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Reminder: Scrum Breakfast in December: Sammichlaus

Soon it will be Christmas, and Santa Clause will be making a stop in Altstetten and wants to hear some good IT stories: What have you experienced in your projects this year? Share your Facts, True Facts, Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics about Lean, Scrum and your success or failure with either. 

The Scrum Breakfast im December, 2010 offers you a chance to report your experiences and share them with each other. St. Nick would like short, 5 minutes stories. He and the other participants will listen attentively and distribute nuts and mandarin oranges (or perhaps coal and onions, as appropriate ;-).

For the planning, please let samichlaus@swissict.ch know what you plan to talk about and bring your presentation on a USB Memory Stick. And of course, interested listeners without a talk are welcome too (and will even get some nuts and mandarins)!

When: December 1, 8.00 to 11.00 
Where: SwissICT, Vulkanstrasse 120, Zürich
Register: at SwissICT (and remember to email samichlaus@swissict.ch)

Switzerland Lean and Scrum Course Program 2011

At long last, I am pleased to announce our course plan for the first half of 2011 in Switzerland:

As in 2010, Peter Beck, Andreas Schliep and I will offer a regular program of practical Certified Scrum Trainings in Switzerland: CSM/Jumpstarts in Zürich and Bern, CSPO in Zürich and advanced courses for experienced ScrumMasters to sharpen their understanding of Scrum:
CSM/Advanced is now called CSM for Scrum Professionals and lasts three days instead of two. We found two days was not enough to review the basics and explore advanced topics. It also reflects the emerging guidelines for the new CSP1/CSP2 certifications. So there is a new description and of course a new price.
We are proud to announce a new course: Team Leadership Skills for Scrum Professionals  -- a course for left-brained professionals on using their right brain to lead their teams to success -- led by Peter Beck and Dr. Siegfried Kaltenecker. July 7 & 8.  …

Quick poll: How many stories in the sprint?

Recently I wrote that a good number of stories per sprint would be about 10 to 20 stories per sprint. A comment asked me the source, and I couldn't really say. Let's just say, it arose from conversations at various Agile conferences and/or email discussions.

On reading David Anderson's Kanban book, he quoted a private conversion (the inventor of the user story whose name I will insert later) claiming data suggesting that stories are typically completed within 0.6 and 4 days.

So my question: how many stories do you take on? How big is too big? How successful are your teams? Please answer the poll, publicize it, tweet and re-tweet and whatever, so we get a broad based response and maybe we can learn something about the size of the stories and the success of the teams.

Here is the poll, and here are the up to the minute results of the poll on Story Size.

<p><p><p&am…

CSM/Advanced - Reloaded

For the next CSM/Advanced course, Andreas Schliep & I have refocused this course, in particular clarifying -- or should I say "raising" -- the prerequisites and tuning the course content so that only experienced Scrum users come to the course.

The CSM/Advanced course is an opportunity for experienced ScrumMasters and Product Owners to solidify their understanding of Scrum, improve their skills and explore advanced topics. Unlike our CSM/Jumpstart, no time is spent "spoon feeding" the basics of Scrum.

Participants are expected to a have a good understanding of Scrum and practical experience applying Scrum. Unlike most CSM Courses, the CSM/Advanced focuses on the participants role as an agent of change in their organizations. CSM/Advanced is ideal for experienced Scrum professionals who want to improve their ability to apply Scrum to challenging real-life situations.

Next Steps:
CSM/Advanced Course Description (in English)CSM/Advanced Course Description (in Ge…

Tom & Mary Poppendieck return for a Lean Leadership Course May 25/26, 2011

If any one has made Agile understandable to top management, it has been Mary & Tom Poppendieck, whose Lean Software Development series has bridged the gap between understanding how business works and how software development works.


If you are a C-Level executive and your company develops software, this course is for you. (Even if you don't develop software, you will profit tremendously.) You learn how to focus your company on the right problems, so it can learn systematically to produce more value more quickly for your customers, with less waste.

You can now register online for Mary & Tom Poppendieck's Lean Leadership Course. May 25/26. There is special super-early bird pricing if you register before December 31. (You won't get an invoice until 2011, unless you specifically ask for it this year.)

DasScrumTeam is on the starting blocks!

