilitate the team’s progress towards the Iteration goals
2. To act as a servant leader and exhibit Lean-Agile leadership

Which statement describes the balance between emergent design and intentional architecture when talking about building quality? – It is required for speed of value and solution intent

What is one recommended way of splitting Features into Stories during a PI Planning event? – Implement the simplest variant of the functionality first them implement the rest as an enhancement

Which statement describes the event that occurs at the end of each Iteration to identify the team’s opportunities for continuous improvement? – The Iteration Retrospective

What should be taken into account when estimating Story point size? – Complexity

Product Management is responsible for “what gets built” as defined by the Vision, Roadmap, and what else? – Program backlog

Which statement is true about Iteration Planning? – It is required for every Iteration to enable fast learning cycles

What are three practices of Extreme Programming (P)? – 1. Pair Programming
2. Continuous Integration
3. Test-driven Development

The Scrum Master wants to establish a team’s initial velocity. A team has two testers, three developers, one full-time Scrum Master, and a Product Owner split between two teams. What is their normalized velocity before calculating time off? – 40

What is one key benefit of a Backlog Refinement session? – It provides time to identify dependencies and issues that could impact the net iteration

The Release Train Engineer is a servant leader who displays which two actions or behaviors? – 1. Creates an environment of mutual influence
2. Listens and supports teams in problem identification and decision-making

The Daily Stand-up time-box should not exceed how many minutes? – 15 minutes

A user story includes which three things? – 1. What
2. Why
3. Who

Continuous Deployment (CD) has is elements that, when followed, keep each team member, team, and the Agile Release Train on track. Which two statements best describe elements of CD? – 1. Maintain a staging environment that emulates production
2. Automate testing features and Non-functional Requirements

Which statement describes a cross-functional team? – Each team can define, build and test a component or feature

How does a Team Demonstrate Progress? – With an Iteration Review

When is the System Demo conducted during Program Execution? – At the end of every iteration

What is the recommended length of an iteration? – 2 weeks

What is the goal of the PI Planning event? – To create a plan for the upcoming PI showing how stories map to the iteration

Which statement is true of the Iteration Goals? – They align a team to a common vision of work in the iteration

Which statement is true about pair work in the Scaled Agile Framework? – It comes from pair programming in Extreme Programming (P)

Which statement describes the information within a Story? – A story provides just enough information for the intent to be understood by both business and technical people

What is Scrum? – A lightweight process for cross-functional, self-organized teams

During the Inspect and Adapt event, how are reflection, data collection, problem solving, and identification of improvement actions used? – To increase the quality and reliability of the net PI

A team finishes developing all of their Stories in the first si days of the Iteration, test them in the following two days, and files bugs in the days remaining. How is the team behaving? – They are water falling the Iteration

Which statement is true about the purpose of a Work-In-Process constraint? – It encourages collaboration and enables flow

What does a Program Board help Teams identify? – Dependencies between teams

Which practice promotes built-in-quality? – Iteration Planning

The CALMR approach to DevOps includes Automation, Lean Flow, Measurement, and Recovery. What does the “C” represent? – Culture

What is the role of the Product Owner? – To represent the customer to the Agile Team. To write the stories that make up the team backlog.

What type of visibility should Product Owners provide during the Agile Release Train Sync? – Visibility into Scope and Priority backlog

What type of information can be easily seen in Cumulative Flow Diagram? – Work in Progress across the team. The data for the team to identify current bottlenecks.

According to definition of “Done”, who must provide final approval? – The Release Management

What is one of the is step in problem solving workshop? – Identify the biggest root cause using Pareto analysis

During iteration execution, a team’s velocity tends to be most affected by what? – Changing team size, team makeup, and technical contest

What are the SAFe core values? –
1. Built-in Quality
2. Program Execution
3. Alignment
4. Transparency

Modified Fibonacci Sequence – 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 80, 100….

Which is a sample of a part of an Iteration Retrospective? – Team discussion around opportunities for continuous improvement

How does a team demonstrate progress? – Agile Team measures and then demonstrates its progress by showing working stories to the Product Owner (PO) and other stakeholders to get their feedback.

