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Implement Scrum

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Define the two types of Scrum-based meetings.
  • List the types of meetings that go into planning.
  • Explain how we inspect and adapt our process and deliverables.

Now you’re probably wondering how Salesforce implements Scrum. Well, it all comes down to meetings! We know what you’re thinking: Meetings are a waste of time. But wait. These aren’t just meetings about having more meetings. Scrum meetings are designed to provide action items. We'll show you what we mean. 

There are two main types of Scrum meetings at Salesforce.  

  1. Planning meetings: These happen at all different stages of the project—drawing it out, it looks like a layered cake. Regardless of what stage the project is in, teams regularly meet to ensure they’re aligned on the final outcome.
  2. Inspect and adapt meetings: We’ve talked a lot about how important it is for teams to take new learnings and apply them to the next sprint. This is the time they do this. These meetings are geared toward improving the process and the products.

Let’s look at these meetings in greater detail so that you can better understand the mechanisms of the Scrum process at Salesforce—and adopt them yourselves. 

Planning Meetings

Our yearly planning is the ultimate alignment tool we use to ensure every person, team, and cloud is working off of our top-down business roadmap. Agile teams then use this to continue their planning. 

Release Planning Every 4 Months

We release new versions of our core platform every 4 months—and there are smaller updates even more frequently with other products. And we deploy infrastructure releases as needed. At the beginning of every major release cycle, we have a high-level planning meeting to create a roadmap for each cloud. 

Key purposes of these meeting: 

  • Align on business and customer priorities.
  • Provide a high-level understanding of new features and functionality.
  • Negotiate schedules and set expectations for delivery.

Every release includes our Forward Looking Statement, which says that our plans and deliveries are based on the knowledge we have at the time of planning and things are subject to change as we start working. We include this for a variety of reasons, but it makes sure that our long-term plans have the ability to change and adapt to new learning as well.

Backlog Refinement Planning Happens Every 2 Weeks

The next step in the planning process is to prepare for the upcoming sprint. Teams plan a couple of sprints ahead, where they review their product backlog to make sure the highest-priority items are ready to be worked on.

What’s the purpose of these meetings? 

  • The team provides input and gets clarity on what is coming down the pipe.
  • Work is broken into smaller chunks.
  • Conditions of satisfaction are drafted, which help clarify desired outcomes.
  • Identify work that is not ready for prime time.

Sprint Planning Happens Every 2 Weeks

Before the sprint starts, teams get together to create a roadmap of what they intend to accomplish over the next 2 weeks. During this meeting, the team agrees and commits to a work plan. 

Usually at these meetings, the teams start with the product backlog, looking at what projects are at the top of the list and decide which they can commit to now. 

Daily Stand-Up Happens (Almost!) Every Day 

Although Scrum calls for daily stand-up meetings, most teams exercise the no-interruption Thursday rule, which is exactly what is sounds like: no meeting on Thursdays.

What does it look like?

  • It’s a very brief sync where team members make sure they are all focused on the right objectives for the day—and offer help where needed.
  • The frequency is meant to prevent team members from spinning their wheels and bottlenecking progress.
  • It provides visibility on daily progress.

Inspect and Adapt Meetings

When we move from the planning stage to the doing stage, we tend to have fewer meetings. We touch on two of those meeting here. At the crux, these are learning meetings meant to ensure we’re delivering the right products and services at the right time to the right customers.

Retrospective: A Look Back at the End of Every Sprint

This is the meeting where the team can take responsibility for their progress or failures.

Each sprint, the team spends a little time analyzing how well they worked or didn’t work. They focus on two things during this review period: process and the team. 

At this time, the team inspects how they worked during that sprint, and then decides what to change and adapt for the next sprint. The ultimate goal is to improve the process and the deliverable every sprint.  

At Salesforce, we expect a team to have a couple of “actionable experiments” after each sprint—something new they can try in the next sprint. These new action items are added to their sprint or Kanban boards, and one person holds the team accountable to those. 

For instance, during a retrospective, a team complained that its meetings ran too long and were a waste of time. The group opted to experiment by creating a clear agenda with well-defined action items at each meeting for the next sprint. This ensured meetings remained focused and had actionable outcomes. 

Sprint Demo Happens Each Sprint

During the second of the two inspect and adapt meetings, the team presents finished work to product owners and stakeholders to get feedback and input. They inspect their deliverables, and take what they learned and adapt it to their process moving forward.

Without these meetings, the team misses out on the opportunity to improve. 

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