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Showing posts from January, 2009

"Why Scrum?" event at the SAQ

Yesterday, Dani Tobler, Gregor Stöckli and I were invited to come to monthly meeting of the Swiss Association for Quality to talk about Scrum.

Usually in a situation like this, there would be one or two people would give a talk with more or less interesting Powerpoint slides. We tried something different. We treated the evening a Scrum Mini Project. We collected requriements (questions) from the audience. A Product Owner prioritized the questions. While the team thought about how to answer the questions, I gave a short talk about how Scrum works. Then the team answered the questions. Then a review of what we'd accomplished (and a retrospective as a feedback form). And finally a
traditional round of Q & A.

Especially considering it was the first time, it went very well. The presentation was only 15 minutes or so, everything else was interactive, which the participants really appreciated. The start was a little bumpy, with a brief dead zone as the team & P-O were discussing wha…

Scrum Breakfast in Zürich, 4. Feb 2009:
Team-Building without wanting to understand team-building theories

Our next Scrum Breakfast is focused on the softer skills of project management. Under the title
Team-Building without wanting to understand team-building theories Hans-Peter Korn, independent Coach & Trainer, CSM, and regular Scrum Breakfast participant will help us deal with the complexities of dealing with a team.
AbstractIn your role of a Scrum Master you want to sustain individuals to think and work as a team. Are models and theories describing how individuals and teams are "functioning" necessary to moderate the human interactions  within  the team?  No, you can moderate teams in a simpler way. By following models and theories you risk to observe and boost in first instance that, what should happen following the models and theories - and not the actual intentions of the individuals in the team.

Instead of theory driven interventions you can accept teams as complex social systems with an unpredictable behaviour.  And you can observe unprepossessed and curiously al…

The Product Owner is Part of the Team

The results are in: I asked whether product owner participates in the sprint retrospective. Despite the intensive debate on the scrum development list which led to the poll, the overwhelming majority of respondents - 72% - reported that the product owner participates in all retrospectives as a full participant. Only 13% said the the product owner never participated.

I am also pleased to report that no one invited the product owner but did not let him participate. I recently advised a team which did just that, with the justification he is not part of the team. While there might be some justification for this in the Daily Scrum, I believe getting good and timely responses from the product owner is one of the big challenges in the team. Not letting him talk smells of a power struggle and is not motivating fo rthe P-O in any case - why should he come if he has nothing to say?

The poll is still open and you can download the results directly from doodle. As I write this, there are 32 resp…

Mastering the Recession with Lean, Agile and Scrum

Around the world, companies are challenged by the financial crisis. Companies face declining revenue and fixed costs. Lean, Agile and Scrum help your company at all levels to focus on doing the right things, like creating value for your customer and eliminating wasted cost and effort, to get you company back to profitability. Lean, Agile and Scrum help you focus on getting the right Vision, Values and Execution to meet challenging times. Now is the time to start the discussion with your top management.

Your CEO wants your company to survive and even prosper during the recession (and we'd all be happier if there were no recession or if we could turn it around quickly). Together with Sales and Marketing, the CEO is trying to figure out whether and how much sales will dry up in 2009. He is under pressure to cut costs. If he does nothing, the company will be stuck with the fixed costs, but not have the revenue to pay for it.

Cut Wastes, not Costs Lean is an adaptation of the princip…

Scrum Course Review

Last year I had the privilege of training 91 people in Scrum and Agile Project Management. Two in-house courses and five public courses, including a Certified Scrum Master course together with Andreas Schliep.
After every course, I ask the participants for feedback. And I am happy to report that the overall impression is on the average between 4.2 and 4.7 on a 1-to-5 scale. (In fact, if someone gives me a 3, I try to find out why!). 

What do people like about my courses? Some high points from the CSM Course:
Gripping case studiesTennis ball games ('ball point game')Important questions got answeredBrowniesScrum as the organizing principle of the courseDialogue between Scrum Trainers Peter & Andreas And from the Scrum Jumpstart courses:
Sprint Zero & OneBall point gameRetrospective as introduction to the ScrumOpen discussion about real casesPractical exercises But the most important part are the suggestions for improvement. And after every course, I try to address as many…