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That Was the Year That Was

I’ve promisedmyself I would actually take some vacation this week, and fortunatelywith small children in the house, it’s actually possible to doso! So, before the kids wake up, a blitz retrospective: High Points,Low Points and Potential for Improvement in 2009.
High PointsBecoming an independent Scrum Trainer and Coach. I really want my customers to say thank you for the work I do for them -- while I am not averse to getting paid, a satisfied customer is what makes it all worthwhile.
Scrum Breakfast Community became the Swiss ICT Lean Agile Scrum Group. I figured as a one man show, I could never mount a “real” marketing campaign, so instead, I set out to build a community. This community helps build acceptance for Scrum (and by implication, my services). But a community only functions effectively if it the community belongs to its members. And when it does, it takes on a life of its own!
Quick Polls on my blog. I started doing them because they were good for getting attention. I like to …

Scrum Breakfast/Dec/Project Lighting Beacons

Once again, we are pleased to welcome to the Scrum Breakfast in Zurich speakers from abroad with real world experience introducing Scrum into large organizations.

Christoph "Krishan" Mathis and Simon Roberts will describe their approach to Enterprise Scrum based on their experiences introducing Scrum in traditional organizations in the UK and Germany. They will touch on the following topics during the talk:
How to use the original unmodified Scrum frameworkHow to augment Scrum by specific best practices for project chartering, agile engineering and embedding into the needs of corporate governance and control.How the introduction of Scrum inevitably has an impact on an organization’s culture, leadership style, job definitions etc.Scaling ScrumManaging the transition to Scrum from a change management perspectivePitfalls and key success factors for a successful transition Using a metaphor of “Lighting Beacons” to describe their approach, they will tell the story of how they intr…

Recommendations

I am always happy when a customer says 'Thank you'. It's actually my top objective when I give a course or take on a consulting assignment.

Anton Schultschik took my course Agile Project Management for Scrum Teams a few months ago, and this is what he had to say about it:



If the image is jumpy, here is a low resolution version. And a German language version.

Thank you, Anton for taking the time to produce such a special recommendation!

Towards Agile Talking Points [was: Towards an Agile Litmus Test]

Last week, I published a poll which tried to identify criteria for an agile litmus test.  I wanted some talking points to complement the Nokia test as I start to coach a new agile project. There seem to be strong feelings against testing. The inquiry generated little enthusiasm on dzone, whereas Michael's criticism of these tests came up strongly positive.

As I started the above mentioned project, I discovered that the questions I proposed were not that helpful.  The real problems become obvious very quickly as I watched the team do its sprint retrospective and sprint planning. Reacting to what I see is more important than doing an academic evaluation.

As I write this article, 8 people have voted on the poll. Not exactly the wisdom of crowds, but you can get an idea of what people consider important. Here are the top vote getters:
Colocated: Is the team colocated? - 8
User Stories: Do you define the product in terms of user stories? - 8Releases: Have you delivered running, tested, …

Towards an Agile RFP

Yesterday I attended an open space session at the Stockholm Scrum Gathering on Agile Contracting. My work on creating an Agile Request for Proposal fell on very interested ears. So as promised, here an overview on the series on planning big agile projects, which concludes with the sub-series on the Agile RFP:
How to get your agile project approved
The Big Development Project: How much should it cost?Creating the Scrum Product Backlog: Start with the Users!Filling the Product Backlog: Go For ExcitementPrioritizing the Product Backlog The articles on the RFP process -- Finding a Partner to Trust -- are the last three in the series:
Using Scrum to Create an Agile RFPContents of the Agile RFP to Outsource a SW Development ProjectsUsing Competitive Sprints to find a SW Developer

Quick Poll: A Litmus Test for Agile Development

This summer, I asked how many teams are doing Scrum according to the minimal definitions of the Nokia Test. 74% of Scrum Teams responding are doing what Jeff Sutherland now calls Scrum-Butt - "we're doing Scrum, but for some reason, we can't do all of Scrum." According to Jeff, even Scrum-Butt companies may improve their revenue, but those who go beyond Scrum-Butt do much better financially than those who accept dysfunctions. Jeff has extended the Nokia test to identify the factors which help companies achieve this "hyper-productive" state.

