Working in a SCRUM team has proven to be a task to say the least. For our first sprint, I was our team’s assigned SCRUM master. Our project? To create a mobile application that runs on android and apple devices to help aspiring U.S. citizens prepare for their citizenship exam. Our project was the only one out of the 8 that had no prior work done before it was assigned to us… aka we were starting from scratch.
Before this semester, I wasn’t a stranger to working in a team to complete a project. Despite this fact, working in a SCRUM team felt a bit different. Collectively, we were working together as a team but at the same time we were working independently. At points during this sprint, there were times where we didn’t have great communication. A lot of the same questions kept reemerging after they had already been answered. I feel like we were slower to realize how important effective communication and active listening is. While we did conduct our daily standups, I feel like we only did them for ritual’s sake. Also, I felt the sense of everyone wanting to take the project in different directions because it reflected in how we had our conversations.
Although I had feelings of stagnation within our team, I do not fault anyone in the group because developing an application while beginning to learn many new things about getting it started is a lot, especially since it’s everyone’s first time. This feeling of stagnation is everything but. Our team’s progress had never stopped moving forward, even if it was moving slowly and that is an amazing display of my teammates willingness to finding solutions in new and unfamiliar territory. During our retrospective meeting we all came to realize that we got all the essential tasks for Sprint 1 project setup completed. I am also hopeful because I feel like my teammates are going to be great to work with once we all learn how to work with one another.
I think as a team we need to put more value into the daily standup meetings. Although they’re short in comparison to the work we’re doing during the rest of our meetings, they are super important in terms of our success. Making sure that everyone is active in the meeting whether speaking or listening is something we can improve upon. Another improvement we can make is being comfortable with having our ideas challenged. Instead of just blindly agreeing with an idea one of us has, we should be able to hold respectable debates on why something may not be great for our project and be alright with the outcomes of the debate.
How Did I Contribute?
Much of the early part of the sprint was dedicated to figuring out which framework we would use to create our application. We broke into three teams of two. Eric and I were assigned to investigate what the Flutter framework would bring in its arsenal to help us complete our project. A few of the things I spent my time researching include:
- Learning about what type of application Flutter is.
- Creating a sample “Hello World” -like application in Flutter.
- Making the decision to install Flutter locally on our system or use docker containers.
Once we decided that Flutter was not going to be the route we were going to take, I used the rest of my time during the sprint to work on the writing portion of our application.