Agile teams

Conversations to fill the gaps and remove silos

Sprint planning agenda

Proactive meetings that help you get ahead

Agile and Scrum frameworks have provided us with a specific set of meetings to greatly improve how we work as a team. We plan the work to be done, present it to others, and reflect on what worked and what we’re going to improve. Sixty-two percent of scrum meetings are held daily and 21% are held multiple times a week. Although we have this framework to use and a lot of meeting time each week, we may be letting important information or ideas slip through the cracks. 

When you’re planning your work, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the implementation without having covered the full context of the story. On another story you might go in-depth on the context but accidentally forget to discuss the red flags and move straight into the next story. When your team is grooming the backlog, you might end up covering a bunch of stories but you don’t focus on the ones that are most important right now. 

And what about those meetings in between those meetings? Bugs and issues are an inevitable part of engineering. Siloed knowledge between front-end, back-end, and devops can prevent these issues from being quickly resolved. But sitting down for a meeting doesn’t magically remove the silos. The conversation needs to be structured in a way that anticipates issues before they happen.

Templates for agile teams

Give the gift of structure to your team

Letting important information slip through the cracks can be an intense source of frustration for your team. By setting them up with specific agendas, every person will be clear on what you’re covering and what you’re not. When the conversation veers off track or goes too deep into a rabbit hole, you can bring it back to the agenda. If someone on your team isn’t certain about what was decided or why it was decided, they can refer back to the discussion notes. 

By allowing them to plan ahead for the conversation, you give your team the opportunity to brainstorm, problem-solve, and share their insights deeper than they would by just showing up to the meeting. 

“If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my axe.”

— Abraham Lincoln

Set your team up for success

  1. Empower your team with structure. Share the purpose and agenda for the meeting so each person is clear on why they are there and what you aim to achieve. 
  2. Hear from everyone on your team, even the more quiet folks. Each person has the opportunity to share discussion points to get their opinions and feedback out in the open. 
  3. Get more out of your time together. Send a reminder 24 hours before the meeting to ensure everyone has reviewed the agenda and added their discussion points. 
  4. Show your team you care by respecting their time. Get more done in each meeting so you spend less time in meetings and more time on building products. 
  5. Get important feedback from your team. Have better conversations with your direct reports and give them space to share how you can improve as a manager and as a team. 

Templates for agile teams

Before Mindup

  • Your team only schedules stressful reactive meetings when something goes wrong.
  • Everyone has strong opinions, some are expressed and some are not.
  • Conversations become emotional because there’s no set framework for the most effective way to give feedback.
  • There’s no structure so you end up talking about 20 front-end stories and only one back-end story.

After Mindup

  • Your team schedules anticipatory meetings to plan and get ahead of any issues.
  • Everyone has a chance to share their opinions (and think about the opinions of others) ahead of time.
  • There are established guidelines for giving effective feedback that is agreed upon before the meeting.
  • You have a set purpose and agenda so you know exactly what your team plans to accomplish in the meeting.

Energize your team with productive meetings