Most of my clients are not yet ready to extend the envelope. They are trying to achieve the basics of good agile management and development. For these companies, the Nokia test is a good place to start, an early milestone, but not the final goal. (BTW - Alistair Cockburn's 7 Crystal Properties also look like a good starting point, and some of his points are raised in the candidate list below).

The next question is h…

Are there really situations for which agile is unsuitable

Last Wednesday, Dani Tobler of Zühlke gave his take on the virtues of agile and non-agile (i.e. RUP) approaches to product management.

Dani brings his experience developing embedded software and teaching students at a "Fachhochschule" (Technical University) to the table. Applications for which electronics, mechanics and software all play are role. Incremental releases and feature driven development seem less natural to the world of embedded systems.

An interesting analogy: Project planning compared to mountain climbing. If you are trying to climb Mount Everest, you plan, staff and budget quite differently than if you are planning family trip to nearest park (in our case, the Uetliberg). So the approach to large SW Project might/could/should be different than for small projects.

He presented decision criteria which Zühlke used to use for deciding whether Agile was appropriate:  Size, Criticality, Team Skills, Change and Culture. And proceeded to debunk all of them. Only two ca…

November Scrum Breakfast: SwissICT and the Journey to Agile

The SwissICT, largest IT and Communications association in Switzerland, has agreed to support an initiative from Ueli Kleeb, Reto Maduz (to name just of few the the interested people at Zühlke) and myself to form Specialist Group ("Fachgruppe") Lean-Agile-Scrum.

The November Scrum Breakfast will serve double duty as the founding meeting for the Lean-Agile-Scrum Group. All people interesting in promoting and developing Agile and related practices are invited to join us.

For a special event, a special keynote: Manfred Reindl, Vice President Engineering for Borland’s Lifecycle Quality Management division in Linz will discuss with us:

The Journey Towards Agile

While agile practices are starting to make their way into large enterprises, in most instances this has been a “bottom up” movement driven through grassroots efforts. But, as success stories draw attention to the benefits of agile practices, an increasing number of executives are considering making a company-wide agile tra…

What is Agile?

I almost didn't go to the Agile Business Conference in London, but I am glad I did.

My introduction to Agile was Scrum, through which I discovered XP and Lean. Artem reported from Toronto that Agile seemed to be focusing around Scrum and XP, and that the two factions were putting their internal rivalries behind them and calling the results 'Agile'.

Scrum and XP were not very visible at this conference. Present yes, for instance in the Keynote from Borland, but both ceded the limelight in deference to DSDM, the host of the event.

I discovered agile is a much wider than 'just' Scrum and XP, so wide that it risks turning into a bandwagen and losing all meaning. Many methodologies and frameworks were present, including DSDM, RUP (an excellent presentation from BJSS discussed developing a real time trading system using what was clearly RUP, even though they didn't call it by name), and OpenUP.

OpenUP is an attempt to turn RUP, a humungous methodology which usually n…

8 Questions for Your CEO

Have you been wondering how to get your CEO's attention long enough to have a conversation about agile? Here are 8 questions, inspired by Rob Thomsett, long time Agile Evangelist and keynote speaker at this year's Agile Business Conference in London:
Are project management and development free of bureaucracy?Are projects delivered fast enough?Are the project business cases well developed and managed?Is the level of transparency around projects sufficient?Are Steering Committees effective?Are the progress reports you receive accurate?Have you ever been, or do you expect to be ambushed about a project you are sponsoring? Chances are good your top management will answer 'no' to most if not all of these questions, except for the last one. These are all symptoms of disease. This disease has no name, but it is closed, dishonest and distrustful. It poisons the atmosphere and prevents effective communication.

Agile is about openness, honesty, trust, courage, and an ethical atti…

Scrum Courses for Teams & Early Adopters

This fall I will be offering two public courses on Scrum, both in Zurich, Switzerland (Schweiz) and in German, a revised Agile Project Management with Scrum ("APMS"), once as an afternoon course and once as an intensive course.

