You should rotate meetings facilitator

To be honest, I was not a big fan of SCRUM even two years ago. Everything changed after Professional Scrum Master course and exam. I understood, I did not like not SCRUM, but quasi-SCRUM monster created in company… Yeah, it was our first approach and it was definitely not a proper way. Right now I see this from completely different perspective and really like this framework, I even use it in some personal goals and plans. It does not mean, I do not like experiments, especially because official SCRUM guide does not prohibit them. One of ideas is to rotate meetings facilitator. I think this idea is great and you should try it

What do you mean by writing about rotating?

You can ask me about that and answer is pretty simple – just change who should “lead” the meeting. If there is no scrum master inside team, people used to “use” team lead or project manager to facilitate all meetings. Such person asks other persons about their tasks – or just keeps an eye on the order if people do that without any questions – asks about blockers and tries to resolve them. I think it’s nothing bad which such approach, it gives this person “more control” over team, it is not related to scrum itself, but can allow to stabilize some thing.

But on the other hand, it is very limited approach. Only this one person “takes responsibility”. Of course in SCRUM we should explain people and they should understand, all the team is responsible for delivered value, but one thing is theory, second is practice, especially if people are focused mostly on their tasks. In effect, we have “sour compromise” – developers can work on their things, they can answer some questions, maybe they even do not like it, but it is not a problem to survive 15 minutes every day and then go back to their job. Team lead or manager can be also happy, because have control, takes everything. But… there is ownership and cooperation?

We can resolve that, by choose random person from the team, who will be responsible for leading meetings during current sprint – this person will take the place of the former leading.

Rotation helps solve the problem of ownership

Such rotation resolves ownership problem, because right now everyone has a chance to monitor the team: there is no method to be not interested in other persons tasks, there is no option to be inactive, there is no option to doing something different during meeting. This person will facilitate meeting, will ask others, should ask about details and possible blockers. It provides much better understanding over current team work and planned value.

Effect? Selected person will feel responsible for such actions – when you will give people this power, they will want to use it properly. It is much better than saying “we are all responsible for…”, because it is real action, not only words. If you want someone to fish – give him a fishing rod, otherwise how should he do it? If you team members sometimes are late on meetings, it should be also resolved “automatically”. Someone chosen to be facilitator will feel some additional pressure. But this pressure is positive, not negative aspect of this role. Everyone wants to come out the best, in effect it is an unwritten, collegial competition

Of course additional benefit is to some time release for person, who facilitated meetings before (mentioned TL, SM or PM) – of course this person should actively participate in meeting, but can avoid focusing on “technical details” if it is turn of somebody else. And it is huge advantage visible from the early beginning.

How to start with rotation?

Right now you can start to think and even ask: how to start this rotation properly? It looks like additional thing to resolve, like calculating story points, determining who will create descriptions and many, many other stuff. Answer is simple: do not overcomplicate this. Just select random person for coming spring and do that, nothing more. I really recommend to start that with daily and also for retrospectives, especially if you use some formal tools to write all observations – this person can prepare them. If we talk about remote work, it is about sharing screen.

Of course such a person may need some help in the beginning and it is completely fine. Inform team about rotation idea, inform you will help them and do that during meetings – thanks to that, all members will also learn and will be better prepared for their turn.

At the end of the sprint new facilitator will… select new person. Why? Because it is also part of mentioned ownership. After few such rounds, you can stabilize some order. Of course is someone will not be present when it’s his turn, should be moved to next one etc. Just really simple rules, nothing more. The thing is not about thinking about this, but doing this – like with hammer and nails. Observing or debating about hammer will not resolve anything.