Which activity happens in the Inspect and Adapt workshop? – Refining the Program Backlog

An Agile team has two characteristics? – 1. Agile Team is a cross-functional group of 5-11 people who have the responsibility to define, build, test, and where applicable deploy, some element of Solution value
2. A group of dedicated individuals who are empowered, self-organizing, self-managing, and deliver value

SAFe – Scaled Agile Question Bank 4

31. An organization is conducting their first PI Planning session, and the new teams are asked to provide their capacity. Which three actions are part of the initial capacity planning process? (Choose three.)
Find a small story that takes about a day to develop and call it a one
Compare final team capacity across all teams and make individual team adjustments
Add the points for all the recently completed Features and use that as a baseline for future capacity
Ensure Product Owner/Product Manager approval for all capacity adjustments based on time
Subtract one point for every team member’s vacation day, public holiday, or training day
Use eight points per person (adjust for part-time employees)

32. What does the Lean UX process begin with?
A benefit hypothesis
A minimum marketable feature
A collaborative design
An evaluation

33. Epics require an Epic Owner and what else?
A Solution Intent
A Lean Business Case
A Definition of Done
An Economic Framework

34. Which two job roles are good candidates for becoming a Product Owner? (Choose two.)
UX Experts
Line Managers
Scrum Masters
Business Analysts

Business and technology

Subject Matter Experts
35. Which role is responsible for working with customers and creating the Vision?
System Architect
Release Train Engineer
Product Manager
Product Owner

36. The first three elements of the Continuous Delivery Pipeline work together to support delivery of small batches of new functionality. These continuous elements include Exploration, Integration, and what else?
37. Why would Product Owners and Product Managers be key collaborators in the enterprise?
They are key roles in steering and sequencing the Agile Release Train priorities
They plan all the key events for the Program Increment
They plan Portfolio strategy horizons for the enterprise
They provide governance and spending practices for the value streams

38. What is one way to establish a team’s velocity?
Look at the average story points completed from the last Iterations
Add the story points for all Features completed in the Iteration
Add the story points for all the stories planned for the Iteration
Calculate the percentage planned versus actual story complete for an Iteration
39. A Lean Business Case can identify the impact on sales and which other two areas? (Choose two.)
40. The Work-in-Process limit at the Analyzing step of the Program Kanban is based on the overall availability of Product Management, other subject matter experts, and the capacity of which two other roles? (Choose two.)
Business Owners
Agile Portfolio Operations
Release Train Engineer
System Architects
Lean Agile Center of Excellence

Read 41 to 50

SAFe – Scaled Agile Question Bank 3

21. Three collaborations make up the Lean Portfolio Management competency: Strategy and Investment Funding, Lean Governance, and what else?
Business Owners

financial performance
System Architect
Scrum Master
Agile Portfolio Operations

22. Which role has the responsibility for accepting stories and team increments?
Scrum Master
Product Owner
Product Manager
Release Train Engineer

23. Features in Program Backlogs can result from what?
Decomposing Enabler Stories
Refining the Team Backlog
Aggregating stories into Features
Splitting Epics or Capabilities

24. What does assigning business value to a team’s PI Objectives influence?
How often team deploys
How teams plan the implementation
How the Kanban WIP limits are set
How to achieve objectives
25. The Product Manager has content authority for the Program Backlog including: the Vision, the Roadmap, driving the PI Objectives, and what else?
Establishing Features and Benefit Hypothesis
Managing risk, helping to ensure value delivery, and driving continuous improvement
Accepting stories and team increments
Working with business stakeholders and Solution and System Architects to implement holistic technology across Value Streams

26. How do Business Owners quantify the value of PI Objectives?
By assigning business value
By totaling the Epic budget
By estimating return on investment
By assigning story points

27. Which statement describes the Team and Technical Agility enterprise competency?
Solution trains that coordinate multiple Agile Release Trains and suppliers
A collaboration that creates Lean budget and investment guardrails
Cross-functional, self-organizing teams that define, build, test and possibly deploy valuable things
A Community of Practice that leads the transformation