APMS is an introduction to Scrum for developers, project leaders, business analysts and program managers who want get started with Scrum. After completing this course, your head will understand Scrum, your stomach will have digested why Scrum works, and your hands will be able to do Scrum.

The afternoon course is configured esspecially for early adopters who can't really get away from their day jobs. The course is spread over 4 afternoons on two consecutive weeks. So you can take the course and still pay attention to you day job. Monday and Thursday afternoons from October 27 through November 6. Check out the course description.

For teams: A full time course for people and teams who prefer intensive training. Two days of hands on training to get tha…

Scrum Course Retrospective: Team Training Rocks!

Last Week I held two open courses on Scrum: Agile Project Management with Scrum and Scrum Sprint Zero. Both took place here in beautiful downtown Zurich, Switzerland. The participants learned about Scrum but they also learned about the potential that a team can unleash under the right conditions.

Ball Point Game
The ball point came was a fascinating example of how teams can self organize to improve themselves. The team must produce something with tennis balls (let's just call them points for the moment). After getting an explanation how to produce points, the group estimates how many they can achieve.

The first individual estimate was 8. The first group estimate as 24. They took bets on whether 24 could be exceeded. Their first run was 18. After 4 runs, they accomplished 67 and their best run was 75 - nearly 10 times the original estimate and 4 times the first run. How did they achieve this? Inspect and adapt, i.e. using the basics of Scrum.
Sprint ZeroThose who stayed for the seco…

October Scrum Breakfast in Zürich: Projects Unsuitable for Agile?

The October Scrum Breakfast will once again address the theme of Scrum in the real world, this time examining the conflict between traditional "plan driven" and agile process models. A list of the topics:
Are there projects for which traditional plan driven process models are more appropriate, or where agile methods cannot effectively be applied?
What are the differences and commonalities between agile and plan driven processes?Is it possible to combine the two into a 'best of both worlds' approach? Daniel Tobler is a Software Architect at Zühlke Engineering AG. Through his daily work, he comes in contact with software projects for many different companies, which use different various process models. His work focuses mostly on interdiciplinary projects, which include hardware, software and mechanical engineering. He has been using Scrum (or elements of Scrum since 2002).

Daniel Tobler developed the latest Zühlke-Poster (SW Processes Today), which is the basis for the t…

ETH Radar Station: A dieu

I received a sad email this week. The ETH weather radar will be taken off line this fall to make room for some sort of guest house. It's hard for me to judge the importance of this radar station to the ETH, its students and faculty. I'm sure it was substantial.

As an example of a valuable public service, it ranks up with there with the time table information of the SBB or ZVV. Metradar.ch provides free, up-to-date weather radar for most of Switzerland, in a form that is quick and easy to access either from a browser or an internet capable handy. The delay is negligible and the service is free.


As I pilot, I have used it to make pre-flight decisions about whether it is safe to take off. As a hiker in the Swiss alps I have used it to make decisions about whether to seek shelter, continue the picnic or attempt to descend the slopes. Living in a 120 year old building with leaky windows, I use it to decide whether to batton down the hatches when a storm is approaching.

Yes, the Fed…

Offshoring

Fredi Schmidli led an interesting discussion on the challenges of offshoring.

We covered a full range of topics from the opportunities to the different business models to cultural issues and how to do hiring.

Personally, the cultural aspect was one of the most interesting (non-)issue was the cultural aspects. A C++ programmer in Brazil probably has more in common with a C++ programmer in Switzerland than say a university professor with a construction worker in either country.

The hardest part about talking about your own company is not getting into "proud parent mode" and Fredi showed excellent restraint, by presenting the business, what works for them, and what doesn't work. With another player in the same market and project leader from a large insurance company in the room, it made for a rich exchange of information.

We talked about a few links today:
Fredi Schmidli's Presentation Jeff Sutherlands "Secret Sauce" for distributed scrum (paper & presentat…

Jugs: Intro to Agile and Scrum

This afternoon, I am pleased to give an introduction to Scrum to members of the Java User Group Switzerland.

