“How do we report status?”
“How do I get insight into the product?”
These are frequent questions we receive from our clients as they move to an Agile method like Scrum. The short answer to both of these questions is: eliminate status reports and attend the Sprint Review. After all, as the aphorism states, “there’s nothing like being there.”
Going to Gemba: The Opportunity to See the Completed Work
The lean practitioners among us are familiar with the idea of “going to Gemba.” Gemba is a Japanese word that’s loosely translated to mean “the place where work is done” or “the scene of the crime.”
While not a perfect analogy, attending the Sprint Review is an opportunity to see the completed work. It’s an opportunity to see the reality of the product. It’s far more effective to see the current version of the product than to read about what was happening with the development a few days or weeks back.
Yes, Traditional Status Reports Are “Old News”
Traditional status reports make as much sense as “DVR-ing” CNN in 2019. By the time you watch it, it’s old news. In most organizations, product development moves and changes faster than traditional status reports allow. Continuing to rely on status reports to access progress of development efforts is the same as relying on the Farmer’s Almanac to predict the weather.
The Solution: Attend the Sprint Review
Eliminate the traditional status report and attend the Sprint Review. Seeing and inspecting the work (or lack thereof) that the team has completed is going to allow a real-time view of the product.
Red, Yellow & Green Status
If you’re planning to use traditional “stoplight” categories to label progress, We recommend starting all projects out as “red.” Then, they should earn their way to “green” without ever allowing them to be categorized as “yellow,” because a middling rating of “yellow” allows people to equivocate and avoid full transparency.
Product development is way too complex to assume that most efforts, even at their start, are “green.” Starting all efforts at “red” also removes the stigma associated with going “red” that occurs in most organizations while still providing an incentive for teams to earn “green” status.
Learn More About Effective Agile Methods
The only way to truly see a snapshot of the progress of a product is to involve yourself beyond the report. To learn more about effective Agile methods and practices, send us a message.