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Getting Started

This is a new blog about Scrum.

Scrum is a Project Management Framework, right? Well yes and no. Scrum is both a tool for managing projects, but is also a way of life. The heart of Scrum is a simple cycle: Plan, Do, Evaluate, Improve. On the one hand, Scrum empowers the team to get things done. On the other, it empowers the Scrum Master to recognize and remove impediments. This makes Scrum the tip of much larger icebergs, Lean Software Development and Lean Product Development.

The core idea of Lean is eliminating waste. This idea has already transformed manufacturing and has tremendous potential to transform service oriented businesses. A team that implements Scrum will quickly become more efficient, but also start to discover the waste, delays and inefficiencies elsewhere in the organization. Converting the first team to Scrum is potentially the first step in transforming the organization to a higher, more efficient level.

This blog will address the topics that I address professionally:
  1. Getting started with Scrum. Getting the first team working with Scrum.
  2. Crisis Project Management. The project is behind and over budget. Everyone is unhappy and no one sees the way forward. What now?
  3. Transforming IT into a Lean Organization - what would it mean to reduce the concept-to-release-time of major projects from 3 years down to 1 year, or even less? How do we do that?

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Sample Definition of Done

Why does Scrum have a Definition of Done? Simple, everyone involved in the project needs to know and understand what Done means. Furthermore, Done should be really done, as in, 'there is nothing stopping us from earning value with this function, except maybe the go-ahead from the Product Owner. Consider the alternative:
Project Manager: Is this function done?
Developer: Yes
Project Manager: So we can ship it?
Developer: Well, No. It needs to be tested, and I need to write some documentation, but the code works, really. I tested it... (pause) ...on my machine. What's wrong with this exchange? To the developer and to the project manager, "done" means something rather different. To the developer in this case, done means: "I don't have to work on this piece of code any more (unless the tester tells me something is wrong)." The project leader is looking for a statement that the code is ready to ship.

At its most basic level, a definition of Done creates a sh…

Scaling Scrum: SAFe, DAD, or LeSS?

Participants in last week's Scrum MasterClass wanted to evaluate approaches to scaling Scrum and Agile for their large enterprise. So I set out to review the available frameworks. Which one is best for your situation?

Recently a number of approaches have started gaining attention, including the Scaled Agile Framework ("SAFe") by Dean Leffingwell, Disciplined Agile Development (DAD), by Scott Ambler, and Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde. (Follow the links for white papers or overviews of each approach).

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Traditional estimates attempt to answer the question, "how long will it take to develop X?" I could ask you a similar question, "How long does it take to get the nearest train station?

The answer, measured in time, depends on two things, the distance and the speed. Depending on whether I plan to go by car, by foot, by bicycle or (my personal favorite for short distances) trottinette, the answer can vary dramatically. So it is with software development. The productivity of a developer can vary dramatically, both as a function of innate ability and whether the task at hand plays to his strong points, so the time to produce a piece of software can vary dramatically. But the complexity of the problem doesn't depend on the person solving it, just …