What is Scrum? How do you carry out a project using Scrum? What are the instruments for planning and control. How do you get started?

The topics:
Sprint Planning & Demo, Daily Scrum, RetrospectiveThe Roles: Product Owner, Scrum Master und TeamOverall Planning and Reporting: Product and Sprint Backlog, Burn Down ChartsWhat is the difference between Scrum and other approaches (Lean, RUP, XP)?Patterns for getting started
I am told that Jugs is expecting a good turn out, so I am really excited!

The slides to my presentation are online: Introduction to Agile Project Management with Scrum

Reminder: Jugs and /ch/open members have special conditions for the next Scrum Training in Zürich. If you need Scrum training, this is your chance!

[Update: Based on the feedback from yesterdays event, I have revised the slides to provide more information about how to monitor progress and react t…

Big Scrum Projects: Allianz Project Light Beacons

Besides successful start-ups, at least three "name brand" European companies have committed to Scrum for their software development: Nokia (source of the Nokia test), SAP, and Allianz Deutschland (Germany).

At the most recent gathering of the German Scrum User Group, Simon Roberts presented how Allianz committed to and introduced Scrum. Simon described Project "Leuchtfeuer" - transitioning the Enterprise to Scrum via a series of lighting beacons.

His metaphor reminds me of the airway lighting beacons used in the 1920s and 30s. At night, pilots flew from light beacon to light beacon, enabling navigation over long distances for the first time. Even today, approach light beacons play a critical role in the precision approaches which allow aircraft to land in bad weather.

Simon's "airway" has nine waypoints:
Sponsor - don't leave home without one.
Initiate - get outside helpIgnite - light the first beacon with a pilot project
Diversify - light more beaco…

Stars out, dzone in

A few weeks ago, I turned on blogger.com's rating gadget. A nice toy, but really only that.

Since I started writing for agilesoftwaredevelopment.com, I have learned to appreciate the value of social networking sites in general, and dzone in particular.

DZone is a digg-like site, where you can submit and vote on the links relevant to developers. You can vote articles up and down (which I appreciate for the feedback) and the good articles are shared with other developers.

So when you read an article:
if you hate it give it a thumbs down (to keep people away and tell me never to write such trash again) or if like it, give it a thumbs up, and share it with the developer community!

Certified Scrum Practitioner

I received a nice email today from the the Scrum-Alliance, Subject: CSP Application Approved (and Next Steps). So what does it mean to be a Certified Scrum Practitioner? How do you become a CSP?

The process for applying is relatively simple. After you have been a CSM for a year, you download the form, answer the questions and send it in. They only ask for money when your application is approved. (+1 for customer friendliness -- that was the item "Next Step" in the E-Mail.).

The application "form" -- template would be a better word -- consists of 14 essay questions about a particular Scrum project, 5 questions about Scrum in general, and one question about your work with other Scrum Masters to promote Scrum and the Scrum Communitity.

So a CSP is expected to
Have actually worked with Scrum in a real projectReally understand Scrum ("get it")Promote ScrumBe able to write coherently about Scrum and his/her experience with Scrum.This last two criteria makes the CS…

Scrum Breakfast in Zürich, September, Offshoring

This month we look at pushing the envelope with Scrum.

Scrum emphasizes communication and collocation. Offshoring is by defnition not collocated and communication is limited by distance, language and cultural barriers. Some say Scrum and Offshoring don't mix. Others say Scrum is the best way to do offshoring.

Fredi Schmidli, Country Manager Switzerland of swiss IT bridge, the software development company with development resources mostly in Vietnam, will present how the business works, what has been successful, where there could be improvement. Then we will discuss as a group how Scrum can be applied to the problem.

Location: namics zürich, konradstrasse 12/14, 8005 Zürich
Date: September 3, 2008,
Time: Doors open at 8.00, Talk starts at 8.35, Finish by 10.00

As usual, namics will offer the coffee and croissants.

The talk and discussion afterwards are in German.