One year ago, Peter Beck, Andreas Schliep and I decided to form a marketing partnership called DasScrumTeam (The Scrum Team).  Our goal was to leverage each others strengths, pool resources when appropriate and share information and experience to guarantee and continually improve the quality of our coaching and courses, and have a common platform for delivering international projects.

It quickly became apparent that DST was a good idea, but we needed to work even more closely together. So this summer, we formed our GmbH in Zurich, got a bank account and VAT number and we are slowly but surely getting ready to start operations. Starting January 1, 2011, we will be doing business as DasScrumTeam GmbH.

What does this mean for you, our customers and partners? On one level, not much. We will continue to offer top quality Training and Coaching in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Administratively, we have new accounts for payments and a new VAT number, and of course, new email addresses.

M…

Podium for November LAS in Switzerland Event

Earlier, I announced the LAS November Event on Lean & Scrum in Switzerland. (Just a reminder: Dagmar Gawenda will present the Pull Principle: Lean Production at Griesser. Mario Magnanelli and Kai Windhausen will present their experience migrating a large financial organization to Lean and Scrum).  Now we have the speakers lined up for the podium discussion.

Francois Bachmann will moderate a Podium Discussion on the realities of migrating to learning, self-improving organizations. Speakers Kai and Dagmar will be joined by
Patrick Scheuerer, Head of Services, Amt für Migration Kt. Bern, andMike Kästner, Chief Information Officer, COMIT AG  to discuss the highs and lows of their transformations: "Help, we're going Agile!"

Personally, I am looking to see if/how well Griesser's practical experience with the Pull Principle matches up with the theory. If you believe the simulations, applying the Pull Principle should increase production, decrease turn-around time and fre…

Scrum Breakfast/November (and December)

Life is what happens while you are planning to do something else. This is why we do Scrum.

Scrum Breakfast/November: Scrum Introduction: An example from medical IT.

The Scrum Breakfast in November will welcome Yves Aeschbacher, Product Owner and Consultant in the areas of Care and Para-medical Applications  for MCS Parametrix. He will share his experiences introducing Scrum into the development of medical applications. In particular, how the Agile approach required rethinking at all level of the organisation.


As usual, First Wednesday of the month: November 3, 8.00 to 11.00 at SwissICT, Vulkanstrasse 120, 8048 Zürich (map). And the Doctor is IN! Register online at SwissICT.


Scrum Breakfast/December: Stories for Samichlaus (St. Nick) 

Watch this space for the announcement of a special Christmas Scrum Breakfast!


BTW - Postponed does not mean cancelled. Deasun O'conchuir's talk 'People Challenges in Virtual Working' will be held early next year.

More Lean, Agile & Scrum in Switzerland

Any of these talks could have been included in the LAS Conference, but their just wasn't room. So we made space for them! This evening event is for Scrum-Masters and Scrum Product Owners who want to see how Scrum can be introduced into a large company and for entrepreneurs, C-level executives and top managers, who want to bring the companies into a state of flow. The talks are in German.
Das Ziehprinzip - Lean Production bei Griesser (The Pull Princple at Griesser)
Scrum im harten Projektalltag - Ein Einblick in die Einführung von Scrum in der SIX Card Solutions AG (Scrum in the trenches of everyday project management)Podiumsdiskussion (Podium discussion with various experts). See the annoucement on the SwissICT homepage more information.

Time, Location:
Date: Tuesday, 9 November 2010Time: 16.30 to 19.30 (followed by an Apéro)
Location: Conference Center Hallenstadion, Wallisellenstrasse 45, 8050 Zürich
Registration through the SwissICT

Lean Agile Scrum Conference High Points

Speaking as the organizer, the conference was one high point after another: The high caliber sessions from Switzerland and abroad, the keynote speakers, the interactions among the participants. Judging from the participants feedback, the workshop with Henrik Kniberg and Tom & Mary Poppendieck received the highest notes.

There was really only one low point: the long wait for food at lunch. As lean thinkers we should have thought more about the flow!

