10 questions to ask at Show and Tell

    By Jamie Arnold, agile delivery expert and Public Digital Network member.

    Effective governance enables the right things to be delivered in the right way. However, for organisations using agile, governance tends to feel different and can be a bit of culture shock to those unfamiliar with this way of working.

    One way to exercise effective governance in an agile setting is to take an active leadership role during Show and Tell, a space where agile teams come together and share their work and learnings.

    That means providing input that is supportive, constructive and challenging: asking questions which help the team presenting and their listeners get the most out of the conversation.

    Show and tell
    ALT: an agile service team at one of their weekly Show & Tells with a large group of collaborators and other stakeholders.

    Here are 10 questions you could ask your agile teams at their regular Show and Tell to provide effective challenge, help grow trust and demonstrate supportive leadership:

    1. Ask the team to clarify something they tried to explain as part of their Show and Tell, but didn't do so clearly enough.

    2. Ask a question you suspect someone in the audience has, but isn't asking for whatever reason.

    3. Ask a question to check the team’s hygiene (“Please show me that in your backlog. What was your definition of ‘done’?")

    4. Ask a question that you know the answer to, and it will make the team proud to share.

    5. "What's the outcome, again?"

    6. "What's the most important thing you learned from users this sprint?"

    7. When is the first actual user going to encounter something real for the first time?

    8. Can you tell me which bits of the roadmap you changed during this sprint?

    9. Who is the operational person on the team? What do they think is being missed?

    10. When was the last time your most junior developer observed some user research?

    In agile delivery, course correction is done in smaller increments, meaning there are no ‘big bad news’ moments. Knowing how to bring rigour and leadership to a team Show & Tell will help manage risk and provide effective assurance.

    Support teams by asking good questions at their Show & Tell. Trust them but verify as you go. Turn governance into engagement.

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