Steps: Get the Team(s) Started


  1. Coaching:
    1. Coach Team Transitions
    2. Coach the Facilitators
  2. Prepare for Action Items
  3. Tracker:
    1. Choose Tracker Option
    2. Choose a Digital Tracker to Try
    3. Prepare the Digital Tracker for Trial
    4. Create a Paper Tracker
  4. Guidance Roles:
    1. Identify Customer
    2. Identify PO, Facilitator, and Sprint Length
    3. Consider Additional Guidance Roles
    4. Create Initial User Stories
  5. Team Charter:
    1. Create a Mission Statement
    2. Create a Team Behaviors List
    3. Set Meeting Rules
  6. Ceremonies:
    1. Set Initial Grooming Sessions
    2. Set Meeting Schedule
    3. Set Sprint Schedule
  7. Create Quality Process


Coach Team Transitions

Change agent or Agile Coach, if supporting a transition of:

  • One small team—Skip to “Choose Tracker Option.”
  • Two to four teams (only, or up to four at a time):
    1. Begin the “Choose Tracker Option” step set.
    2. When far enough along with that, serve as the Facilitator for each team separately to perform the remaining step sets under “The Sprint Process.”
    3. When the team hits the standard of 100% sprint delivery, help them select a new Facilitator per “Identify PO, Facilitator, and Sprint Length.”
    4. Go to the next steps set.
  • More than four teams at once:
    1. Have them continue with their current project processes until changed using the following steps.
    2. Begin the “Choose Tracker Option” step set.
    3. When far enough along with that, either:
      • Hold a kickoff meeting with all teams at which you lead them through the step sets from “Guidance Roles” to the end of that page (if possible) in which you:
        1. Train them on the background material.
        2. Hand them a printout of the steps set.
        3. Have them perform the step set, letting them facilitate themselves as you wander the room to listen in and provide support.
      • Facilitate each team through those step sets within a two- to three-week period.
    4. Go to the next steps set.

Details: “You’re the Head Coach.”

Coach the Facilitator

  1. Schedule weekly training sessions of the Facilitators.
  2. For the first session, send an agenda asking them to read the “Groom Stories” page and related step sets.
    Note: If the teams did not get through all of the sets under the previous section during the kickoff period, start wherever you left off instead.
  3. At each session:
    1. Facilitate a discussion of any questions or concerns from the previous effort.
    2. Provide general coaching on any other issues you observed, without identifying the team(s) that had them.
    3. Decide as a group which step set(s) to cover in the following week.
    4. Walk participants through the related sections of the “Sprint Process” hypertext and the step set(s).
    5. Facilitate a question-and-answer session.
    6. Ask them to invite you to their related team meetings.
  4. Between sessions:
    • Attend as many team meetings as you can, being careful to let the Facilitator do their job.
      Tip: Be more of an observer than a participant, only volunteering information if the Facilitator says something wrong about FuSS.
    • Check the results in the tracker and other documentation.
    • Privately coach Facilitators on issues you observe, in person if possible, and by video conference or phone if not.
  5. When all teams are making progress toward the 100% sprint delivery standard, continue to the “Coach Release Planning” steps set if relevant.

Details: “You’re the Head Coach.”

Prepare for Action Items

  1. Decide as a team what means you will use to track action items not recorded in the tracker.
  2. Set an action item for someone to set up the method and make sure all members have access to the list.

Note: In all remaining action boxes, a step saying to create an action item includes recording it in the tracker or other method from Step 2.


Choose Tracker Option

  1. Seek volunteers to do the following steps as a temporary “action team.”
    Note: If the tracker will support a group of teams, ask for at least one representative from each team.
  2. Schedule a meeting of those volunteers.
  3. At the meeting, decide whether to investigate a digital solution.
    Note: For multiple teams contributing to the same deliverable, you must eventually use a digital tracker.
  4. For the:
    • Digital option—Go to the next steps set.
    • Paper option, or to start Scrum before a digital tracker is chosen—Skip to “Create a Paper Tracker.”
  5. If desired, also go to “Guidance Roles” and continue preparations in parallel with the tracker selection.

Details: “Choose a Tracker.”

Choose a Digital Tracker to Try

  1. If you have an IT department, contact it to learn the security requirements for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tools.
  2. Conduct a Web search using the phrase, “Agile tool,” going deep into the results.
  3. Choose and gain access to two or three options, making sure each:
    • Specifically says it is a Scrum tool (not just “Agile”).
    • Offers a free trial, preferably for 60 or more days.
    • Allows importing and exporting of user stories through spreadsheets.
    • If a SaaS—Meets your IT security requirements.
  4. Follow the instructions at Agile Tracking Tool Comparison.
    Note: This step will take up to a month, so you may begin the “Guidance Roles” sets in parallel.
  5. When finished with Step 4, continue to the next set.