SwissIT Magazine published a short article online and more detailed article in their latest print edition. My favorite quote in the print edition came from Adrian Honegger, Co-CIO of Baloise Insurance (and speaker at the Conference):

"The organizers of the Lean Agile Scrum Conference 2010 succeeded in bringing together interested participants from Coders to the IT Executive, including people from numerous branches of industry and experienced speakers. Summary of the successful eve…

Getting to Good User Stories

User Stories have become so popular for identifying Product Backlog Items (PBIs) that the term 'Story' is often used as synonym for PBI — regardless of whether the item in question is formulated as a user story or not. Not all user stories are created equal - good user stories can be turned into functionality rapidly and predictably by a good Scrum team. Bad stories clog up the works and teams have troubles finishing them in the sprint. So what makes a good story and how do you get it small enough to implement in a sprint?

A user story answers three questions: Who? What? and Why? A user story leaves open the questions How? and When? Mike Cohn popularized the canonical form of a user story: As a <class of user> I want <some function> to achieve <some purpose>. For example:
As a Job Hunter, I want to find and apply for interesting jobs, so I can find a good job and earn a living.As an Internet shopper, I want to select books from a catalog and order them. (Tech…

Core Agile Values

I have always felt that agile is really about values: Openness, Honesty, Courage, and Trust. Personally Whenever I remained true to these values things went OK. In those (rare) cases when I have given into temptation, danger was lurking.

This cartoon illustrates a classic case. Three levels of management get three different answers about the state of the project. As the report moves up the management chain, its status changes from Red to Yellow to Green. Sound familiar?

Why does this happen? A project leader colleague of mine was literally afraid of losing his job if he told his managers the truth about his project. So he didn't. Until one day, the truth could not be hidden any longer. Unfortunately, this was three days before a release party (which had to be canceled). Bad thing.

Did the impact of the truth get smaller as time went on? No. Did it become easier to deal with the problem as time went on? No. So why do people hide the truth? I think lack of trust (and the fear it …

Scrum Breakfast/October: Enhancing agile development with software assessment

An agile process replaces upfront design with the focus on the ability to react and to decide based on the current situation. But, to take the right decision we need to be able to assess the situation accurately and fast. However, software systems are large and complex and they handle large amounts of data. Thus, they present many more details than we can reliably control. Approaching the problem in an ad-hoc manner does not benefit us.

Assessment is a critical activity to ensure proper decisions involving large amounts of details. And it is expensive, too, with various studies reporting assessment to account for as much as 50% of the total development effort. As such, it should be addressed explicitly in the development process.

In this talk, Tudor Girba will provide an overview on the problem of assessment and illustrate how the current popular approaches fail to solve it because they are either ad-hoc or too generic. He then describes agile assessment, a new approach t…

Responsibilities in Scrum, or Why Scrum Developers Should Get Paid More!

During last week's CSM/Jumpstart in Bern, Andreas Schliep and I were asked for a "RACI" -- a responsibility matrix for Scrum. We turned the question around and asked our participants to come up with one. Using dot-voting, they identified who is responsible for the following:
Selecting Team Members and ToolsPlanning Tasks; Ensuring good implementationsDefining and Imposing StandardsBudget, Scope, Priorities, Coordinating WorkCommit to Delivery Dates (release)Assign Tasks; Customer Communication Remove Impediments; Reporting Change Management; Risk Management; ComplianceReturn on Investment; Improving Performance  A couple of interesting things were visible from the poll (excel Scrum Responsibility Matrix). First, is a project manager still needed in a Scrum project? No! In a classical approach, the project manager is responsible for (almost) everything, but in Scrum, all of the responsibilities of a project leader are covered. The management facing roles are generally cov…

Scrum Breakfast/September Introduction to Lean and Agile

Usually I moderate the monthly Scrum Breakfast and leaving the speaking to rotating volunteers. As the Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zurich takes place next week, I thought an introduction to the basic topics and current trends in project (and company!) management would be an optimal warm-up to the conference. So I am going to take the floor with an

Introduction to Lean and Agile

As a Project Manager, Software Engineer, Line Manager, Business Analyst, Developer, Tester you have probably heard a lot about Lean and Agile. Perhaps you are using some of the major practices, like Scrum, Kanban or Extreme Programming (XP). Why all the hype? Is this just hype, or is a more profound change happening which is driving companies to a leaner, more agile approach to creating value and developing software?

This talk will give your an overview of the current trends in Management and Engineering Practices, in particular as they relate to software product developme…

Eight Strategies for Achieving the Scrum Sprint Commitment

I just finished leading an in-house Scrum Product Owner course with a group of 6 actual or future product owners. One of their most pressing issues was what to do when the team does not meet its commitment. "My Team regularly commits to 20 points, then only delivers 10. What can I do?"

