Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zürich - June 4, 2009

After saying, 'mark you calendars, mark your calendars' for what seems like an eternity, we now have pleasure of announcing the first Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zürich.

Lean, Agile and Scrum: 3 words which have been the subject of much hype of late. As storm clouds gather on the horizon, companies look for strategies to meet the challenge. Lean, Agile and Scrum hold the promise of creating better products, lower costs, quicker reactions to customer needs, and better predictability in software development. Or are they just this years hype? And if these strategies do offer real value, how do you adopt them into your company? What are the risks and side effects? Who has gone down this path before and what were their experiences, positive and negative?

Under the motto of "Beyond Hype: Agile in der Praxis" Zürichs first Lean Agile Scrum conference seeks to answer these questions.

Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum will speak about the state of Scrum and lead an advanced workshop on getting the most out of Scrum.

3 tutorials and two advanced workshops for management and software engineers introduce you to and develop your understanding of the concepts and practices from all facets of the Lean/Agile approach to software development.

Experienced practitioners and experts from Switzerland and abroad will present their experience with Agile adoption in their companies and discuss the management challenges of adopting and achieving a Lean-Agile state within your company.

08.00 - 08.30 
Registration
08.30 - 10.00 Scrum Breakfast
(will be held exectionally at the ETH), free admission as always)
10.30 - 12.00 
12.00 - 13.00 
Lunch
13.00 - 14.00 
14.00 - 16.45 
Experience Reports, Talks and
Ken Schwaber's Scrum-But Workshop (limited places)
17.00 - 17.30 
Podiumsgespräch 

And at the end of the day, a podium of experts will answer your remaining questions. You will go home having gained an understanding of what Lean, Agile and Scrum can do for your and your company, shared experiences with peers and colleagues who have or are planning a similar strategy, and gained an appreciation challenges and obstacles you will face and how you can overcome those problems..

Date: June 4, 2009, 8.00 to 17.30
Location: ETH Zürich, Gloriastrasse 35, 8006 Zürich (Building ETZ)
Detailed Program: Online
Cost: 80 to 550 CHF, depending ...
Info and registration: SwissICT

BTW - Conference participants are entitled to a 10% discount to Ken Schwabers Certified Scrum Master Course on June 2 and 3. Register now! - places are limited.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What does it mean to be an agile company?

Agile: Having the faculty of quick motion in the limbs; apt or ready to move; nimble; active; as, an agile boy; an agile tongue

en.wiktionary.org
Agile has become fashionable. Everything from Scrum to Network Attached Storage is going to help your company become more agile. At least if you believe what the advertising hype tells you.  So agility has become something companies want. OK. But how many of them have thought through what that really means?

While discussing the product backlog with a student at my Scrum class (an employee of a well known national institution), we discovered an interesting confict:
  • Student: How do you know when a release will be ready?
  • Me: Take the product backlog, which is sorted by priority. Combine feature sizes with estimated velocity per sprint, to group features into sprints. That, the sprint length and a calendar give you the estimated completion date for each feature.
  • Student: But the Product Owner can change his mind? Those features are not committed.
  • Me: Right, only the Sprint Contract is a binding committment. Until the start of the sprint, the product owner can change the priorities of the product backlog. Only the sprint backlog is binding.
  • Student: But management expects schedules to be a commitment! Can we really deliver to a commitment?
  • Me: well, you could limit the product owner and say, you're not allowed to change anything...
  • Student: but that wouldn't be very agile.
  • Me: No, it wouldn't. Being agile is about being able to change your mind (and the discipline to do it sensibly). By committing in detail to your course of action for the next 6 months, you become languid, lethargic, ponderous, slow and unresponsive.
There you have it: a management who claims it wants to be agile, but deep down, it prefers to be a pondering elephant. You can lead a horse to water...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Want A Scrum Course Near You?


The wave of people coming from Bern for yesterday's Scrum Jumpstart course in Zürich, got me to thinking. Maybe there is a need for Scrum Training in other locations in Switzerland.

I have set up a doodle poll:  I would like a Scrum Course nearby in Switzerland. If you want a Scrum Course nearby, vote for the nearest city! If I get 6 votes for any city, I will plan a Scrum Jumpstart course there in the fall. The course will be held in German, French or Italian, according to the region. Date will set by doodle among the participants.

