Businesses today are all about teamwork. The joy of and learning from working in a team is irreplaceable. Hence, organizations all over the world are now focusing on creating a strong bond within their teams. The result is new modes of communication like the scrum conference call. A framework for achieving goals as a team is the ‘Scrum’. It is much like the rugby scrum from which it is derived. The Scrum model looks at the entire team as a unit- it works together, makes mistakes, learns from them and continuously keeps improving.    

What is meant by Scrum call?

Scrum is mostly used by software development teams that rely heavily on cross-functional interaction, but its philosophy can be applied across various teams. As a result, Scrum is extremely popular. Often confused to be an agile project management framework, Scrum lays out a set of meetings, roles, and tools that work in tandem. These have helped teams build a better structure for themselves and work within that. 

Are Agile and Scrum the same? 

Agile and Scrum are not the same in that agile is more of a mindset whereas Scrum is a framework that one could follow in the agile mindset to get things done. However, it isn’t very easy to perpetuate this across an entire team which consists of individuals with different mindsets.

What are the rules of Scrum?

The scrum framework states that every team starts at zero and knows nothing. It slowly learns to adapt to the challenges around the project and learns to keep finding alternatives as a unit to meet requirements and deliver. 

As you can imagine, all of this requires tremendous communication channels within the team. The team has to be in constant touch with each other if things are to go smoothly. The Scrum framework has shorter release cycles so coordination has to be top-notch. 

With that explained, here are some of the most essential rules of Scrum meeting:

  • Scrum meetings should be no longer than 15 minutes. 
  • Scrum meetings should be held at the same time, every day, for consistency 
  • The topics discussed in the Scrum meeting should only be related to Sprint work

What are the possible challenges? 

Some days the whole team may not be in the same location. The new mommy may have to stay back home to take care of her little one, or the globetrotter might be on his annual vacation. In such a scenario you can always work your way around and still get work done. The answer is ‘conference call’. 

Thanks to advancements in technology, everyone today can be well-connected with their respective teams if needed. While conference calls are a great way to establish that working connection with the entire team, does it solve the problem completely? There could be some problems. 

  • Communication is also about body language. A head nod or a smile can go a long way in reassuring people. Team members may not be able to see others’ responses and might be left wondering. 
  • Technical issues plague software developers too! And when this happens during a conference call, it is only counterproductive. 
  • Scrum boards need to be seen. And with the Internet, there’s always the concern of fluctuations. 

What is the role of a ‘Scrum Master’?

It is your responsibility to hold the team together and achieve those objectives in spite of limitations. Here is what you can do  

1. Reduce dependence on the Internet where possible 

When half the team or even a few of the people on the team are traveling, access to the Internet becomes doubtful. You could replace mobile applications like Skype, Zoom with simpler ones like grptalk and Join. It allows you to have conference calls without access to the Internet. Calls are made on PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). 

2. Scrum boards must be made visible 

Try tools like Trello which allow you to make virtual boards and share them with the rest of the team. You can also pin tasks on Trello so everybody knows what they need to do. When the entire team is on the same page, working from any corner of the world becomes easy. If you’re not used to Trello, you can also use Google Sheets. 

3. Listen to everybody 

When on a conference call, quite often there can be a lot of chaos and confusion. As the Scrum Master and the host of the call, you could take control to make sure everyone is heard. On grptalk, the host has the option of muting all the other members. You could use that and unmute only those you know have something important to say. 

4. Video conferences cannot be ignored 

A video scrum conference call can be a real win for you. Yes, you may need to schedule this one but if everyone is on it for 30 mins and you plan it well with an agenda, you can achieve a lot. Use the ‘Mute’ feature every now and then to ensure a quick, disturbance-free call. With grptalk, you can use the ‘Dial Mute’ feature that starts off a call on mute. The host can then unmute those callers who need to speak. 

5. The consensus is of prime importance 

The agile mindset is all about being in consensus and working as a team. And the Scrum Master’s duty is to iron out differences and get the entire team to be ‘agile’. In order to make the most of the conference calls, polls can be introduced whenever there is likely to be a disagreement among team members. This will help you streamline and center your conversation around those areas in order to clean them up and get moving faster, with everybody’s consent. 

Conclusion

Teams that work in Scrum must always be well-oiled and highly coordinated. Conferences are the go-to mechanism to achieve this result. With these tips, conferences can become more enjoyable and result-driven. And to make things even better, we have got access to intuitive conferencing solutions. 

So, are you ready for your first Scrum conference call?