28. Product Managers are expected to collaborate in planning the amount of upcoming Enabler work by establishing what?
Team Backlog prioritization
Completed Epic acceptance criteria
Accurate user story sizing
Capacity allocation

29. What are two inputs to the Solution Vision? (Choose two.)
Feature context
Portfolio Backlog
Portfolio Enablers
Strategic Themes
Customer feedback

30. How frequently should the Program Backlog be reviewed?
When the Epic owners are defining the Epic Value Statement
Before every PI
Every week

Read 31-40

Agile Myths

Myth 1. Stand-up is a status meeting
Reality – The Daily standup is a Planning Meeting. It promotes Collaboration, Self-Organization, Enables inspection and Adaptation, Focus on achieving the outcome.

Myth 2. Pair programming decreases the productivity
Reality – The pair programming increases the productivity in majority of the cases if done in right way.

Myth 3. Agile doesn’t need project manager
Reality – The Scrum Master plays a role of a project manager.

Myth 4. Agile is another word for Scrum.
Reality – The Scrum is one of the Agile framework. There are many more like Kanban, XP, FDD etc.

Myth 5. Agile is faster than Waterfall
Agile is less about delivering software faster, and more about delivering value faster.

Myth 6. Agile means no documentation
Agile doesn’t do documentation for documentation’s sake. Documentation is like any other deliverable on an Agile project. It gets estimated, and prioritized like any other user story.

Myth 7. We’re a self-organizing Agile team, so we can do anything we want
Reality – The core principles are not allowed to be tailored. It is a lightweight process while the core practices are expected to be followed.

Myth 8. Agile is a silver bullet
Reality – The projects done in Agile do fail. It cannot be an excuse to stop thinking. Agile promotes fail faster philosophy so that one can learn from it.

Myth 9. The story points can be exactly translated to hours.
Reality – When the team gets mature, you can translate it to approx but not exact hours.

Myth 10. The product owners, developers and scrum masters get to do what they like.
Reality – The Agile is very disciplined framework. Every role has set of responsibilities. The core responsibilities should not be switched.

Myth 11. There is always a right size for a user story.
Reality – Every team is different hence there is no right size of the user story. The team producing 30 story points can be more productive than the team doing 45 story points.

Myth 12. Agile means no planning, no design
Reality – Agile typically needs more planning and design than waterfall. Both of these activities happen throughout the development.

Social Experiment : Do we need a Scrum Master in a self organising team?

In a typical agile team, the scrum master is the coordinator/facilitator who makes everything going in the team properly. However, when the team is highly self-organising, do we even need a facilitator? We have a detailed post on the role of a scrum master here.

We have asked this question to a group of experts in different social forums and we have received around 1200+ responses. Here is a quick stats around the same.

  • 9% feels we don’t need scrum master at all.
  • 14% believes that the SM is a full-time role.
  • Rest 77% strongly believes that full-time SM is effective in the start, or in an immature team.

This survey reflects what we have observed in our agile projects.

When we are building a team or team is immature(staffing changes etc), we need SM to help and coach the team by asking right questions.  As the team grows up in maturity, the individual team members know how to organize themselves and hold each other accountable. This is one of the important reason why SM role becomes redundant after some time. And this is also the reason why organizations prefer to hire technical people who can play scrum master role. But in order to attain this maturity, the team members will have to be open for new learnings and continually improve.

Here we have picked some (not limited to) of the comments from the experts we did experiment with. The question being asked was

Do we really need a scrum master in Scrum project? If so, does it have to be full time? Isn’t self-organizing team killing the concept of SM? 

Comments from experts

1. Yes….as much it seems like an oxymoron to have both concepts in concert with each other, you need to have the “check and balance system” embodied by having a separate SM from the team. The team is made up of humans, who are fallible and will attempt to take shortcuts over time. The SM is a check against the scrum team’s desire to “get things done” and circumvent the scrum process.

2. Ideally any team member can be called as a Scrummaster. I can only call the SM designated as a process expert contributor.
The key responsibilities certainly needs a defined role to drive it so it reduces the burden on either the Manger or team.

