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I am on a scrum team. my company has sort of a freeze period going on, where in there are meant to be no releases of our software product / services. So, though there is still enough work for most of us, it means we are not on a deadline.

However, I am the one who does have a deadline that needs to be met soon during this period, it is an exception just like many others have in my company during this time period. No body else though has a deadline in my team.

I am working on the deadline relevant tasks during and after office hours. So that I can complete it as soon as possible.

The problem:
in the midst of all this, there is a un-planned task that gets added to my plate, which is eating up quite some time off my sprint and is taking much more time than expected to complete. And now due to some reasons, I am blocked on this unplanned work task.

During our standups,

  1. Our product owner does not listen to my status
  2. the product owner tells me that I must use my time to do other things if I am stuck in a task and have nothing else to do (whereas he/she must know what tasks I am already on)

Due to this:

  1. I have realized that my team mates think I am not good at time management
  2. I don't know why my PO doesn't look interested in my status updates

My questions:

  1. Does my PO think I really have nothing on my plate and that I am wasting time?
  2. If so, what could have led her to believe that in spite of her knowing that i am working late hours and having road blocks that i am battling with?
  3. Will her such statement in my standup really affect the way my colleagues view me
  4. what are the things I must take care of or be cautious about to not let this happen again?
  • Are those 'deadline tasks' part of the work that your scrum team has committed to for this sprint, or are they handled outside the context of the sprint? If they are outside the sprint, what are the agreements for dealing with such non-sprint work and for how many % are you allocated to the scrum team? – Bart van Ingen Schenau Nov 7 '14 at 7:59
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    possible duplicate of Why is it important to gain "visibility" in the workplace? – gnat Nov 7 '14 at 8:12
  • Thanks gnat! i read this post too - it has some real good answers and pointers!! appreciate it! – nysa Nov 12 '14 at 3:43
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Document your work, in writing.

However, remember that (a) what you get judged on, in the end, is how much you accomplish rather than how hard you're working, (b) if you're blocked, it's your responsibility to actively go out and get help, (c) unplanned tasks happen, and sprints will sometimes miss targets, and that's OK, but (d) if an unplanned task will make something else late it's also your responsibility to say so and have the least important task (as defined by management) recognized as possibly deferred to next sprint, repeating as necessary.

(Much of my own current assignment is driven by customer support, which is completely unpredictable in amount and timing. My group has learned that those of us with these responsibilities simply can't be counted as being 100% available during the sprint. We try to rotate who's got the additional support responsibilities, but when it involves specialized skills all we can do is track it over multiple sprints until we have some sense of what the average load will be and allocate that person to burning down the backlog at significantly less than 100%. If there's a known critical situation coming into the sprint, I may be 0% available for anything but that customer... and it's been known to go negative.)

2

You could avoid these situations in future by following the below steps.

  1. Document your work in terms of what you agree with your manager in step 2 in terms of precise goals which have the following attributes -quality of deliverable, quantity of work, agreed timeline,expectations agreed upon,reason if something did not work as expected.

  2. Communicate and get Feedback: Setup bi-weekly or weekly one-one meetings with your PO to discuss about your current work, and discuss about the attributes discussed in step 1. You would certainly get the signs and feedback on a one on one meeting which you could use constructively on your work.

  3. Being proactive: For example you could brainstorm for problems with the team and bring to the table the ideas to solve the problem.
  4. Personal branding: Focus on a key area to work and develop expertise in the chosen area. Being a go to person may change people's perspective.
  5. Seek a mentor: Seek mentorship from a colleague who is not in your team and much senior as well an expert in your chosen branding.
  6. Giving back: Helping others with their work when you have time by providing mentorship with your expertise

Hope this helps. Good luck

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