Evolving Scrum with Kanban #2 – Measure What?

In the second in this series of blog posts, I would like to tell you about my journey into metrics; what difficulties I had, what I learned about the use of metrics, and how metrics will help to improve the chance of successul change.

The third Kanban practice tells us to “Measure and Manage Flow”. When I started to use Kanban, I had my dificulties with this. First, I wasn’t sure whether it would be okay to measure performance of my team (hint: it’s about measuring the performance of the system, not the team) and second of all, I just didn’t know where to start. Nonetheless, I gave it a try and was confronted with the question: “What should I measure?”. Continue reading Evolving Scrum with Kanban #2 – Measure What?

Agile Coach Camp Germany 2011

I just arrived home from this year Agile Coach Camp Germany in Rückersbach close to Frankfurt and although I am pretty tired I want to give you a small expression of this great weekend.

The theme of this year Agile Coach Camp was “The inner fire works!” and every single participant helped to make the fire huge. There were a lot of sessions proposed, all of them interesting and exciting and some of them were proposed even for the evening in the bar. As I said before, the fire was huge. There are three sessions I want to mention and tell you a little bit more about. Continue reading Agile Coach Camp Germany 2011

Agile Lean Europe network – By the people for the people

Last week fourteen people all especially dedicated to agile and/or lean met in Munich to discuss Jurgen Appelo‘s idea of an Agile Lean Europe network, short ALEnetwork. The meet up was not a Munich phenomenon. Not at all. Everywhere in Europe people have met to discuss the idea and gather some information on what ALEnetwork is to them, what they expect and especially what they don’t expect.

The position of the Luxembourgish community on ALEnetwork is an awesome expample of ideas people came up with. Not only did they meet, Pierre NEIS also made the following very cool slideshare. Continue reading Agile Lean Europe network – By the people for the people

Testers vs. Developer – United in the Name of Quality

In my last post I wrote about how the Product Owner can help to increase the quality of the software without crossing the line, staying in the framework given to the Product Owner role. Although I wrote, there are plenty of articles about how developers can increase software quality, I still want to do a follow up on my last post. Just to have both sides covered.

So what do we have in our toolbox for developers? First there are plenty of tools and it would take me a while to describe them all. Therefore I will elaborate on just a couple of them in detail.

I assume the fact we are talking or thinking about quality means we want to write good software and don’t want our customer to find any bugs. Therefore we are all testing our software. It starts with the developer, who will run the code he just wrote and ends with somebody testing the complete software. I am writing somebody, because some people might not have dedicated testers in their project. That’s the point to start at – get a tester!

Wait, wait! Don’t leave!

Continue reading Testers vs. Developer – United in the Name of Quality

Product Owner increasing software quality

A week or two ago I got the feeling of hearing product owner complaining about software quality and developers talking more and more about fixing bugs and telling the product owner in the sprint review there “are still small things to do, to finally be done”. To be sure if my feeling was right, I asked the product owner for their opinion regarding the quality of the delivered software. I didn’t have to wait very long to receive answers to my question every single one telling me the same in different wording. In short “Yes quality sucks!”

Everyone dealing with Scrum or Agile Methods stumbles sooner or later over Extreme Programming practices like pair programming, code-review, continuous integration, unit- and acceptance tests, refactoring and test-driven development(short TDD) to name the best known. There are some more like behavior-driven development(BDD) for example and all practices mentioned are intended to help developers write better code. Continue reading Product Owner increasing software quality

ScrumMaster in an advanced Team

My trip to the Scrumtisch in Hamburg really was a worthwhile trip. Thanks to Christian Dähn we had a great time with a lot of interesting discussions. Christian tried an open space for the first time and it worked great. Two topics where especially interesting, both addressing a similar issue, whereby they ended up being discussed in the same breath.

1. Is an advanced self-organizing team still in need of a Scrum Master?
2.How much pressure does a team need?(Evolved to: How do we keep the pressure on the team and whose job is it?)

The thought behind 1. is that if a team is self-organizing at the highest level, what’s the job of the Scrum Master? Is it confined to moderating meetings the team has or not even that because the team takes care of it, too?
This thought is followed by the second topic. The topic owner suggested that a team advancing in a project is simultaneous getting unchallenged and therefore lazy. Continue reading ScrumMaster in an advanced Team

Scrumtisch Hamburg

Scrumtisch Hamburg

Wow last weeks were pretty busy didn’t find the time to write anything. My job is keeping me busy. Worst thing is I wasn’t able to finish a paper I promised to finish until last weekend.  Note to myself: Get it DONE!

This week is very busy, too, but most important is the Scrumtisch in Hamburg. I am looking forward to new people, good talks and learning new things. This event will be very interesting especially, because it is so short after the Scrum Gathering in Munich. Just take a look at the count of people attending even the place had to be changed. Even a new location had to be found.

Talking about Munich I just received an invitation to the Scrumtisch in Munich, Don’t know if I am attending, because Munich is a little to far for me.

So long, see you in Hamburg

The equation(s) behind Retrospectives

Sometimes the management doesn’t understand the meaning of retrospectives. Why is the team spending time talking about problems, although there seem to be no problems, instead of heading into the next sprint? For them it’s barely comprehensible, to hear there are impediments though the team managed to deliver all backlog items they committed to do.

Show them a variety of impediments you discovered in previous retrospectives or ask them to wait for the next retrospective(if it is the first). Important: Tell your team you will show the impediments to the managements and why. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable with and would see it as a stab in the back! Also tell the management they are not allowed to join the retrospective unless the team wants it! The equation the management will understand is: Continue reading The equation(s) behind Retrospectives

Scrum.org: Ken Schwaber

As you probably all know Ken Schwaber is no longer president of the Scrum Alliance. That doesn’t mean he turned his back on Scrum – not at all. It just seems that he takes his teachings very serious. By teachings I mean the point of the ongoing change in processes.

His change is reflected by starting Scrum.org[1] surrounding himself with:

the developers of Scrum and the best Scrum practitioners in the industry

It was founded and aimed to:

  1. Help individuals assess their knowledge of Scrum and how to use it.
  2. Help organizations find the best training courses, coaching, consulting, and topical Q&A sessions to optimize their use of Scrum.
  3. Help Scrum teams and organizations learn how to optimize their Total Cost of Ownership for systems and products built using Scrum.
  4. Initiate innovative programs, such as the Scrum Developer, to accelerate the effectiveness of Scrum.

Scrum.org has only top-drawer facilities and skills aimed to help those who are dead serious about competing in the product and systems development marketplace.

Looking at the site you will find out Ken Schwaber backs away from the certifications of Scrum Masters. Instead Scrum.org is using a personal “radar map” of “competence in knowing and applying Scrum”, which is formed by taking assessments. One of the assessments is already accessible, you just have to ask for a password by writing an email to Ken.

I am very excited about how companies will react, if they still want the certification or they’ll follow Ken’s way. The happening at the Scrum Gathering in Munich will absolutely be interesting. Who would have thought the next Scrum Gathering in Germany would get so much attention?!

[1]http://www.scrum.org/