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Showing posts from August, 2008

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…