Registration through Xing the Contact Page.
Live Webinar Broadcast This event will be broadcast live as a webinar. …

Has Scrum Supplanted XP...?

... or are they together "just agile"?

Artem reported in his Notes after Agile 2008 that Scrum and XP are blurring to form a generic "just agile" process. Is this the case? Or is Scrum displacing XP? Are the two merging or converging?

Google Insights tells an interesting story. Google Insights is a nifty little tool which lets you enter search criteria and see how interest in those criteria has developed over time.


The graph above shows the development of the queries around Scrum (blue line) and XP (red line) and agile software development (yellow line). The interest in agile appears to have been fairly constant since 2004, with a relative interest of 9. (But wait, Computer and Technology's share of the Internet pie is declining, so interest must be rising among IT people. I think.).

In 2004, XP was the "name brand" agile framework, scoring 92 compared to 23 for Scrum. Today, the situation has reversed, Scrum scores 87, XP a mere 9.

Some of this is su…

Towards a better burn down chart

One of the most important advancements of Scrum and XP compared to other frameworks is the use of a burn down chart rather than milestones to measure progress. It is simple and clear, measures real progress, but has one problem, how do you show scope changes?

Jürgen at ASD recently summarized a couple of alternatives for maintaining the release burn down chart. I suppose every Scrum Master has their way of doing things, so here's mine...

What is a a burn down chart?As a pilot, I like to think of a burn down chart as being like the glide path of an airplane on final approach. An instrument in the cockpit tells you if are above or below the ideal glide path. If you are stabilized on the glide path (usually 3 degrees at a big airport) you will hit the runway at the designated touch down point. If you are too high, you will not make it to the runway unless you increase the rate of descent (which is not always easy to do). If you are too low, watch out for the trees!

A burn down chart tr…

Scrum Certification: What's it worth?

In response to my article, Scrum Alliance Quietly Changes Certified Scrum Trainer Requirements, an anonymous poster wrote:
Any self-respecting developer will laugh at this certification program and people sporting the title. You can't be serious thinking this will in any way help you in your career. Certification is a very controversial issue. But strictly speaking, Scrum certifications are not for developers, but for Scrum Masters, Product Owners and in particular, Trainers. Whether it helps the careers of CSM's is an interesting question, but it is certainly good for the careers of CSTs!

When we are honest about the certification program, it is about certifying the trainers, not the newly minted Scrum Masters. (See the interview with Mike Cohn).

It is also about branding, and has been quite successful. The acceptance of the CSM program is high (especially from corporate customers, and this is where the money is). I believe the CSM program is an important reason why Scrum is b…

Who Manages Risk in a Scrum Project?

I'm not sure if there is a simple answer to that question. There are lots of different kinds of risk, so who manages what may well change over time.

Even before the team is founded or designated to the project, there is the sponsor. S/he may be the person with the vision, the instigator of the project, or s/he may just be the person with for the money. In either case, s/he is or will eventually designate the product owner, whose primary responsibility is financial.

I think it is legitimate for the project owner to ask risk oriented questions right at the beginning: What are the big risks in the projects? What will cost us money if they happen or if we don't prepare for them properly? How do we mitigate those risks, keep our options open, and handle the issues gracefully when they happen? Once the team is consituted, these are questions for them to think about as well.

There are many risks, some more likely than others. Some "risks" are not risks at all, they are cert…

AgileSoftwareDevelopment.com

When I started blogging, my (personal) objective was to make it easy for people who might be interested in my services to find me -- I figured they can find me easier than I can find them.

As the Scrum Breakfast blog has developed, it has taken on a life of its own, leading to invitations to do interesting things with interesting people. One such invitation came from Artem Marchenko, publisher of AgileSoftwareDevelopment.com, the online journal of Scrum and XP software development.

Today I start as a regular contributor to ASD, focused on Scrum and Scrum coaching. My first article, Start with Trust, Start with a Retrospective is now online for your reading pleasure.

Thank you Artem for this opportunity, I'm really looking forward to interesting articles and interesting discussions! To your readers, I look forward to their comments and their suggestions for topics!

P.S. You can view my ASD blog online or subscribe to it.