Also , with value and business ask in mind its challenging for the Manager to inspire, create value, and follow the princple 5 ” build projects across motivated indivduals and trust them that the job can be done” whilst if it can be done, it can be tried out.

3. Scrum is a smallish change to jow people work. 5 hours a week. That said…if you’re running scrum in a not friendly to agile work environment….scrum is essential. However, if you’ve got a long term agile team, whose environment lets them work, the role is less necessary.

Really…the scrum master role as practiced is NOT about scrum, but rather about making the team work effectively together. Once that’s good…?

The XP model creates agile team functionality differently, by shifting work patterns for 35 hours a week, rather than scrums 5 hour change. Honestly, that changes team culture far faster than scrum, and the tech practices shops dont find the role necessary.

Without a deep established culture or hardcore paired-tdd-ci practices, you want a scrum master.

4. Real professionals don’t need a SM. It will save them time.

5.  Once the team is self reliant, scrum masters role becomes redundant.. Either scrum master has to be one of the tech leads or a contractual role to train the teams.

6. Looking at this link, we need SM to fix these scenarios.

7. That depends on the nature of the project. If it is a fairly large sized project with multiple dependent upstream and downstream systems, there would be a fair amount of communication and coordination required. This should happen before, during and after sprint planning. Team members do not need to worry about all these administrative work. They can concentrate on actual tasks. Also, in my personal experience, however well planned you are, things do not go smooth as planned. In that case, there is a need to capture details around any delays by our own team or any other dependent systems and review and revise the integration tests, release plans, deploys to higher environments and finally present the cost of delay and value being delivered to business. This is all just a few tasks for an SM when the project is fairly large sized with up/downstream dependencies. Other typical tasks include, communications with end users whenever required, challenging and motivating teams, conducting team building activities which helps team not only build relationships but provides some relief from day to day and hour to hour work.

8. However mature teams are, if a candid discussion happens during grooming, planning team members need someone else to facilitate their conversations, disagreements and help them come to an agreement. SM can apply various techniques in these situations and it would be totally unreasonable to expect a participant team member to play that facilitator role and be neutral (just not practical)

9. I’ve had the great pleasure to work with many different teams across many organization types, development processes, and industries. Whenever a team loved Scrum Masters, it was because the Scrum Masters were properly performing their role and getting things done, removing road blocks for the team, facilitating effective meetings and conversations, and so much more.

All of the projects I’ve been on where there was no formal Scrum Master role were teams that had one at one point, but dropped them because they were not effective. They blamed the role instead of the individual.

Find effective Scrum Masters and hold them accountable just as you would any other team member. If they aren’t getting the job done for you, find one that will!

10. When a team is mature enough, this is true that need for a Scrum Master is over.
If the team is self-organizing, cross-functional and respects naturally Scrum ceremonies ; if communication with the PO is smooth, there is no misunderstandings, it means that a Scrum Master would be superfluous.
On top of that, the role of Scrum Master still exists: the difference is that it is endorsed by team members, with no prior assignation, but spontaneously, depending on the context.

11. The need of a SM depends on the tasks that he performs. So whether a SM will be required or not will be determined by the availability of resource to perform that role. So if there are skilled resources who is available to perform those tasks then I think the need for SM is already fulfilled.

12. Although SM role is critical but if thats the case all the times it means your team in not improving. If the team is improving, you need to assign other work to SM (Assign other projects, ask to contribute on technology, design etc). If that is not happening, you should plan to bring new SM.

13. Scrum master is ‘Servant Leader’ in practice. Which means he/she has to adapt to leadership style based on ‘Team’ is at what stage. Whether ‘Forming’, ‘Storming, ‘ Norming’ or ‘Performing’. Once the team reaches ‘Performing’, SM job becomes redundant. And at ‘Adjourning’ the last stage SM is no more needed team to do its function effectively, independent and consistent performance. At this SM would also reach its peak of leadership ‘Pinnacle’.

14. A team can gel despite all kinds of organizational impediments to agility. The SM is not obsolete until those impediments are identified and addressed effectively.

