Friday, May 30, 2008

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!