Skip to main content

Retrospective: Scrum Training with TargetProcess

Last week, I gave my first public course on "Agile Project Management with Scrum and Target Process". Preparing a course is quite demanding, and I must admit, I underestimated the effort involved. But as any Scrum master knows, there is no problem that can't be solved with a good supply of Post-Its...

The participants were a very diverse group: 4 coming from Switzerland, 2 from the UK, one each from USA, Germany and Belarussia. Investment Banking, Media, Industrial Software, Internet Technology. Quite a diverse group. But they had more in common than you would expect. They wanted to improve thier ability to complete projects successfully. What did problems did they have or rather want to solve?
  • Win bids in the face of Price Pressure
  • Handle customers who want additional scope for no addtional money
  • Stop and correct a decline in Software Quality
  • Manage Developers who are "out of control"
  • Quote and deliver fix time/fix price/fix scope projects
  • Reconcile the many interests of the many people in the project
  • Smooth high developer peak workloads
  • Make Better Estimates
  • Improve Process Maturity
A tall order. And, as most of the users were already using TargetProcess, there was an implicit wish to know TP better to solve their problems.

I like doing Scrum courses and workshops, because of the information exchange which really flows in both directions.

Like every good teacher, I have a questionnaire for the participants at the end of the course. Mine is patterned on a Scrum retrospective: High Points, Low Points, What should be improved?

What came out was that the particpants were satisfied to very satisfied. It's important to find out at the beginning of the course what the participants expect, and make sure that those points are covered by the end of course. Beyond that, the wishes were quite diverse. Some wanted more concrete examples and more discussion. Others wanted to spend more time on the exercizes. Others would like the theoretical part to provide more background on Scrum, to compare and contrast it more with the established approches, or to show how to scale Scrum in a larger organization.

All in all, a lot of food for thought, and so, in the spirit of continuous improvement, I am looking forward to preparing the next course!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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).

How to compare these approaches? My starting point is Scrum in the team. Scrum has proven very effective at helping teams perform, even though it does not directly address the issues surrounding larger organizations and teams. An approach to scaling Scrum should not be inconsistent with Scrum itself.

Scrum implements a small number of principles and constraints: Inspect and Adapt. An interdisciplinary Team solves the problem. Deliver something of va…

Five Simple Questions To Determine If You Have the Agile Mindset

My company has started a top-down transition to Scrum and Kanban. Will that make us an Agile company? About 2 years ago, I attended a conference hosted by the Swiss Association for Quality on the topic of Agility. As a warm-up exercise, the participants were given the 4 values of the Agile Manifesto, then asked to arrange themselves in space. How Agile is your company? How Agile do you think it should be? Very Agile on left, very traditional on the right. There was a cluster of people standing well to the right of center. “Why are you standing on the right?” It turns out that they were all from the railway. “Our job is to run the trains on time.” They were uncertain whether this agility thing was really aligned with their purpose.
Is Agility limited to software? Steve Denning has collected the evidence and laid out the case that Agile is not limited to software, nor is it merely a process, nor is it something you can do with part of your time, nor is it something you can have your …