Optimizing Your Workload: The Scrum Methodology for Your Team’s Productivity

Ari Sulistiyo Prabowo
5 min readMay 30, 2023
Photo by Lala Azizli on Unsplash

Maintaining your team’s productivity creates a healthy work environment, enabling efficient work execution, skill enhancement, and valuable contributions to your company’s success. Consider the following questions:

  • Has your leader encouraged you to take on tasks that promote personal growth?
  • Do you find it challenging to prioritize tasks and ensure transparency with stakeholders?
  • Are there measurable metrics associated with your assigned tasks?
  • Do you regularly conduct retrospectives with your team to discuss projects and identify areas for improvement?

The purpose of this article is to guide you and your team toward embracing the Scrum methodology, using my personal experience as an example.

The Scrum Methodology Framework

According to Scrum.org, Scrum is primarily used by tech teams consisting of a Scrum Master, Product Manager, and Developers. However, it is adaptable for various teams, providing a clear structure for collaboration.

Photo by Ken Schwaber on Scrum.org

Several tools can help implement Scrum in your team, such as Jira Scrum, Trello, and other platforms. In my example, I will share my experience using Scrum Kanban and additional tools like Miro

Roadmap & Product Backlog

During this stage, your leader will share the projects your team will undertake. These projects are often referred to as “Epics” or main projects. For instance:

  • A/B testing for the action button on the checkout page
  • User behavior tracker in the article page to assess product feasibility
  • Machine learning model to classify search keywords into relevant product categories
Screenshot from the Scrum Jira Software

To achieve these projects, team members must be assigned to specific Epics. Each Epic consists of several tasks, which should be transparently organized in a backlog.

Screenshot from the Scrum Jira Software

Sprint Planning

In this stage, you and your leader discuss the desired outcomes of the sprint. For example, increasing the click-through rate by 50% and transactions by 20% for product recommendations from search results.

During sprint planning, your leader will ask questions related to the tasks:

  • When should each task start and finish?
  • What is the workload estimation in terms of story points?
  • How should the tasks be prioritized?
Screenshot from the Scrum Jira Software

Story Point

Story points are essential metrics that indicate the effort required to complete a task. They typically follow a Fibonacci sequence, with a maximum agreed upon by the team (e.g., 5). Here’s an example of story point estimation used in my team:

  • 1 story point: Can be completed in 1–2 hours
  • 2 story points: Can be completed in 3–4 hours
  • 3 story points: Can be completed in 4–6 hours
  • 5 story points: Can be completed in up to 8 hours

Maintaining a balance between task execution and skill development should be a priority for your team’s well-being

In my team’s experience, each person consumes around 40 story points per sprint, with a tolerance of +5 story points. Remember to set realistic thresholds based on your team’s capacity.

Sprint Backlog

Sprint backlog is used to say as a sprint prioritization in my team. The reason is to ensure your leader manages the backlog, adjusting task priority if needed, and allowing a buffer of 5–10 story points for urgent tasks.

Screenshot from the Scrum Jira Software

Once the leader has managed properly and is ready to do the project, then the leader starts the sprint and later the leader will follow up on the progress in the Daily Scrum stage.

Daily Scrum

Daily Scrum meetings don’t necessarily have to be daily stand-ups. Adapt them to your organization and team. In my experience, we have two meetings per week and use communication platforms for progress updates on the other three days.

Screenshot from Google Calendar

During the 15-minute daily stand-up, share progress updates and address any blockers. Examples of discussions may include:

  • The machine learning model has been saved as a pickle file and is ready for integration into the API process.
  • The data automation in BigQuery is malfunctioning, hindering data retrieval for sales trend analysis. I will contact the data engineer to resolve the issue.

Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective

The final stages of the Scrum methodology are the sprint review and retrospective. In my team, we allocate over 1.5 hours for a meeting at the end of each sprint (usually on Fridays). The meeting includes:

  • Spending 45–60 minutes summarizing completed projects or tasks from the sprint.
  • Allocating 15 minutes to review tasks, calculate priorities, and story points.
  • Dedicate 15–30 minutes for a retrospective, where each person shares what worked well, areas for improvement, and suggestions for enhancement.

The more team members you have, the more time will be required for meetings. Remember to prioritize the productivity of your team during these meetings.

Retrospective Boards in Miro

Conclusion

Implementing the Scrum methodology can significantly impact your team’s transparency, workload management, and productivity. By planning projects with clear objectives, assigning tasks with appropriate workload allocation and prioritization, regularly communicating progress and blockers, and conducting sprint reviews and retrospectives, you can unlock your team’s true potential, and benefit both individuals and the company.

Now, it is your turn. Are you ready to embrace the Scrum methodology and create a productive work environment? Engage in discussions with your colleagues and leaders, brainstorm ideas, and tailor the methodology to suit your team’s working style.

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. I would be delighted to share my experiences in the tech industry, data science, marketing, and product.

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