Prepare the Digital Tracker for Trial

  1. Present your findings to the team and the manager who will fund the tool, if that is not you, and as a group choose the first to try.
  2. Designate at least two tool administrators.
  3. Have them:
    1. Perform any configuration set-up required.
    2. Arrange for everyone on the team(s) to gain access to the tool with appropriate permissions:
    3. Editing rights for team members and the Customer, once identified (see next section of boxes).
    4. Provide instructions to the team members for getting started.
    5. Ask users to complete any basic tutorials prior to the start of the first sprint, or provide a short training session by the admin(s).
  4. Create this action item (for each team): “Facilitate team decision on whether to use current tracker or try another one—Facilitator—Next Retrospective.”


  • If the decision is to try another, come back to this box and repeat the steps above until a tracker is chosen.
  • If disagreements arise among teams, reconvene the decision team to choose next steps.

Details: “The Digital Option.”

Create a Paper Tracker

  1. Arrange for a large white board, cork board, or flat wall space with minimal holes or protrusions to be dedicated to the team’s use.
  2. Obtain:
    1. Large lined note cards (at least 5″ x 8″) or sticky notes that size.
    2. Sticky notes in two colors, 2″ x 2″.
    3. Masking tape.
  3. Use the tape to mark these sections vertically from left to right, down the entire board, and label them:
    1. “Product Backlog”
    2. “Sprint Backlog,” with these subcolumns:
      1. “Stories”
      2. “Planned”
      3. “In-Progress”
      4. “Completed”
      5. “Accepted”
  4. Use tape to create a horizontal line below the column labels.
  5. Create at least five rows high enough for your note cards using more horizontal lines of tape.
    Note: Leave room at the bottom of the board for more rows, as you won’t know how many you need until you establish your velocity.


Details: “The Paper Option.”

Guidance Roles

Identify Customer

Team Manager:

  1. Identify a potential Customer, outside or inside of your enterprise.
  2. Send that person a copy of the “Customer” section.
  3. Meet with the person and their direct supervisor to answer questions and address concerns.
  4. If:
    • The person and manager agree, send an e-mail confirming their agreement, with a short deadline by which they must identify a backup.
    • Either does not agree, repeat steps 1–3 until you get an agreement from someone to fill the role properly.
  5. Inform the team.
  6. Ensure the Facilitator invites the Customer and backup to all Ceremonies except the Retrospective.
    Note: The Customer or backup is expected only at the Demo, but is welcome at the others.

Details: “Customer.”

Identify PO, Facilitator, and Sprint Length

Team without the Team Manager present:

  1. Decide as a group whom will serve as Product Owner.
    Details: “Product Owner.”
  2. Decide whether to rotate the Facilitator position, and if so, identify:
    1. Who is willing to serve.
    2. The frequency of rotation.
    3. Where in the sprint/release cycle the change will occur.
      Details: “Facilitator.”
  3. If not rotating the position, decide who will serve as Facilitator.
    Note: This includes the option of asking another Facilitator in the organization to do the role, or working with two or three other teams to hire a Facilitator for all. If hiring, refer to “Let the Team Do the Hiring.”
  4. Decide how long to make the sprints initially: one, two, three, or four weeks.
    Details: “Choose a Sprint Cycle.”
  5. Continue to the next set.

Consider Additional Guidance Roles

  1. Discuss whether the team needs outside help with technical issues such as architecture, analysis or cooperation with other organizations.
  2. If so:
    1. Review the “Architect” and “Agile Liaison” sections.
    2. Perform the related steps.*

Create Initial User Stories

Customer and Product Owner:

  1. If you do not have enough customer and market requirements to fill at least two months of the team’s time under your current processes, try to gather that many.
  2. Write or convert all requirements into sprint-sized user stories in your Product Backlog, each with at least a first draft of:
    1. The story statement in this format: “As a [type of user], I want [to do this] so that I can [achieve this purpose].”
    2. Acceptance criteria—The tangible, measurable proof the story was completed.
      Tip: If this proves impossible, convert large requirements into epics in the same format, and then create stories to complete those epics.
  3. Add an initial set of business and technical requirements, including other needed story types such as support and cross-training stories.
  4. Read the “Pre-Groom for Speed” section and perform its steps.

Details: “Create User Stories.”

Team Charter

Create a Mission Statement

Team, guided by the Facilitator:

  1. Decide what application to use for the Team Charter and where to store it.
    Examples: Text document in a network share or document repository; a wiki; etc.
  2. Decide whether to include team process and procedure decisions in it, and if not, what location to use for those.
  3. Write the company’s mission and any division missions on a board.
  4. Create a draft mission statement.
    Suggestion: Ask yourselves, “What do you want to achieve? In other words, why does this team exist?”
  5. Add a “Mission” section at the top of the charter with the draft statement.
  6. Continue to the next set.

