Supporting Remote Ceremonies

Over the last several weeks, I have supported a number of remote ceremonies and these are some helpful tips I am providing to Release Train Engineers, Scrum Masters and fellow coaches. They are also downloadable here.

Let me know what your tips are!

Some helpful reminders for remote PI Ceremonies:  Note: Share these guidelines with your presenters and Scrum Masters and Product Management as well!

  • Plan, plan a backup, practice. 
    1. Have people designated to troubleshoot team issues in real time (make sure they either know the tools well, or have specializations)
    2. Have a backup for each tool you plan to use
    3. Practice sessions identify challenges, practice, it won’t make you perfect, it will make you better prepared to adjust on the fly
    4. Expect problems, have a plan
    5. Give preference to web-based products, define the best browsers for users
    6. Understand if people will be interacting on mobile platforms
    7. Understand that having users logged in/registered on multiple devices (call in on phone, logged in on web) provide guidance
    8. If people are using their own ‘zoom’, phone etc., creates complexity and security concerns, give guidance
  • Try to use interactive engagement
    1. Communications at scale can be challenging. I was just in a session using zoom on a corporate laptop and remained maxxed on cpu, which destroyed the presentation)
    2. Give preference to internal tooling first, scale can create issues for ‘free tooling’ that is outside your organizational control
    3. Tools like mentimeter, kahoot etc. are engaging, but use them as needed, not as your platform, unless you are mixing interaction with presentation.  Balance!
    4. Remember when engaging people in a large gathering conference call, use good etiquette AND smart speaking.  Don’t ask, ‘Can you hear me?’, ask ‘Bob, is my audio clear?’  ‘I will pause for 1 minute for questions, before continuing’ vice, ‘Does anyone have questions”
    5. Use and promote chat sessions in conferencing tooling, have a designated support person monitoring chat.
    6. Have speakers show video when possible and not specifically presenting content but just talking
    7. If a large group, certainly try to avoid large introductions, or begin the meeting with a ‘coffee break’ (note: this helps mitigate late joiners as well)
    8. Remind people to ‘state their name’ when talking.  Tip – Post etiquette rules in the chat session/background for presentation screen! (mute when not talking, state your name etc.)
  • Give teams time beforehand to practice using new tools
    1. Create individual sessions for SM, PO’s and teams
    2. Create session for 1 tool per session
    3. Making them fun (using Mural in a virtual happy hour, using mentimeter for interactive trivia sessions etc.…) (see leadership check in notes)
    4. If in an increment, create your electronic boards in Mural/Miro etc now, and run your ART syncs using these tools for exposure and familiarity/awareness.
  • Understand time boxes and prepare to adjust time boxes as necessary (it will probably take longer the first time; scale will increase the likelihood & impact of this)
    1. Remember ‘walk/bio breaks’
    2. Remember your audience is sitting and listening mostly, see interactive sessions
    3. Break the monotony when appropriate – quick tip- Have people vote by standing/sitting
    4. When your setup meetings, be aware that you might have time zone management (mornings/afternoon/lunches/breakfasts etc.)
    5. Whenever possible use ‘local’ monitors to give feedback and keep team health and temperature in mind
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools – We must focus on making tools the medium, not the focus!  The more you can make this seamless for the teams, the better your chances of success!
  • Be Great (Just like every other day)