We briefly discussed the alternatives of shooting, firing or otherwise punishing team members for not meeting their commitment, but quickly came to the realization that such measures are likely to be counterproductive. If the team fears the consequences of not meeting a commitment, it will be very cautious about making those commitments.

Here are eight strategies for achieving the sprint goal:

1. Yesterday's Weather

If the team finished three backlog items ("stories") for a total of 10 points in the last sprint, then that is a good place to start for the next sprint. As a product owner, only accept a commitment to 10 points. As a team, only offer to take on 10 points. If the team …

In Praise of the Waterfall

I have been following an interesting discussion on scrumdevelopment looking for case studies on Productivity improvements and ROI from Scrum. Roy Morien wrote:
"What I am always puzzled about is that in the history of software development, during which the Waterfall type approaches have been taken as THE way to develop systems, I have seen little, if any, real evidence of the effectiveness and efficiency of using them. I have also seen little demand for such evidence. The industry has adopted these approaches, and that's that! What I have seen is a vast amount of evidence that these approaches do NOT ensure successful outcomes." Why was the waterfall adopted without appropriate rigor? Very simple, you don't need a statistic or a study to understand something that you already know!

This may be a surprise to some people, but waterfall was a substantial improvement compared to its predecessor - which I'll call 'unstructured chaos' for lack of a better term. …

Scrum Breakfast/July: Virtual Cooperation with Social Media

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. This is one of the 12 Principles of the Agile M Agile Manifesto. A recurring theme in many Scrum discussion groups is that virtual meetings and web based tools are a poor substitute for a physical task boards.

Hans-Peter Korn was also convinced of this, until he took an the ScrumMaster role for the project "Basislehrgang Social Media," at the  social media akademie. Their mission was to produce the prerequisite materials for this program.

Although Hans-Peter lives in Switzerland, the Team was distributed throughout Germany. To minimize costs, it was necessary to hold all meetings virtually.

How well did these virtual encounters work? How did they maintain concentration? What tools did they use? Hans-Peter will give us an overview of his experiences and leave plenty of room for discussion on how a Scrum team can use social media to organize itself…

Registration for the Lean Agile Scrum Conference Now Open

I am pleased to announce that registration for the Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zurich is now open.

Readers of this blog know that this year's LAS Conference is focused on bridging the gap from that first Scrum/Agile project to becoming a Lean enterprise. To this end we have invited two thought leaders as our Keynote Speakers:
Henrik Kniberg, Swedish author of Scrum and XP from the Trenches, explores the core elements of both Agile and Lean, and how these toolboxes can be successfully combined: 'The Thinking Tool Called Agile.' Mary & Tom Poppendieck, co-authors of the Lean Software Development books, questions the biggest fallacy in organizing work -- the idea that schedules or “plans” lead to predictable performance. The Tyranny of “The Plan”Rounding out the event, we have received great tutorials and experience reports from Swiss, German, and International Speakers: Josef Scherer, Dr. Peter Kessel, Marcel Bauma, Ralf Wirdemann, Stefan Roock & Markus Andrezak,…

Tennis Tournament Theory of Management Salaries

I just stumbled upon the prize money table at Wimbledon. The winner gets one million pounds sterling. The runner up gets 1/2 million. The 64 first round losers get £11'250 each and the 32 second round losers get £18'750 each. In total, those 96 losers earn £1.32 million. So the two finalists earn more than the 96 losers competitors in the first rounds together. Furthermore, the increase over 2009 was 17.6% for the top 16 players, but only 4.7% to 6.8% for losers of the first three rounds.

Wow.

Are there any similarities to pay scales withing companies? Actually, I think I know the answer to this one. More interestingly, given that corporate pay scales do look like tennis tournament prize winnings, what effects does this have on cooperation and teamwork within the company, especially at the levels of top management or between the departments of the "Quarter-finalists"?

Lean, Scrum, XP, Agile: What's what and how does it fit together?

A member of the Agile-Swiss  Linked in Group recently asked, "I've read about Scrum, XP, and Lean. What are the current Agile frameworks available for software development? What are the advantages and drawbacks of each of them?" Since the discussion is not world readable, I decided to republish my answer here.

