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Showing posts from March, 2010

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…

#SGUS: Jeff Sutherland: What does Management Do Under Scrum

Jeff Sutherland at the Scrum Gathering in Orlando. What is the role of management in a Scrum environment:
Have a business model that works Ensure that the resources are present to achieve the business model Eliminate impediments - this should get board level attention Challenge the teams   The role of "management" changes: it should become leadership.

My Philosophy, Sharpened at the Scrum Gathering

The day before the Scrum Gathering officially starts: I had a great talk with CSC Bob Hartman about Books, training techniques and the importance of values to a person or organization.
Quoting from 'the Last Lecture': Tell the Truth. To which Bob would add: All the Time. And I would prepend: Live your values! Tell the Truth is about Honesty and Openness and is the basis for effective communication. All the time demands an atmosphere of Trust and Courage.

This for me is what Scrum is about. In my life, I have never gotten into trouble as long as I was staying close to my values. Lose sight of them, and bad news! IMHO, these are the problems that led to the fissure in the Scrum Alliance last fall, and also caused Toyota the problems that they are having now.

When I ask myself, what do I do as a coach? I teach people to apply these three principles:
Live your values. Tell the truth. All the time.And that they don't need to be afraid of doing so.

Retrospectives as Perspectives

(although the visual pun works better in German).

At last Wednesday's Scrum Breakfast in Zürich, Hans-Peter Korn presented an approach to conducting Retrospectives based on the Solutions Focus Method (which Adrian Cockburn translated in to the Delta Method). The idea is that a retrospective is like prospecting for gold: Building on your strengths and looking for improvements to make your life and work better.


Once I understood the Delta Method (which I didn't until I read Alistair's article), I had a real 'Eureka!'-Moment. The idea is simple: Don't than focus on a) what you are doing wrong or b) the unreachable goal on the horizon. This doesn't help. Reflect on where you have come from (things are better now than they used to be) and what is the next step in your to making things  (even just a little bit) better?

Alistair visualized this with a picture:

I have found this approach to be enormously helpful in implementing change processes. It gives people en…

Lean Agile Scrum Library

At the Scrum Breakfast in February, regular visitor Arnaud L'Hote proposed: "It would be really nice if we had a book-swapping library of relevant literature. You bring a book that you've read and can borrow a book that you haven't. Just one question to be answered: Where do the initial books come from?

I discussed the idea with Daniela Grecuccio, Manager of the SwissICT office, and she also thought it was a great idea. She immediately offered to order a suitable bookshelf and agreed to match any cash contributions one to one, up to a maximum of CHF 1'000. So if we raise 1'000, we have 2'000 to spend on books.

Today at the Scrum breakfast, we raised 1 book and CHF 290, so we have 580 Francs at our disposal. The bookshelf is on order, so hopefully next time, the library will be available!

Thanks to everyone who contributed!

Domain Sierra Charlie Back Up

Update: The Domain is Working Again! Hallelujah! The only think worse that having Google erase you is having your registrar erase you. I have kindly asked my google calendar to send me an email and SMS 30 days before expiration. Hopefully one of them will work!


I love E-Mail, really. Not one single reminder from my Domain Registrar arrived in my email account in the last 3 months. And so it expired. Fortunately, I have not lost it (the domain stalkers apparently have to wait 3 months now), but it will take a day or two, before it is back online.

If you wish to contact me or register for a course, please go to the registration page.

I hope the domain and email will be working again tomorrow!