15. For a program with multiple streams and releases, a dedicated SM is more or less a necessity. With obvious(more) focus during the initial stages, the SM involvement can reduce as the team imbibes the mindset that is expected of a proper self organised team. He or she will ideally bring in the culture that sets the team on the progressive path

16.  A dedicated Scrum Master is not needed in a Performing team. However, it is frequently the case that a team degrades over time after the Scrum Master leaves – so unless the team is able continuously keep focus on improving they might at least need regular check-ins from an agile coach (could be an actual agile coach or a leader in the organization or a Scrum Master from another team).

17. I don’t think need of SM can be completely eliminated, whether it is performing team or not as there are lot of things SM take care of such as improvement in processes, removing impediments, taking care of backlog, running sprint etc.

Someone from team should not be SM as this is independent role and it has to be a specialist for the job.

18. A team does not mature takes the time to mature. In a mature team, Scrum Master may not require, so a lot of other things e.g. sprint planning and refinement sessions merging, On demand retro instead of one retro per sprint, time boxing of sprint ( may be kanban), etc.

19. I don’t think the role of SM can be completely eliminated and not at least until the team is mature enough to identify impediments and able take actions to remove them or retrospect themselves. Yes, it would be a good idea to have a team member with willing to serve as SM as well, but that should happen at a later stage only as in SCRUM SM is a separate entity and can be supposed to serve multiple teams at the same time.

20. I think a SM is need at the start of the POD, but as stated above once the team starts moving and has proved they can produce and become self serving then the SM has be become obsolete. Now this can only happen if your product owner and B.A. are in tuned with the POD.

21. Instead of picking SM from outside, you can identify a good fit for this role within team and keep rotating. This would certainly increase your chances of getting better results and at the same time you are helping you team member to play interesting role who aspire to get into management.

DAR – How to find a better option when you have multiple solution for a given problem?

“You must choose … but choose wisely”   Your decisions play a critical to make or break your future. The company you choose, the girl or guy you marry, the house you buy, the career option you choose. Isn’t it a great idea to have a tool or intelligent mechanism to make the life easy which would help you to choose the best possible decision based on some real facts rather than some random decision?


DAR is a process to make key decisions in your organization and even in personal life more objectively and wisely. Just to add more clarity, what do you do when you have multiple solutions for a given problem? How do you decide to pick one that most suited and obviously wise?

Human psychology plays an important role while using this technique. We have a lot of information which we don’t really process rather we just go by Halo effect which is nothing but taking a decision based on what you have in your mind at that moment instead of considering all the inputs

Let’s take some examples

Business Decisions

Should I outsource or not.

Is it a good idea to start an XYZ office in Pune or Mumbai?

Technical Decision – Which technology to choose – C++, Java or .NET

Which technology to choose – C++, Java or .NET

Architecture decisions.

Alright, seems boring. Let me get on to more personal stuff.

Which car do you want to buy? If you are thinking in 1967 Shelby GT350, well it’s a good decision, admittedly, the GT500 is not a race car, but it contains the same big block V8 engine that was used to win victory at Le Mans.

The DAR – Decision analysis and resolution is an answer for above situations. It is one of the process area defined by CMMI but practically used everywhere. The reason DAR works most times

  • You think about every possible solution and list them out. Hence you consider everything before taking a decision over just thinking about limited core items.
  • You rank individual items based on comparison hence you have more clarity.
  • The template would give you amazing results.
  • You do consider Risk and constraints.

Essentially writing down everything and coming to conclusion. There is no guarantee that your solution would be perfect while you are increasing the chances of getting it right significantly.  It takes almost no time to use this process once you acquainted with it.

Please leverage attached DAR template. I have created it to have the better clarity.

Dar Template

Try few times and trust me you would fall in love with it.

Stand up: Why you should talk about your next actionable?

Lots of teams that I work with generally follow the best practices of a Scrum stand up meeting. However, as time goes by team tend to fall into the slippery slope of just reporting what they have accomplished the previous or the current day and completely ignore the next actionable & impediments. This happens more when the team/scrum master is not very strict about the process. In this article, we will see the reasons why this is important and the benefits of the same.