Update

Archem informs me that there is a DZone widget on all t…

Thought for the day: Venture Capitalists Should Only Invest in Agile Companies

In a new talk, Scrum cofounder Jeff Sutherland makes a compelling argument for Scrum, XP and Lean as the basis for "hyper-productive" companies. The potential improvement is on the order of a factor of 10(!). But to get those gains, you have to adopt Scrum and adapt yourself to Scrum, not the other way around.

The actual competitive advantage which can be achieved by consequently deploying the principles and practices of Scrum, Lean and XP have coincided with substantial revenue gains for the companies concerned:
Excellent Scrum - annual revenue up 400% Good Scrum - revenue up 300% Pretty Good Scrum - revenue up 150% - 200% ScrumButt - revenue up 0-35% BTW - "ScrumButt" companies score 7 or less on the Nokia test.

His recommendations to investors:
Invest only in Agile projectsInvest only in market leading, industry standard processes – this means Scrum and XP Ensure teams implement basic Scrum practices
His recommendations to managers:
Get your teams to pass the Nokia …

Next Event/Cooperation with Jugs and /ch/open

Today the Swiss Open System User Group and Java User Group Switzerland announced a cooperative agreement for Scrum Breakfast Training Courses this September.

Members of either organization will receive a 20% discount on their registration fees if they register on the /ch/open registration page.

Furthermore, I will speak at an event hosted by jugs: Introduction to Agile Project Management with Scrum. Participation is free for Jugs and /ch/open members.

These should be good events and good courses. I am proud to work with both groups and look forward to see you at one of these events or courses!

Books for Getting Started With Scrum

A collegue of mine asked me yesterday, "As a CIO, what books should I read to get up to speed on Scrum?" Here are my recommendations:
Agile Project Management with Scrum by Ken Schwaber. The Basics, so start here.Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn  - How to plan the projectUser Stories Applied by Mike Cohn - how to gather requirements and size the projectImplementing Lean Software Development by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck -- 7 principles to guide you from Concept to CashLean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck -- 22 Tools from Seeing Waste to Contracting alternatives to get you from Concept to Cash. These books are focused on strategic and operational management.

What are your suggestions for engineering practice books?

Google'd ergo Sum

Traffic referred by Search Engines  scrum-breakfast.blogspot.com  June 16 to July 9, 2008
I can be google'd, therefore I exist.

12 days ago, google delisted my blog from their index. No warning, no comment, no explanation. But the effects were immediate and dramatic. And no suggestions on how to get back in their good graces.

I got some help on LinkedIn - the most important of which was a suggestion to submit a request for reconsideration through Google web tools. It worked; 4 days after submitting the request, my site is once again receiving search traffic.

Of the web sites to which I have access to statistics, about 95% of visits from search engines originate from Google. Scrum-breakfast.com was no exception. Just how important is Google to today's web site?

The questions for this week's poll (admitedly off-topic, but I can't resist):
How much of your traffic in last 30 days originated from search engines?How much of that search engine traffic originated from google? …

Next Scrum Breakfast in Zürich - September / October

The next two Scrum Breakfasts in Zürich will be dedicated to the theme, Scrum meets reality.
Case 1: Scrum and Offshoring: Scrum emphasizes communication and collocation. Offshoring is by defniition not collocated and communication is limited by distance, language and cultural barriers. Fredi Schmidli of SwissIT Bridge, a software development company with development resources mostly in Vietnam will present how the business works, what has been successful, where there could be improvement. Then we will discuss as a group how Scrum can be applied to the problem.
September 3, 2008,  8.00 to 10.00 at namics.
Case 2: Scrum meets RUP: One company, one established process, one up and coming newcomer. How do we deal with the problem? Daniel Tobler of Zühlke (a company with long RUP tradition) will discuss how they position the two frameworks and where Scrum is gaining adoption and where not at Zühlke.
October 1, 2008,  8.00 to 10.00 at namics.I will send out invitations as we get closer to the…

