As a manager I always attend Sprint Review meetings of my teams. And I think I found an obvious way to make them a little bit more informative. The trick is very simple: I ask basic, even silly, questions. And interestingly, I get more than an answer in return.
First of all, it often seems to me that I wasn’t the only one that wanted to know. So it is not only my curiosity that is being satisfied. Apparently there are more people in a (zoom)room that didn’t know but never asked (why, oh why?!).
Secondly, some seemingly basic questions open some really deep conversations. What looks simple at the first glance, often hides a much more complex mechanism beneath. The first question might peel these first, uninteresting layers, and reveal something that is much more worth discussing. And we all learn a lot.
Last but not least, this first basic/silly question is like a signal to break the silence. Suddenly others are encouraged to ask their questions as well. If I can ask a question (and by doing so, often reveal my lack of understanding of some basic stuff), then apparently they can safely do the same. And in place of a one-way presentation we have a discussion. Which is good.
P.S. You wonder what kind of questions I ask? Here we go:
- “Do I get it right, that the user will use this feature to do X?”
- “What happens if users do Y?”
- “What is the business purpose of this feature?”
- “How will we know the business impact of this feature?”