A quick overview of top agile processes

The Lean and Agile approaches are far more complementary than they might seem at first glance. All of these approaches are built on principles and values which emphasize people, communications, quality and continuous improvement.

If we think of Lean as first and foremost a set of principles for thinking about producing value for customers, then these principles can be applied to many (all?) situations and are very helpful for understanding why Scrum and XP work.

If we think of Lean as a set of 'best practices,' then Lean can be quite counterproductive. Why? Best practices are only 'best' in a particula…

Event: Offshoring (and Scrum)

Next week, Scrum Breakfast regular Franco dal Moulin is hosting an event dedicated to Best Practices in Near-shoring:
In the working models of software development near-shore is becoming increasingly important. Companies work with developers in nearby countries or entire teams are tied into their own organizations. The main reasons for this tendency are often the structural shortage in Switzerland, significant cost savings and greater flexibility, - among the few typically quoted ones. Did you know part of Ken Schwaber's vision for Scrum included enabling US (and by extension, European) companies to compete effectively with low cost labor abroad? It is my pleasure to join an experienced group speakers and to give you 'A practical introduction into working with distrubuted teams under Scrum.'

Location: Novotel Zürich City-West
Date: June, 23, 2010
Time: 14:00-19:00
Cost: Free (unless you register and don't show up)
Information: Cirquent Event-Page
Registration: Ple…

Lean/Agile Leadership Series

"People change what they do, not so much because we give them analysis that shifts their thinking, but because we show them a truth that influences their feelings."

John. P. Kotter, Heart of Change A classic failure scenario when implementing Scrum is lack of understanding and support from management. Why? Since they do not understand what the Agile/Scrum teams are trying to accomplish, the have not bought into it.

Mary & Tom Poppendieck closed the gap between management and Agile with their Lean Software Development books. Inspired by their work, I have created a series of workshops, the Lean/Agile Leadership Series to expose all levels of management to the basic truths behind Lean, Agile and Scrum.

The goal of these three Workshops is to create Awareness, Interest and Desire among all levels of Management and Thought Leaders for the Lean Principles and Agile Values.

Each on-site workshop consists of an introduction to the corresponding Lean and Agile principles and …

Speakers for the LAS Conference

The focus of this year's Lean Agile Conference is on bridging the gap from the first agile projects to achieving a truly 'Lean' Enterprise.

To that end, the LAS organizing committee selected a group of speakers from Switzerland and abroad who can illuminate this chanllenge from as many different perspectives as possible.

You can choose from experience reports from the management perspective from mobile.de, Baloise Insurance and Nokia Siemens Networks, and from the staff perspective at SIX Card Solutions.

Three tutorials guide you in Scrum, Scaling Scrum, and Agile Project Governance. A tutorial and a presentation address the technical challenges: Acceptance Test Driven Development (so the customer gets what he wants) and Architecture in an agile context.

An interactive workshop with the keynote speakers (space limited) and an expert to expert coaching sessions 'the doctor is IN' give you a chance to bring home the answers you need to the challenges you are facing!

Scrum Breakfast/June: Scrum and CMMI

We are once again privileged to welcome an international speaker to the Scrum Breakfast. I met Kent Johnson in Orlando where he shared the Keynote Address to the Scrum Gathering with Jeff Sutherland. Kent CTO of AgileDigm, Incorporated and has been looking at Scrum in very large organizations and the co-existance of Scrum and CMMI in particular.

Scrum and CMMI are often considered at odds with each other. What does each approach bring to the table? Scrum promotes the idea of focusing on the most important product issues first and supports frequent communication. CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) is a reference model that helps organizations to improve their performance. CMMI brings a structure that promotes consistency and discipline to avoid waste and rework. So, why should we try to combine both approaches? Is this combination a good idea?

In this talk Kent will describe work that he has done with organizations around the world and with Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of S…

Using affinity estimating to choose the Sessions for the Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zurich

The LAS Conference Organizing Committee met last night to select the sessions for the LAS Conference in September. We had some 26 proposals from 19 speakers from Europe, North America and Asia. Everyone is under time pressure. How do we get through the task of sifting through all the proposals and agreeing on a program quickly and effectively?

While co-teaching a CSM Course with Peter Hundermark, I saw a new estimating technique (well, new for me ;-) 'affinity estimating' as an alternative to planning poker. I thought this would be useful for selecting the talks and tutorials, so we decided to give it a try.