Details: “Set Teamwork Expectations.”

Create a Team Behaviors List

Team, guided by the Facilitator:

  1. Write on the board the team’s list of answers to this question: “Thinking back over your whole work life, what kinds of things have teammates done that drove you crazy?”
  2. Delete, combine, and revise the items to a list of no more than ten behaviors.
  3. Reword these into rules.
    Example: If the item was, “People interrupting each other instead of listening,” your rule might be, “Wait until someone finishes their point to speak.”
  4. (Optional) Group and label these according to values.
    Example: The rule in the previous example might fall under “Respect.”
  5. Decide what to call this list (Values, Rules, Code of Conduct, etc.).
  6. Add a section by that name and the list to the charter.
  7. Continue to the next set.

Details: “Set Teamwork Expectations.”

Set Meeting Rules

Team, guided by the Facilitator:

  1. Decide if the team can agree to follow the rules under “Initial Mandatory Rules” for two months.
  2. If there are major objections to any of the rules, negotiate a change that will make the rule acceptable.
    Note: You are only trying these rules for now, and will be able to change them after seeing how they work.
  3. Ask if anyone knows another meeting time-waster that should be addressed.
  4. If so, negotiate a rule to address it.
  5. Discuss whether to implement the “Silence or absence equals consensus” rule immediately or wait six months.
  6. If the decision is to wait, create an action item to consider it at that time.

Details: “Set Meeting Rules.”


Set Initial Grooming Sessions


  1. Find out the date by which the Product Owner expects to draft the minimum number of stories (see the “Create Initial User Stories” box.
  2. Guess how many stories the team can do in two sprints.
  3. Schedule grooming sessions starting after the Step 1 date that:
    1. Together allow a half-hour per story from Step 2.
    2. Last a maximum of two hours per session.


  • For nine stories (4.5 hours), you might set two, two-hour meetings, plus a one-hour meeting, for a total of five hours.
  • Allow at least one calendar day between each session to prevent people from burning out.

Details: “Set Initial Grooming Sessions.”

Set Meeting Schedule


  1. In a team meeting, facilitate decisions on:
    1. Whether to skip a day between sprints (two-week or longer sprints only).
    2. Starting and ending days of the week for sprints.
    3. Days for Grooming Sessions each sprint.
    4. Preferred times for each of the ceremonies, at times all team members will usually be able to attend.
  2. Record the decisions in your Team Charter or procedure location.
  3. Schedule using your organization’s calendar tool, or an online tool:
    1. The ceremonies as recurring meetings.
    2. Grooming sessions if recurring.
      Tip: If you have virtual attendees, create a Web conference and embed the link into your meeting invitation.
  4. If using a digital tracker, set up the first few sprints.

Details: “Schedule Meetings.”

Set Sprint Schedule


  1. In a team meeting, facilitate decisions on when to schedule:
    1. A Planning Ceremony (one hour per sprint week) on the first day of each sprint.
    2. A Daily Standup (15 minutes) every sprint day except the first and last.
    3. A Demo (30−60 mins.) the last day of each sprint.
    4. A Retro (30 mins.) between the Demo and next Planning Ceremony, with only team members invited.
    5. Grooming sessions (see table in the section linked below), unless part of a longer Planning Ceremony.
  2. Use your calendar tool to set the meetings, negotiating moves of existing appointments with specific members if needed to accommodate the team’s preferences.


  • You may find it easier to schedule scrums every workday, and cancel specific instances that conflict with ceremonies or days off when you get close to them in real time.
  • Even if you hold your Retro right after the Demo, schedule them as separate meetings and warn stakeholders they will be released after the Demo portion.

Details: “Choose Ceremony Days and Times.”

Create Quality Process

Team, guided by the Facilitator:

  1. If your organization has a bug-tracking method, decide whether to adapt it to Scrum or to use your tracker.
  2. Create a table that defines criticality levels if your organization does not have one, and responses to each, like the table in “Set Criticality Levels and Responses” (or simply adopt that table).
  3. Decide whether to use a triage team, and if so:
    1. Identify members, including a facilitator and backup.
    2. Set an initial meeting schedule.
      Details: “Triage and Resolve Defects.”
  4. Record the decisions in your Team Charter or procedure location.
  5. Create an action item to prepare the bug-tracker or your Scrum tracker with a field reflecting the levels, and create an Action Item.

Do not proceed with the “Groom Stories” steps until you have completed all of the steps above. Generally, you need to:

  • Create your Team Charter.
  • Have your tracker ready to go, including initial training of the team on its use.
  • Set up your ceremonies.
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