The Three “F”s to Instilling Success Habits within Agile Scrum Teams: Foundation, Familiarity and Fundamentals


By Brian Vanderjack


Mabel Menard

Illinois, USA

The test to tell if you have an issue with Agile Scrum Ceremonies (where Ceremonies are re-occurring Agile Scrum meetings) is people not showing up, showing up late or meetings that wonder off topic. If these behaviors are plaguing your Ceremonies the this article can help as it is intended to assist Agile Scrum-Scrum Masters at instilling in Team Members desired habits for Ceremonies and to maintain these desired behaviors. By using the three “F”s as a guide, Ceremonies are by far more likely to have team members show up, start on time, and stay on topic. These three F’s are Foundation, Familiarity and Fundamentals. We find that poor behaviors learned from other team efforts can mar non-Agile efforts and are ready to take control of team member’s minds. It is as if poor behaviors, like not being ready at meeting time or trying to derail a Ceremony, are lurking in the team member’s sub-conscious waiting to manifest themselves. If your Ceremonies are focused on the core reasons for holding the Ceremonies, as defined by Agile Scrum, you are more likely to avoid undesirable behaviors.

For instance, if you are holding a daily standup, adhere to the “Foundation” as indicated by Agile Scrum tenants. The best example is the Daily Standup agenda which is to quickly go to each team member and have them indicate: what did you do yesterday, what are you doing today, and what are your impediments to success, if any? The major issue with these Ceremonies, especially in the Daily Standup is digressing from the stated purpose.

Specifically, the development part of the team will often try to use the Daily Standup for problem solving. This is easily rectified by scheduling a 15 minute “Issues Ceremony” (intended to be a new additional Agile Ceremony) immediately following Daily Standups. The idea, as the name implies is to simply look at each active issue on an issues log and discuss each item quickly. If there is a need for more time to be invested into a topic than can be addressed at a 15 minute time-boxed Ceremony, a new meeting is to be scheduled to burrow into details. We have seen this idea of an issue-Ceremony being scheduled immediately after the Daily Standup work wonders. This is because all participants know that any issue they want to discuss will be given an opportunity for discussion.


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About the Authors


pmwj39-Oct2015-Vanderjack-PHOTO1 BRIANBrian Vanderjack, PMP, MBA, CSM      

Illinois, USA




Brian Vanderjack holds an MBA, granted with Distinction from DePaul University, a PMP, and a CSM certification. He is the Principal Trainer at PMHighway LLC and his new book “The Agile Edge: Managing Projects Effectively Using Agile Scrum” is available on AMAZON.COM (you can find the book at http://amzn.to/1KmR2XB). He has also published several articles on Agile and project management & team leadership that were international journals. In addition he is a/an:

  • Award winning full time ScrumMaster at one of the largest IT departments in the world.
  • Agile Trainer on many occasions at AT&T and at PMCentersUSA (PMCentersUSA is a former winner of vendor of the year from PMI).
  • Successful leader in advancing Agile Scrum having led an effort to create on-demand ScrumMaster Training. Over 1,000 people have taken this training to date.
  • Regular speaker at IBM, AT&T and PMI Chapters on Agile Scrum and Project Management topics, to audiences measured in the hundreds.
  • Seasoned public speaker having provided lively seminars at The Wisconsin Business Analysts Accociation(WIBADD), IEEE, AT&T, Abbott Labs, Northrup Grumman, University of Phoenix, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Abbott labs etc.
  • Award winning instructor working as a faculty member for the University of Phoenix
  • Member of toastmasters, where he has held the position of “Area Governor” and winner of approximately 2 dozen awards for public speaking

Mr. Vanderjack lives Downers Grove, in a suburb of Chicago with his wife, two sons (when they are not in school or traveling somewhere) and a retired show dog/Wheaton Terrier, named Finley. Finley, sadly, was kicked out of the competition circuit early in his competition career due to goofing off too much; like the time he did a back flip during the final judging rounds. The breeder seemed quite happy to give him to us (smile).

Brian loves to meet new people by traveling to new locations to provide seminars and courses on Leadership, Agile Scrum, Project Management, Persuasion, Conflict, Risk, and Presentation Skills for the Professional Work Environment.   He has over 1,000 LinkedIn endorsements for leadership and similar, and can be reached at [email protected].


pmwj39-Oct2015-Vanderjack-PHOTO2 MENARDMabel Menard

Illinois, USA




Mabel Menard has been the Campus College Chair for the College of Social Sciences at the University of Phoenix in Chicago since October 2012, overseeing the Colleges of Humanities & Sciences, Heath Sciences Professions, and Security & Criminal Justice plus the Bachelor’s in Human Services, Criminal Justice Administration, and Health Administration programs. In addition, she acts as a special projects consultant for a social service agency and an HR consultant for a law firm on an as-needed basis. In her spare time, she mentors Asian-American professionals and international students. She is also a mentor and facilitator for the OCA Mentoring Asian-American Professionals program and a mentor and the Social Media Coordinator for the University of the People Mentorship Program.

Ms Menard received her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Social Science and Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Radford University, Radford, Virginia. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from, and was a Psy.D. candidate (ABD) at, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, Illinois. She also received her MBA in Human Resources Management from the University of Phoenix and has been pursuing her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in Health and Human Services.

Ms Menard’s management experience includes retail, acoustics engineering consulting firm, and psychiatric rehabilitation programs. She also has extensive research and quality assurance experience, having been involved in the design of and data collection for various research and quality assurance projects. Her HR experience includes writing, reviewing, and updating personnel and operational policies and advising affiliates on HR best practices.

Ms Menard’s clinical experience includes psychiatric rehabilitation services, student counseling, and court-ordered psychological evaluations and therapy. She also has extensive teaching experience both domestically and internationally. She became a faculty member of University of Phoenix, Chicago campus, in January 2009, teaching courses in Criminal Justice Research, Management, Business Research, Psychology, and Human Services.