Preparation
Everybody read all the submissions (46 pages!)For each Submission, I created a card with the title of the submission. I used yellow cards for talks, blue cards for tutorials and green cards for submissions that could go either way. (Next time, I would also put on the page number of the submission in the printout)I created column headers (white) Great, Good, Maybe…

Lean Leadership with Tom & Mary Poppendieck

I am again pleased to sponsor the Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zurich and to enable a workshop led by important thought leaders in our domain.

Just after the conference, Keynote speakers Mary & Tom Poppendieck will offer their new course in Switzerland, Leading Lean Software Development. Lean Software Development combines two successful approaches to management: "Lean" -- well known for its impact in the manufacturing sector (and familiar to management through their business school training) -- and Agile -- which, especially in the form of Scrum and despite unfamiliar terminology and guiding principles, has become quite widespread in the software sector.

In this management retreat at the idyllic Seminar Hotel Unterhof on the Rhine, leaders will learn why "Results are not the point." Success comes from people, and creating a system so that your people can achieve successful results is the point.

Special Early Bird Pricing:

Conference participants will get a 1…

Scrum Breakfast/May Agile Methods in a Global, Regulated Environment

International, virtual teams are more the rule than the exception in Software Development Projects. Customers, Suppliers and Development Partners come together for a project, separate and regroup in a new form for the next project. Further, such projects are often confronted with strict regulatory requirements. These start with requirements for documentation and may include prescriptive definitions of how to develop the software and manage the application.

How can you optimally use an agile approach within this strict legislative context? What makes sense? What problems can you expect?

Ralph Dröge, Senior Consultant at Liance GmbH in Kaiseraugst, will examine these questions based on his project experience.

When: May 5, 2010,
Where: SwissICT, Vulkanstrasse 120, Zürich-Altstetten
Registration: SwissICT



The Zero WIP Moment: Achieving the Point of Maximum Agility?

Recently, I asked myself, "What does it mean for a company to be agile?" and came to the conclusion that "Agility is the ability to change your mind intelligently, based on new information."

Why is the Waterfall so cumbersome, so un-agile, and why are companies stuck in the waterfall? One reason is Work in Progress. Let's take the example of a large services company which provides its services to other large, institutional customers. A typical such organization might have:
Sales Department - they sell service contractsPre-Sales/Engineering Department - they determine the business requirements and write specifications for custom developmentSoftware Development Department - they write the softwareQuality Assurance Department - they protect the company from disasterOperations Department - they deploy, uh, working software (and Development babysits the system until it really works). Sales is selling services which the development team will work on, say, a year from …

Scrum at Six Card Solutions (or why I think managers are needed in Scrum)

Six Card Solutions belongs to the earlier adopters among Swiss Financial Institutions deploying Scrum. They started rolling out Scrum among their 80 developers in Zurich last Summer (2009). So, how did it go?

Christoph Loher (Product Owner) and Stefan Kinigadner (ScrumMaster) were the leaders of the first team to transition to Scrum at Six's Development Group Zurich. The organization presented to usual challenges one expects when trying to transition one team to a cross-functional Scrum in a company that is organized on function division. Despite this challenge, the team was able to achieve a pretty good Scrum (based on Henrik Kniberg's Scrum Checklist).

One problem in particular stood out: As the project unfolded, the team grew. This was a relic of the classical project planning. At some point, the team became unwieldy - 12 people or so - and performance stagnated. The P-O wanted to split the team in two. Although they talked about it in several retrospectives, the team was n…

LAS Conference CFP -Submission Deadline postponed until April 30

Due to the realities of Swiss school holidays (and their indirect impact on the organizers ), we have postponed the submission deadline for the Lean Agile Scrum Conference in Zurich to April 30.

We have already received several good proposals, but still need some more, particularly for the tutorials. In the name of the conference committee, I'd like to encourage to submit talks about your experiences connecting the agile team to create a lean enterprise!

To the CfP in English and German.

Last Minute Auction: On-Site Certified ScrumMaster Course on eBay

Necessity is the mother of invention. Peter Hundermark and I had planned an exchange of experiences. He and I would co-teach a pair of CSM courses, one in Geneva, Switzerland and one in Capetown, South Africa.

