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Showing posts from February, 2011

Radical Management Gathering

When I talk to large organizations about Scrum, I frequently hear "this is great, but what do we do in fields like hardware development or pharmaceuticals, where we can't produce potentially shippable product every thirty days?" Radical Management provides an interesting answer while building on the strengths of Scrum, Agile and Lean:
The purpose of work is to delight your customers.  So "delivering" every Sprint means something other than delivering a good or service in a finished state. It means delivering an increment of Delight to your customers.

This May, Steve Denning (The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management) and Seth Kahan (Getting Change Right) will be hosting a two day gathering where "coolness, innovation and serious fun intersect." And I am proud to be a Practice Partner!

We want people who are tired of a world in which people are being treated as things, where employees are seen as “human resources” and customers are seen as “demand” t…

Scrum in a Management Consulting Context

When the topics is hot, people will come. And so it was for the first Scrum Breakfast in Zurich this year. 38 people came to learn and discuss the case of an early adopter of Scrum outside the Software context.

Michael Stump spent three months working with a consulting company -- that had nothing to do with software -- coaching them through a pilot project. On the face of it, consulting seems like a logical application for Scrum. By definition, consultants solve complex problems. Quality is important. And the problems are big enough that they can't be solved by one person alone.

On the other hand, internal competition is intense ("up or out"). Many practices around Scrum were established in a software context (user stories, potentially shippable product). So what does a backlog entry look like? What is the definition of done? How was the customer involved in the project. Many questions!

Michael presented his experiences introducing Scrum into this organization. Really …

Moving forwards with V-Model

I recently worked with a VP of Quality Assurance.  His system needed high quality: it transported 10s if not 100s of Millions of CHF every day. It had to work and the consequences of it not working were horrendously expensive! He genuinely believed in the V-Model. Introducing the V-Model had substantially improved the quality of the system. His QA department was the last guardrail before the cliff.

In retrospect, I am not sure if his inspiration was the German government V-Modell, or the more general V Model.  In any case, the developers wanted to do Scrum and he wanted to preserve the essential aspects of the V Model which had enabled the level of quality they had achieved. How can he do that while moving forward in a Scrum context?

For him, three facets of the V Model were essential:
Tester and developer roles should be separated ("4 eyes principle")Requirements should be matched with Acceptance testsA quality gate between QA and Production is essential to prevent poo…

Scrum and V-Modell

One the participants from my last in-house course (at a bank) found that I was unfairly grouping the V-Model with "waterfall." So let's look at what is the difference between Scrum and the V-Model, see where the two come into conflict, and see where they can complement each other.
Update: It turns out this comparison is not as simple as I thought - there are actually two V-Models: a German government project management methodology, das V-Modell and much vaguer V Model that testers are familiar with. In researching this, I landed on the German government version, not realizing that there are really two versions of it. The following discussion is related to the German government model. Thanks to James Christie for pointing this out!
Scrum is a simple, team-based framework for solving complex problems. Its roots are in product development. It assumes that solving complex problems (like creating a software product or system) is a creative process, which by definition, canno…

How we do Sprint Planning 2

Many people think Sprint Planning 2 (the second half of the Sprint Planning meeting) is just about creating and estimating the list of tasks for the selected product backlog. This cannot be a bigger over-simplification! Here is simple approach to conducting an effective Sprint Planning 2 Meeting.

In Sprint Planning 1, the Implementation Team and the Product Owner negotiated which "stories" would be implemented in the coming sprint. The team made sure it understood the stories, in particular the acceptance criteria (I recommend agreeing on 'How to Demo').

During Sprint Planning 2, the Implementation Team must figure out how to solve the problem it took on in Sprint Planning 1. This consists of two parts:
A solution concept - a design, architecture or whatever, which explains how the problem is to be solved/feature is to be realized.A list of tasks - what steps must the team do to get each selected backlog item to the state 'done'. The goal is not an absolutely …

Scrum Breakfast March: Tips for Working Virtually

Virtual, distributed teams are becoming more and more commonplace, especially in the IT sector, where the necessary communications infrastructure is generally available. Wireless LANs are available nearly everywhere and the capabilities of Notebooks, Cellphones and PDAs are increasing daily. These developments enable virtual teams, not just for agile projects but in just about any field. Although the technology is a prerequisite, the interpersonal cooperation is of primary importance and that is the subject of this talk.


Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir is an experienced project leader, consultant, trainer and author. Currently Deasun is focused on Collaboration and Virtual Working for Scatterwork GmbH. His book "Overview of the PMBOK® Guide" is has been published by Springer-Verlag.

He will discuss the principles of effective virtual collaboration and provide tips and tricks, that you can put to use right away.

When: Wednesday March 2, 2011, 8.00 to 11.00
Where: SwissICT, Vu…

Venue for Lean Leadership Course with Mary & Tom Poppendieck

Readers of this column know that Tom & Mary Poppendieck will return to Switzerland for a reprise of their successful Lean Leadership Course. Last year we had a mix C-level executives from medium to large companies and operational ScrumMasters, Project Leaders and Product Owners. A high point was the idyllic location and the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences at dinner (and afterwards)!

This year, I am pleased to announce the course will be held at the historic Karthause Ittingen. For participants who wish to spend the night, we have reserved a block of rooms at the Hotel Domicil. And we plan to invite everyone for dinner after the first night...

Check out the details for more information on Tom & Mary Poppendieck's Lean Leadership Course... May 26 & 27 at the Karthause Ittingen.

Beyond Scrum? Radical Management

Six years ago (wow!) while browsing a bookstore in Seattle, I picked up a book called 'Agile Project Management with Scrum' by Ken Schwaber. For me, this book was a revelation! Finally an approach to project management which made sense! It focused on people, communication, and producing (quality) results. I was immediately convinced by the approach and, well the rest is history. Today, Scrum is the center of my professional life.

I frequently teach my Scrum Team Jumpstart to companies wanting to free themselves from the chains of their own organization. What feedback do I get after such courses? Here are the top three comments:
Our management should take this course!Don't just talk about software development.What comes after Scrum? Last spring, I had the privilege of reviewing a draft of The Leader's Guide to Radical Management, by Stephen Denning. My reaction was the same as the to Ken Schwaber's book: Wow! Simple principles and practices for leading modern compani…