Friday, January 22, 2010

Cancel all your room reservations!

If there is one thing common to every big company I have ever coached, it is the lack of available meeting rooms. Getting people together is hard enough. Getting a meeting room is impossible!

This does not mean there aren't meeting rooms in the company. Just that most have them have been booked in repeating weekly, bi-weekly or monthly events.

So just setting up a retrospective or other similar event can be a major challenge. Last time I did it, the group assistant spent a few hours finding me a room.

I have a modest proposal: Let's make February 1st, 'Cancel all your room reservations' day! Cancel all your recurring meetings, free the rooms (and your calendar). Then on Tuesday, schedule only those meetings that you really need (who really needs these meetings in the first place?) and no more than 3 recurring events on a single appointment.

Is this a realistic suggestion? Of course not! Is the scarcity of meeting rooms trying to tell you something? Absolutely! You are wasting too much time in meetings!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Scrum Breakfast im February: Agile Governance


Once again, we are fortunate to welcome an international speaker to Zurich for the Scrum Breakfast. Pierre NEIS is a Sr. Management Consultant who is active in the Finance industry in and around Luxembourg. His topic:

Adoption of an Agile Governance Model

As a corporate leader, program or business manager, or line manager, you want your IT and Development activities to be aligned with your business. As more and more companies are doing Scrum, you are thinking about the implications of Scrum on your organization. Scrum promises better business alignment, higher employee productivity and satisfaction, and ultimately better profitability, but seems chaotic and uncontrolled. How do you implement Scrum in your company? How do you keep things under control?

This talk is for corporate leaders contemplating Scrum and anyone who wants to talk to them about the how and why of Scrum in medium and large companies. Pierre E. Neis will discuss the challenges facing companies adopting Scrum and discuss solutions for ensuring business alignment, minimizing overhead of project organization, reducing the risks and costs of IT, and optimizing portfolio management.

Pierre is Director of Consulting at AgilePartner LLC, President of the Agile Interest Group, Member of the PMI as well as co-founder of the Agile User Group in Saar, Germany. The talk will be held in English.

Program


08:00
-
08:35
Registration, Coffee & Gipfeli
08:35
-
09:50
Presentation and Discussion
09:50
-
10:50
Networking, Coffee & informal Discussion
New: Free Coaching! Bring a problem or help with the solution! 3x 20 Minute Sessions in the coaching room.


Time, Location
  • Date: Wednesday, 3 February 2009, 8.00 to 11.00
  • Location: SwissICT, Vulkanstrasse 120, 8048 Zürich (in the same building as the Jeep Dealer. Entry on the left, 2nd floor)
  • Registration should be active in a day or two on the SwissICT Events page
  • Afterward the LAS Core Team will hold its regular meeting - Interested people are invited to attend
P.S. If you attend the Scrum Breakfasts, but are not yet a member, please join the SwissICT. The SwissICT makes the events possible with their support for the room, coffee, gipfeli and organization.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Scrum Course Program for 2010 in Switzerland

Together with my partners in DasScrumTeam, I have put together my public training program for 2010 in Switzerland.

The biggest difference you will note are:
  • All Jumpstarts are now Certified Scrum Master Trainings.  The focus remains on getting started with Scrum but we meet the CSM requirements, so why not?
  • The Product Owner Course is now always a certified course, and lasts 3 days instead of 2. There is too much information to do it justice in 2 days
  • I am now offering CSM Jumpstarts in Bern and Geneva
  • Next to Andreas Schliep, I am also co-training with Peter Beck. 
  • All courses start at 9.00am, so that it is easier to come in the morning from remote parts of Switzerland or abroad.
All courses are in German, except as noted. Here are the course dates:

Certified ScrumMaster/Jumpstart (description in English - Deutsch )
For Developers, Testers, ScrumMasters, Business Analysts, Managers and Teams who want a first taste of Scrum.
  • 28/29-Jan-10 – Bern (3 Spaces Left, earlybird pricing ends today)
  • 15/16-Mar-10 – Zurich
  • 15/16-Apr-10 – Geneva (in English, with South African Trainer Peter Hundermark)
  • 17/18-Jun-10 – Bern
  • 26/27-Aug-10 – Bern
  • 07/08-Oct-10 – Zurich
  • 11/12-Nov-10 – Bern
Earlybird (1 Month in Advance) Price CHF 1'800, Regular Price CHF 1'900.--

Certified ScrumMaster/Advanced (description in English - Deutsch )
For users who have worked with Scrum and want to deepen their understanding
  • 08/09-Apr-10 – Zurich
  • 15/16-Jul-10 – Zurich
  • 02/03-Dez-10 – Zurich
Earlybird (1 Month in Advance) Price CHF 2'000, Regular Price CHF 2'100.--

Certified Scrum Product Owner (description in English - Deutsch )
For Program Managers, Project Leaders, Business Analysts and others who want to know how to guide a Scrum Team to Sucess
  • 17..19-Mar-10 – Zurich
  • 30-Jun..2-Jul-10 – Zurich
  • 15..17-Sep-10 – Zurich
  • 27..29-Okt-10 – Zurich
  • 15..17-Dez-10 – Zurich
Earlybird (1 Month in Advance) Price CHF 2'800, Regular Price CHF 2'900.--

You can download the Overview or Register online.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Scrum in 100 Words or Less

[Update 9-Jan-10: See Comment 3 for a revised formulation of Scrum in 100 Words.]

If Scrum is so simple, why is it so hard to describe? Tobias Mayer recently launched the idea of Simple Scrum - Scrum reduced to its essence. I think the essence Scrum can be defined even more concisely - in 100 words or less. 100 words, which will be understood by the novice, without using the Scrum lingo -- Product Owner, ScrumMaster and other such words are not allowed.

The Essence of Scrum in 100 Words:

Scrum is an empirical management process for addressing complex problems that ensures effective communication between a Requester and an implementation Squad. The Requester represents the interests of all stakeholders. The self-organizing, interdisciplinary Squad produces finished outcomes at regular intervals in response to prioritized requests. They measure their progress in terms of finished outcomes.

The maximum interval is 30 days. After each interval, the Squad has produced an improved product or service and made themselves more productive and happier. A Court Jester helps Requester and Squad improve their performance, and encourages positive change in the rest of the organization.
(actually 98 Words)

The Court Jester?

Why did I call the ScrumMaster a Court Jester? Court Jesters were the original change agents. They were trained and expected to criticize their kings and queens. How would you like to be a Certified CourtJester? Could be fun, could be dangerous...

The Essence of Scrum defines the 'What'. I think you can derive all of the 'How' from this definition. Have I missed anything? How would you describe Scrum in 100 Words or less?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Why are Scrum Teams better motivated?

At first blush, it seems that Scrum is based on radical concepts: Self-organization, incremental delivery, and a clear distinction between what and how and equally clear definitions of who is responsible for what.

Why is this a better approach for developing software? It turns out, there are three key success factors to solving complex problems: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Too much focus on success can be counter-productive. This video from Dan Pink explains why (BTW - you can turn on German subtitles - well translated!):



I think this video also hints at one role of management in Scrum culture: creating an environment where people can be creative, problems can be solved and new ideas can bear fruit. Google's 20% or Atlassian's 'Fedex Days' don't arise out of a Sprint Contract, they arise out a management with a vision of a company becoming more competitive through the creativity of their staff. How motivated and creative are your staff?