Focusing on the unique: Teamwork and productivity in the workplace

“Be careful with the things you only get one of.”

While this applies to a lot of things in life, it is especially true when it comes to how I try to execute my work here at Alley. As a Scrum Master and Agile Process Leader, my role is to serve a Scrum Team by influencing and collaborating with them to achieve their maximum performance. This means I do a lot of observing and listening. I look for and address impediments, ways to improve our processes, and facilitate our Scrum meetings.

Over the course of a project’s life cycle, I may conduct hundreds of meetings, our team will push thousands of lines of code, and we’ll have countless interactions with our team members and clients. So much of our work lives are repeatable, routine actions. And so, throughout the day-to-day of a project, I try to identify the things I will only get one of. These are the things I give special attention to and handle with care.

At Alley, our production sprints last one week, so over the course of a year I’ll lead 52 sprint plannings, 52 retrospective meetings, and so on. As such, I don’t get too wrapped around the axle on what format we use for those Scrum ceremonies. For example, for our retrospective meetings we may use the 4L’s model, discuss happiness metrics, or one of many other retro meeting formats. Honestly, I don’t really care – we’re still going to get useful information, whichever method we use. What I do pay close attention to, though, are the things inside of those meetings I will only get one of.

I only get one chance to have a good relationship with my co-workers, so I want to ensure I listen to them, I am respectful of them, and I help them become better this Sprint than they were the previous one.

I only get one capacity per Sprint, so I want to ensure the team is not overcommitting, which leads to burnout.

I only get one chance to raise an impediment in time before it derails the Sprint.

I only get one chance to leave a good impression with our clients, so I want us to deliver great work at the end of each Sprint.

Of course, my job is not the only one filled with many of the same things. As you read through hundreds of your own emails, or sit through long hours of meetings, look for those once-in-a-lifetime moments. Take that chance to be a best friend, be an awesome teammate, and to make a positive impact on the projects and people you serve. Have fun, learn as you go, and be exceedingly careful with the things you only get one of!

Want more inspiration on implementing Scrum? check out the latest insights from our team of experts.