Who’s in? – The Sprint Calendar

Recently I worked with some Scrumteams consisting partly of students, meaning they weren’t available every day of the Sprint, depending on their class schedule. So far during Sprint Planning I asked each team member for their availability during the Sprint (including vacations etc.) and the team based their commitment on this information. But when the Sprint started I noticed some uncertainty about missing team members within the team, e.g. when it came to the Daily Scrum. “Is Eric coming in today?” “Hmm, I’m not sure, isn’t he in class today?” “No, on Wednesday he’s usually in the office, but he might have mumbled something about exam preparation yesterday. Anyway, at least Mel should be around, right?” “No, Mel, took a day off spontaneously” “Damn, I didn’t know, I need her for a code review”.

Each of my teams got to this confusing discussion sooner or later. For this reason I thought about improvements and came up with something we currently use quite successfully: The Sprint Calendar. It’s just a simple table showing the team members’ names and the days of the Sprint. During Sprint Planning I provide a printout of the Sprint Calendar and ask each team member to mark their planned absences. Afterwards I put it on the wall next to the Scrum Board. Absences which were not known during Sprint Planning (like spontaneous vacations) can easily be updated during the Sprint. If a team member calls in sick someone from the team (or the Scrum Master) updates the Sprint Calendar accordingly.

During following Daily Scrums I saw team members glance at the Sprint Calendar, checking for themselves if the colleague they’re missing is due to be in the office or absent. After introducing the Sprint Calendar there hasn’t been any confusion like described above anymore.

I attached a simple version of the Sprint Calendar as an Excel Sheet. Feel free to modify it to fit your needs. Possible improvements could be for example

  • splitting the days into morning and afternoon
  • using the team members’ pictures or avatars instead of their names
  • printing the team logo on the calendar

If you try or even extend the Sprint Calendar please let me know about your experience.Attachments

 

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