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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Jun 19, 2020

In this week’s episode, Dan Neumann is joined by special guest and AgileThought colleague, Andrea Floyd! Andrea is an enterprise agile transformation consultant at AgileThought. Andrea has 25 years of experience in software development and management. She is an innovator who has led multiple organization-wide scaled agile implementations, and she has also architected innovative solution strategies and roadmaps across many frameworks (including Scrum, Kanban, and the Scaled Agile Framework).


Last week on the podcast, Dan and Quincy Jordan were exploring the topic of getting to ‘start’ as a Scrum team and overcoming the inertia of being stuck. Continuing on this theme, Dan and Andrea figured it would be fitting to discuss what comes after getting to start. I.e., start finishing! So, in this episode, they discuss everything that happens between starting to finishing, getting to ‘done’ incrementally, challenges Scrum teams run into with starting ‘finishing,’ and Andrea’s tips for getting to ‘done’!


Key Takeaways

Challenges Scrum teams run into with starting ‘finishing’:

They get stuck with reimagining the new way of working and understanding how to get to ‘done’ incrementally

They face analysis paralysis by overthinking (which prevents them from adapting to this new way of working)

They may defer risk due to their fear of failure

They have a reluctance to let go of yesterday and falling back on the previous practices they were comfortable with because it’s easier/what they know

They take on more work without considering what’s going on with the rest of the team

What does “finish” or “done” mean?

All organizations have their own, unique definition of ‘done’

Some organizations even have multiple definitions of done for different levels (i.e., ‘done’ at the story level, done at the sprint level, done at the release level, etc. [it depends on their build and release cadence])

Andrea’s tips for teams for getting to ‘done’:

It is important for the team to discuss what “finish” or “done” means and to come to a consensus

Make the definition of “done” visible in the team room (the more visible it is, the easier it is to refer to and to guide conversations)

Get creative in the visibility of your team’s definition of ‘done’ — Andrea suggests making team t-shirts with the slogan, “Our definition of done: ______”

Look for opportunities to care and work with your team members to support them in this journey (retrospectives and daily scrums can be great opportunities for positive reinforcement, calling out work well done, and celebrating successes)

Work together as a team and help one another

Consider adopting a catchphrase for your team such as, “No man/woman left behind”

Stay focused on the sprint goal as a team

The practices established in Scrum will help you understand the ‘why’ behind what you’re doing and how you’re working

Use the Five Whys to understand the root cause of why some team members may be stuck in their ways and not wanting to adapt

Get the team to a point where they feel safe and courageous enough to share the challenges they may be facing that are preventing them from achieving their goals

Create an environment that feels safe and supports learning, courage, and experimentation

Make safety a prerequisite

You can achieve great wins as a leader by empowering your team, helping them become autonomous, and teaching them the ability to self-organize


Mentioned in this Episode:

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 83: “Getting to ‘Start’ as a Scrum Team with Quincy Jordan”

The Failure Bow

The Five Whys

Waco (TV Mini-Series)

Tiger King (Netflix Series)


Andrea Floyd’s Book Pick:

The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies Are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done, by Stephen Denning


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