Well, the course in Geneva did not really sell, so what's the plan B? Usually customers want in-house training on very short notice, but most Scrum Trainers are booked two or three months in advance.

So we decided to cancel the public training and offer a company training on the same date via eBay. Result: we sold the course! An interesting experiment, which helped us out of a difficult situation. And I learned a lot in the process. Look for more auctions in the future...

If you would like Scrum Training in Switzerland, check out our course page. If you would like a in-house course, you can contact me on my contact page.

XP Day Suisse: 10 Agile Contracts for your next project

Today it was my privilege to participate as a speaker at the XP Day Switzerland in Geneva. The topic was contracts and agile projects. A very hot topic which provoked a lot of interesting questions and discussion.

My slides are available online as PowerPoint (7MB) or PDF (< 1MB).

The talk is based on an article I wrote for AgileSofwareDevelopment.com: 10 Contracts for you Next Agile Project. For those who prefer to read in French: Fabrice Aimetti provided a very nice translation in to French: 10 Contrats pour votre prochain Projet Logiciel Agile.


Call for Sessions: Lean Agile Scrum Conference 2010 in Zürich

The LAS Conference in Zürich is a forum for practitioners of Scrum, Lean, Agile and related disciplines to learn and share their experiences. As a low cost community event, it is open to a large spectrum of interested parties.

This year's motto is: "From Scrum Team to Lean Enterprise." The conference seeks to bridge the gap between managers, project leaders, business analysts, testers and connect the management perspective with the view from the trenches.

After a free event in the morning, the official conference starts at 10:00 with tutorials on Lean and Scrum. Afternoon another Keynote followed by 6 Sessions on interesting topics. The Keynote Speakers will lead a Workshop in parallel with the sessions for a limited number of participants. The conference will close with a World Cafe followed by an Apéro, to enable participants to share and summarize their experiences.

This year's keynote speakers will be Tom & Mary Poppendieck and Henrik Kniberg.

You…

On-Site Certified ScrumMaster Course on eBay

Necessity is the mother of invention. Peter Hundermark and I are planning an exchange of experiences. He and I will co-teach a pair of CSM courses, one in Geneva, Switzerland and one in Capetown, South Africa.

Well, the course in Geneva is not really selling, so what's the plan B? Usually customers want in-house training on very short notice, but most Scrum Trainers are booked two or three months in advance. And then there are the price discussions...

So we decided to cancel the public training and offer a company training on the same date via eBay:
Certified ScrumMaster Course in Europe 15/16 April 2010 The starting price is rather below market prices and the notice is rather short. We are really curious to see how this works. If you need a course soon, just go bid on it!

Scrum is Lean with a Turbo-Charger

A colleague and Lean-Master at a large financial institution gave me a copy of Lean Kaizen: A Simplified Approach to Process Improvements by George Alukai & Anthony Manos. More than anything else, this book drove home to me the similarities and differences between Scrum and Lean (at least Lean, outside of Software Development).

‘The heart of Lean is the Kaizen Process.’ Kaizen means ’change for the better’ and is loosely translated at Continuous Improvement. This is actually a misleading translation, because Kaizen does not imply an iterative repeated process.

The core Kaizen event is nothing else than a Scrum Retrospective. In fact, the descriptions of how to run the meetings are so similar, I suspect they have a common source.

Two differences become quickly apparent:
While Lean talks ‘bottom up’, it assumes top-down management. This book describes (sometimes in excruciating detail) how to organize a Kaizen event, including one month of preparation, a few days for the event itself…

The Scrum Value Simulation

But please don't call it a game. Call it An Interactive Simulation on Optimizing the Creation of Value.

At Jeff Sutherland's CSM Course in Zurich, I witnessed him lead the class through Joe Little's Scrum Penny Game. It teaches the importance of small batches and optimizing the whole. I was really intrigued by the game, and thought it had much more potential, so I revised it and tried out the first incarnation at the Open Space in the Scrum Gathering. I wanted to see a) if the game (and especially the revised game) had the same impact on the assembled experts as it did on me, and b) get feedback for improved or alternative versions.

I wanted to emphasize principles that management could implement to improve value creation:
Process Small Batches (unchanged from Joe)Remove ImpedimentsDo Less (but do the right thing!) So I set up the game as follows:
The Players:
Customer: sends the batch of coins to the workers, accepts (by touching) the received coins from the last worker.Cus…