Important: Please use your Email-Address as your "name" so I can contact you to set up the course. Otherwise, your vote doesn't count. Your address is not visible to anyone else and will only be used for the intended purpose. You need to vote by May 1.


This is a bit of an experiment - if it works, it will be a way for to get a (probably small) Scrum course close by -- no travel expenses, etc -- and meet other people doing Scrum close to you. So cast you vote!




Monday, April 6, 2009

Certified Scrum Product Owner Training in Zürich

I am pleased to announce that Andreas Schliep and I are collaborating on a Certified Scrum Product Owner Training, which will be offered for the first time in June 25 & 26 in Zürich. This is the only CSPO Course presently scheduled in Switzerland. As always, the course will be held in German.

If you are a Product Owner, Scrum Master, Program Manager, Software Development Customer or Sales Consultant who needs to reliably estimate, schedule, price and manage a software development project using agile methods, this course is for you: A two day immersion into creating great products, agile planning and estimating, managing the agile team and leading the project to success.

BTW - If you don't need certification, the Pragmatic Product Owner (PPO) course is essentially the same, except I teach it alone and it costs less.

Follow the links for:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Methods and Tools: How to Write an Agile Request for Proposal

Customers of software development services who want to outsource a software development project face a problem: Traditional methods of selecting a software developer are expensive, time consuming and optimize the wrong criteria. They set the stage for delays, cost overruns, and building software with poor or no return on investment.

Agile methods, including Scrum and XP, have proven successful at creating great solutions that meet the expectations of their sponsors and users. Many organizations would like to apply agile approaches, but the traditional tools for selecting a vendor don’t mix well with agile development.

By conceiving the project from the beginning as an agile project, you can outsource projects effectively and agilely.

Last week, the Spring issue of Methods and Tools was published, including my paper: Finding a Partner to Trust: The Agile RFP. This paper:
  1. Describes how one team used Scrum to create an agile RFP
  2. Discusses what information should be present in an agile RFP
  3. Proposes how to find a partner to trust through a lean, Agile selection process
You can download the entire journal as a PDF or read the article online.

Scrum Jumpstart Course in Bern, May 7 & 8

Have you ever wished for a Scrum course closer to home? I realized that almost all of the participants in this week's Scrum Jumpstart course are from Bern. This got me thinking, "Gee, maybe Zürich is not the only place where people want a Scrum Course!"

Step 1: Let's hold a course in Bern. Step 2: Where else should I hold a course?

Scrum Jumpstart in Bern

Next month, I have scheduled the highly recommended Scrum Jumpstart Course in Bern. May 7 & 8 at Digicomp at the Bern Main Train Station. This replaces the CSM course which was planned in Zürich for May 3 & 4, but had which to be cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. If you want a Certified Scrum Master Course, Ken Schwaber's CSM course in June is a unique opportunity.

Follow the links for:
Tomorrow, I'll post a doodle poll about other course locations.


Friday, April 3, 2009

Scrum Breakfast in Geneva

I am proud to announce the birth of a cousin: the Scrum Breakfast Geneva, initiated by François Bachman. Like it's role model in Zürich, the Scrum Breakfast in Geneva is both an event and blog, focused on Scrum and the Scrum Community.

The next event in Geneva will be held April 9, where Julien Piaser of SkyGuide will present SCRINCH, an open source Scrum Project Management Tool. For infos and registration, please check out the Scrum Breakfast in Geneva at geneva.scrum-breakfast.com.

Good luck François, to you, and to the Scrum Community in Geneva.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Scrum Breakfast April / May (Scrum in Operations)

Today we once again had a full house and interesting discussion around Scrum, in the case about getting what you want: from the Mandate to the acceptence tests. Actually it was a well cameflaged introduction to test driven design. The presentation is now available online.

Next month, I have a very special pleasure to announce that Anton Schutschick will be coming to the Scrum Breakfast in Zürich. Anton is Manager of IT Support for the Department of Electrical Engineering at the ETH Zurich. Now IT support is not something you think about when you think about Scrum. You job is to the operation going. And oh yes, you are expected to make progress on medium term projects for your clientele.

Anton took a Jumpstart course last fall with that question in mind. The very next day, he started applying the principles and practices of Scrum right away. I visited his team room a few weeks later and found it covered with Taskboards!


In May, Anton will come to discuss his experiences and how his team uses Scrum (more or less) to meet the challenges of his organization.

You can register online for onsite or the webinar....



P.S. - there are a few places available in the next Jumpstart course