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Keeping Your Services Team in Touch

A.K.A. Scrum Meetings for Services Groups

Since it's a Friday and my team's Scrum meeting is coming up in a few minutes I thought this would be a good time to talk about how we do Scrum meetings in Services ... As I've mentioned in earlier articles, we require a team approach to deliver on any of our customer engagements.  Dynamics AX is such as large animal that need to have expertise across different parts of the application to support it successfully.  We have a Dedicated Support Engineering offering on our team where we assign one person to work with a customer, but without fail, we bring in multiple engineers to assist with every single customer.  There's never been a case where 1 person could handle every request from the customer.  This means we're going to have to build relationships within the team so engineers can reach out to each to serve our customers most effectively.

When we started our Premier Field Engineering team, most everyone was located in the same office in Fargo, ND.  As we've grown over time, we've hired most everyone outside of Fargo.  It's very easy to walk over to the cube next to you and ask someone for help.  Even though the technology is there, it's more difficult to call another team member to reach out.  Plus, if you don't know what someone else can do, you don't think to reach out to him.

With these two factors in mind, I was trying to come up with a way to the group in touch.  I learned more about the "Scrum" methodology and what a Scrum Meeting was.   In product development, it's a 15 minute meeting every morning where everyone goes around the room and talks about what they've been working on in, what they are working on next and what barriers are in the way of progress.  I really liked the concept, so I thought we'd try it out on our team.  At first, we started with 2 Scrum meetings per week, but that was a little overkill for the group since we typically worked on services or projects 1 week at a time.  We settled on 1 meeting per week, and it's worked very well to keep people in touch.

So each Friday, we get together at 11:40 for a 15-20 minute meeting where each engineer answers those three questions in about 1-2 minutes:

  • What have you been working on?
  • What are you working on next (and what's your availability to help others)?
  • What do you need help with?

I just call on each person 1 at a time and try to keep things moving along.  I'll usually throw in a few updates at the end if I have anything relevant to add, but it's the engineers' discussion opportunity.  Attendance is not required; I ask everyone to attend if they are free - either in person or dialing in, but it's not a concern if people can't attend. 

This simple meeting has really helped to keep people updated on what everyone else is doing and has helped us to bring the right people in to help our customers in the most efficient way possible.

I hope this might work for other consultants or teams out there - let me know if you have any feedback.

Eric Newell

Comments (1)
  1. Dee Man says:

    These 15 minute sessions are fantastic. Been doing daily scrum meetings for the last year on one of our AX projects, and it been really positive especially with virtual teams. We struggle a bit to keep them under 15 mins because of the number and complexity of the issues we are workinng on but we never let meetings cross 30 minutes. When the issue gets too much attention we park it and defer it to a separate session. I find the meetings work better when there are 5 or less people, otherwise there's too much crossover chatter. cheers!!!

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