The estimation is a sensitive topic. In traditional projects, the estimation is absolute and based on the precision.
In Agile project, it's a revolution in the mind: the estimation is no more absolute but relative, and based on accuracy. Relative? But relative to what? The estimations is based on the Fibonacci number sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, …).
Ok, I guess now you have three W questions: When, Who and Why? The answers are short too:
In which units do we estimate the work? Well, it depends. For the Product Backlog, it's in points. But for the Sprint Backlog tasks, it's in hours!
Well, now let me introduce three estimation methods:
The Product Owner explains the story.
Then each team member selects a card without showing it.
Once all member has selected a card, all the members show their card.
Now, let's launch the discussions. The members with the highest and the lowest estimations explain their choice. If needed, the Product Owner can give additional information.
If a consensus is reached, the team do it again.
The value of the chosen card is the point of the task.
This method is very easy. Each team member gives a mark of each story :
And this mark is the points of the task.
The method of estimation in T-shirt size is a little more complex. There are three steps.
For the step 1 (1 min duration), you have to make agree the team on requirements of different sizes:
In the step 2 (10-30 min duration), ask to the team to split the remaining user stories into the categories (XS, S, M, L, XL and Epic). Then review it.
In the step 3 (10-30 min duration), let the team adjust the categorizations. Then review it.
Now the Product Owner and the developers should discuss about the items that have difference sizes. In case of conflict, the team can decide.
At the end, a value of points is given to each ticket depending on the T-shirt size ("quantification"):
The goal of the Daily Stand-Up (or Daily Scrum) is make communicate members between them, to discuss about their work and their issues. A special focus is put on the challenges of the day. It's done face to the board where all user stories and tasks are put.
Communication is not an option, so this ceremony is not an option. The Dev Team must participate, but all the members of the project are just invited.
The Daily Stand-up is conducted... standing up! Why? Because it shouldn't last for more than 15 to 20 minutes. So, it's a way to force to be short.
What to do if the discussion is important but is too long? It probably means that these members needs a more detailed discussion. In this case, invite them to continue their discussion in a meeting after the Daily Stand-Up.
Each member answer three questions :
For each ticket, the team:
During the Daily Stand-Up, the team moves the tasks from one column to another one if the job is done.
The activity (except if it's too small of course) of the team must appear on the board. So, the team can add additional tasks or defects as needed. They should add their initiales and an estimation of the effort to produce to do the job.
After the Daily Stand-Up, Scrum Master has several tasks:
To animate the Daily Stand-Up, there are several technics. For example, the members can ask only when they have a token: to speak, they have to ask for the token and wait for receiving it. Or the animator of the ceremony should change. And so on.
All the managers consider that the motivation is one of the most important things to reach in a team, in a company. It's not new. But you have to understand something: there are two kind of motivations, and both should be addressed, not only one. The ideal worker of any manager is not only a motivated worker, but an engaged worker.
The difficulty is that people are motivated in different ways: some people need encouragement, some other need more, they need to enjoy the activity. It's why it's very important to understand well the different types of motivation.
So, there are extrinsinc and intrinsic motivations. What's that? Ok, it's simple, just think that the intrinsic motivation is based on an interest inside the person (enjoy the task itself), while the extrinsic motivation is based on an interest outside the person (examples: money, grade or trophy). But extrinsic motivation can exist under the forms of rewards or punishments. Only the intrinsic motivations are natural, not the extrinsic motivations. For the extrinsic motivations, you can't make these motivations, you need to incentivize these behaviors.
Ok, imagine in your team you stop bonus, some people will stop to work, some other will continue. Those who will stop to work are extrinsically motivated.
Now, imagine you describe the weather of today. Naturally you will say: "The weather is nice." or "The weather is not nice." But it can be so so. You observe you simplify the reality of the world, and it's an intrinsic motivation. The reason is that your brain needs for simplification, abstraction, and reduction the reality.
Now, you should understand better the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.
So, logically, you should say: "Hey! It's easy, I just have to increase the salary, and the workers will be motivated!". Sure, it works. But the productivity will be higher with engagement too.
"I heard the work 'engagement'. Great! But what is it? Why to increase it? And how to increase it?"
In first, you need to understand the engagement comes from the work and the people around the individuals, not from the individuals them self.
It means you have to identify the motivators for each individual, then to find ways to satisfy these motivators. And it's the job too of managers to set up conditions to increase the probability engagement can happen.
The most basic solution is carrots and sticks. It's based on incentives and punishments. Ok, it works. But it requires you continuously pay attention to this. Instead of this, it's much better to manager the system, not the individuals.
A lot of companies set up outdoor activities, team building activities, and so on. But it doesn't solve at all the problem. If the system is engaging, it's not useful; if the system is not engaging, the people will still be not engaged.
The best solution comes from a game, the Moving Motivators.
The CHAMPFROGS model can help you to understand the different extrinsic motivations, therefore it gives you the keys to develop the worker engagement.