Managing Scrum: The Right Tool for the Job

So what is the best tool for managing Scrum? Well, it depends. It depends on you and your situation. Michael Dubakov recently asked When is a whiteboard a better choice? He proposes a decision matrix to evaluate the choices, based on a list of 9 criteria:
Planning process Plan visibilityPlan updateVelocity tracking, Time trackingBurn Down Update and other charts updateCommunicationReportingPeople involvement CostAgile Tools Decision Matrix
I've captured Michael's Agile Tools Decision Matrix in a spreadsheet which you can download and modify to suit your needs. Just as an aside, he also stumbled upon a great name for cards, post-its and manual burndown charts: tangible tools. Even though he didn't really use it, I love it! It's succinct and correct, and the inherent advantage of tangible tools just jumps off the page - I will use the term moving forward.

When to use tangible tools

Tangible tools are great for learning the processes and principles. Hung on the wall, th…

Managing Scrum: Traditional Project Management Software

From the moment I started working with Scrum until I wrote the quick poll on agile tool usage, it never even occurred to me to consider using classical project management tools like Microsoft Project. Why not?

Just as Neo knows that there is no spoon, and managers need to learn that there is no box, agile project managers know that there is no critical path. The world view, basic concepts and individual responsibilities in a Scrum environment are different and so the needs of the underlying software are different as well.

The Product Owner negotiates with the team on the basis of functionality to be realized, not in terms of tasks to be accomplished. The Scrum master eliminates impediments and helps assure that everyone is working on the highest priority stories in the current Sprint. The team members look to the task board to know what to do, to inform their colleagues of what they are doing, and to update their status and their estimates daily. The state of the project is visible f…

Directory of Scrum Management Tools

Where do you find Scrum Management tools? Here are links to the suppliers mentioned in the poll on Scrum PM Tools:
Tangible Tools (card, paper, wall)Excel or OpenOffice SpreadsheetGoogle Docs Spreadsheet

Jira (update: I would include mention GreenHopper explicitly)
Microsoft Project (or other "classical" PM software)MingleRally DevScrum for Team System v2.0ScrumWorksTargetProcessVersionOneXPlannerOther OpenSource Agile Tools Other tools (added thanks to comments or direct feedback):
Commerical:
Banana ScrumScrumDeskScrumytinyPM Open Source:
Agilo for Scrum
IceScrumScrumWikiTrac
If I've missed anything important, please add a comment, and I'll put it in the main article

Scrum Management Tool Poll Results: Moving Away From Cards?

The poll on Scrum / Agile tools usage was the most popular Scrum Breakfast poll to date — 100 responses, of which 63 were using a dedicated agile project management tool. A market leader seems to be emerging in the agile project management space. I've finally gotten a chance to compare the results of this Poll with those of the Scrumdevelopment poll on the same subject from December 2006. The results indicate significant changes in what tools agile teams are using to manage their work. I wanted the results to be comparable with the Scrumdevelopment poll, so respondants could only pick one tool. So even though they might use several tools, they had to choose which one was the most important.
The data indicates a significant shift towards dedicated agile project management software (from 7 to 63%), away from Spreadsheets ( down 38% to 9%) and Wiki &Other/Homegrown tools (together down from 33% to 6%), and to a lesser extent cards (down from 36 to 18%). Open Source solutions an…

Scrum: "That won't work here!"

This morning, François Bachmann gave us a preview of his talk for Agile 2008 in Toronto. He talked about the problems of Scrum adoption, showed us some ways how the adoption can fail ("Yes, we want to do Scrum, but the customer shouldn't notice any change") and also some approaches on how customers can adopt Scrum sucessfully.

Today, customers say what they want (good). Then engineering estimates it (OK), then that estimate because the basis for cost calculation and scheduling, usually bound into a contract (inflexible = bad). He argued for the customers communicated vision, permissible cost & time, then the deveopers should convert that vision into reality -- something which excite the users as much as possible -- given the budget constraints.

So, instead of estimate the project at a 6 months and 1 Million CHF, allocate 4 months and 500'000. Build what you can. Examine the results. If it's good, release it, if it needs work, do more until your happy. The cus…