Posts Tagged ‘Daily’

Here is the very basics of Scrum methodology; we will start simple for the new year:

* Make a list of the things you need to do (Product Backlog)
* Get someone to decide what’s most important and put the list in priority order (Product Owner)
* Set a fixed deadline in the foreseeable future (Sprint Duration)
* Estimate how much you’ll be able to complete by the deadline (Planning Scrum)
* Work through the list in priority order, completing each thing before moving on to the next (Sprint Itself)
* Check your list every day to see how you’re doing (Daily Scrum)
* Even if you haven’t completed everything on the list, release the software when the time is up, in order to realize some benefits
* Review how it went to see if there’s anything you would do differently in future (Sprint Retrospective)
* Repeat (Iterate)

Sometimes, the jargon gets in the way.

Kelly Waters has a great blog called All About Agile that I have recently discovered that has good, no-nonsense Scrum articles, Here are the 10 Points of Success for Agile Development:

1. Active user involvement is imperative
2. The team must be empowered to make decisions
3. Requirements evolve but the timescale is fixed
4. Capture requirements at a high level; lightweight and visual
5. Develop small, incremental releases and iterate
6. Focus on frequent delivery of products
7. Complete each feature before moving on to the next
8. Apply the 80/20 rule
9. Testing is integrated throughout the project lifecycle – test early and often
10. A collaborative and cooperative approach between all stakeholders is essential

Keeping in the spirit of “no jargon”, just contemplate the meaning of the above list. If you would like to read more, check out the full article here.

In Scrum training, I was a little weirded out when Dan Rawsthorne, the session leader, insisted on handing out rubber mice for each table that squeaked when you squeezed them. Everyone at the table looked a little sideways at them, then forgot about them as the presentation went along.

That was, until Dan picked one off of a participant’s table when the one inevitable “I-have-a-question-that-takes-10-minutes-to-ask” person interrupted him with a monologue for the third time in a half an hour. He started squeezing the toy vigorously until this person got the hint to STFU. Dan had demonstrated the Importance of Squeaky Toys in Scrum.

The point of ALL Scrums is to be quick and to the point, that point being to maximize the helpful knowledge transfer between team members and minimize the time-stretching effects of those that soliloquize. A good Planning Scrum for a week-long sprint should be no more than 30 minutes, including taking whatever you need off of the whiteboard and making a list of action items. A Daily Scrum should be over in no more than 15 minutes, and when really done well, less than 10. This brings me to the Use of Squeaky Toys.

No matter how excellent the opportunity looks to get your team members’ input on that thorny issue you have been contemplating how to tackle, dollars to doughnuts, it should NOT be discussed in a Daily Scrum. In my experience, usually these things arise as part of the “what you did yesterday / what are you going to do today” round table, and then someone else jumps in with a possible solution, and then we are off to the races trying to figure out this one problem instead of staying focused. It is difficult to derail these types of (usually) enthusiastic participation, so the completely-out-of-left-field sound of a Squeaky Toy does a great job of breaking into a sidetracked conversation without hurting anyone’s feelings.

After two days of Scrum training, and witnessing the effectiveness of a compressed Scrum (we had 5 minutes for Planning and 2 minutes for Daily at the end of the session), the elected ScrumMaster would always keep his or her hand on the Squeaky Toy, nobody got off topic, and the exercises were completed much faster than we ever thought possible.

Of course, the phrase “OFFLINE!” also became very popular…