Life without goals

Before we delve deep into practices of Scrum method, we will talk about few general principles how our subconscious works. As per the basic behavioral psychology, there are three parts of the self-concept.

a) Self-Ideal – Goals, aspirations, dreams etc.

b) Self Image – impression about self-based on previous experiences.

c) Self Esteem – Emotional component of how much we like ourselves.

When someone sets goals and achieves them, the self-image corrects and the self-esteem improves. And they start setting bigger goals and continues to go on an upward spiral.

How Psychology relates to Scrum

Whenever a team member talks about “What they will do ” before the next meeting, they are indirectly setting a time-bound goal for themselves. When they come and report the achievement of the same the next day, the self-image and the self-esteem goes up. This will bring more success as the time goes by.

The Sprint is systematically designed methodology using the basic psychology of commit and achieve cycle.

Let’s do an experiment. If you are part of an Agile team, state your goal for the day loudly to your team during the stand-up meeting. You would have that in your back of your mind entire day. At the end the of day, if you accomplish what you stated, you will have an amazing sense of accomplishment.  Otherwise, you feel that you have not done enough. This comes to most members as long as they care about the company and their career. All you have to do is take that seriously and you would find yourself growing much faster than your peers.

I have personally asked this to many people and every time I had the same result. Isn’t it amazing? How simple it is to grow in an Agile team. Isn’t it?

So Next time you are in a stand-up meeting, would you talk about “what you are going to do “?


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The five dysfunctions of a team – How to build a great team

I got an opportunity to drive ‘team book reading’ with my highly competent team for one of the very critical facets of team building i.e. “What it takes to be successful as a Team”. The book chose was “The five dysfunctions of a team – A leadership fable” which I personally found very interesting hence thought of sharing the summary with you all.

Precisely the book talks about the five dysfunctions of a team that restricts the team to be successful. It is very important to understand and overcome them in order to be more effective as a team. The dysfunctions are

Absence of trust
Trust & respect are the foundation stones of any relationship be it a home or office. If the members of the team do not trust each other then they cannot be completely honest with each other.

Hence “Create Trust” by following but not limited to:

  • 360-degree feedback
  • Spend time together
  • Understand each other personal history
  • Believe in each other
  • Be honest

Fear of conflict – Without trust, team members will not have healthy debates that are necessary to arrive at better thought through decisions.
It’s very important to have open lines of communication (so that everyone is clear & aligned). Always remember

  • Open discussions. Debate leads to a better solution
  • Focus on the issue, not the individual.

Hence “Value Conflict” (It has to be in a healthy way!) by following but not limited to:

  • Straight talk
  • Calling people on behavior traits that demonstrate fear of conflict
  • Identify how we respond
  • The leader leads in behavior

Lack of commitment – If the team has not aligned to a decision then the individual members who did not agree with the final decision will ultimately be less committed to that decision. It is important to know that the “Alignment” is more important than agreement

Hence “Encourage commitment” by following but not limited to:

  • Summaries decisions made in group discussions or meetings
  • Come to consensus — Any decision is better than no decision – Timeboxing decisions.
  • Clarify all scenarios including worst-case ones.
  • Talk it loud, hear everyone’s opinion.

Avoidance of accountability – If they are not committed to the course of action, then they are less likely to feel accountable (or hold other people accountable). Lack of clarity of roles & responsibilities and not holding individuals accountable leads to “Avoidance of accountability”
Hence “Promote Accountability” by following but not limited to

  • Open disclosure of goals, standards, and metrics
  • Continuous progress reviews
  • Reward for a team not individual

Inattention to results – If the individuals are not accountable, they are less likely to care about the group results (Instead they would focus on achieving their individual goals).
Hence “Celebrate Results” by following but not limited to:

  • Group declaration of results
  • The reviews to be based on results.
  • The leader should lead to behavior.

Disclaimer “This is a just summary of the book we read – In order to have more details, you are required to read the complete book”.

You can find the book at this link


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